Understanding Georgia’s Exemption Guidelines
The state of Georgia has opted for its own list of exemptions for bankruptcy. Filers in our state cannot claim the more generous federal exemptions.
- In a Chapter 7 you essentially surrender your assets to a bankruptcy trustee and buy them back through exemptions. Georgia exemptions include:
- $10,000 in home equity per spouse
- $3,500 equity in a vehicle
- $5,000 in furniture, clothing, possessions
Note: If a homeowner couple has considerably more equity than the $20,000 combined homestead exemption, Chapter 7 does not make sense. In such cases, the trustee will sell the house and keep the difference if it means coming out ahead after (realtor commission and other expenses).
Points to Consider
- If you are only slightly over the maximum exemption, you can pay the difference to the trustee to keep the asset. For example, if a couple has $23,000 in equity in their house and after their exemptions they are $3,000 over, we negotiate to pay the trustee $3,000 over a period of time.
- In a Chapter 13, all property is exempt from forfeiture – you lose no assets unless you voluntarily surrender a house or car.
- We have never had a client lose furniture in a bankruptcy. Because there is no money in used furniture, it's a waste of the trustee's time.
- You don’t have to make decisions alone. At the firm of George R. Belche, Attorney at Law, we will advise on which assets you will keep and which you should forfeit. We want there to be no surprises after you file for bankruptcy.
Listing Assets Accurately
You should never try to hide assets or transfer assets to avoid the exemption limits (for example: re-titling a car with too much equity under another family member's name). Hiding assets could result in your bankruptcy petition being rejected. It is always best to be above board with your lawyer and to work to save your assets through ethical channels.
Get out from under the weight of financial pressure and protect your assets. At the firm of George R. Belche, Attorney at Law, we have been helping clients file for bankruptcy for over 15 years. We look forward to helping you through the bankruptcy process from beginning to end. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
"We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code."