Your ability to keep your vehicle while filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia depends on whether you are covered under the state’s motor vehicle exemption. If the equity in your vehicle falls under the car exemption amount, then the bankruptcy trustee cannot sell it to help pay off your debts. However, if the equity in your vehicle is significantly more than the exemption amount, it is likely that the trustee selling your vehicle will settle your debts. Georgia law allows you to exempt up to $5,000 in vehicle equity in your bankruptcy filing.
It’s important to understand that if your vehicle is safe from the trustee, the lender of your car loan could still repossess it during or after the bankruptcy proceedings if the loan payments aren’t current.
If your vehicle equity amount is more than $5,000, there is still a chance you may cover the remaining equity by using Georgia’s wildcard exemption. This may be used for any property you own. The wildcard exemption is $1200, plus any unused portion of your homestead exemption up to $10,000. In other words, if you did not use your homestead exemption, you have an extra $11,200 you may add to your existing $5,000 vehicle exemption.
The State of Georgia allows married couples to double their exemption amounts for vehicles that are jointly owned, which may help you to keep possession of your car. Therefore, the motor vehicle exemption in the state for married couples is $10,000 rather than $5,000, and the wildcard exemption — with unused money from a homestead exemption — could be as much as $$22,400.
If you owe money on multiple vehicles, you may apply these exemptions to all vehicle debts, as long as the total amount allowed under the exemptions is not exceeded. The make and model of vehicle is not relevant under state law.
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