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What Property Is Exempt from Liquidation in a Georgia Bankruptcy?

House auctionWhen someone files for a bankruptcy in Georgia, the court will appoint a trustee who has the power to gather up the debtor’s assets, liquidate them and use the proceeds to partially pay off creditors. However, under state and federal laws, certain property is exempt from the bankruptcy process up to a certain dollar amount and cannot be sold by the trustee.

In other words, even after filing for bankruptcy, typically a debtor can keep all of their assets. Common bankruptcy exemptions are the homestead exemption, the personal property exemption and the wildcard exemption, the last of which applies to any property of the debtor’s choosing. Maximizing these exemptions is crucial because they determine the assets that the debtor will retain free and clear after the bankruptcy is complete.

While some states allow debtors to opt for the federal exemptions, Georgia law requires use of the exemptions provided by state law. Among them are:

  • a homestead exemption of $21,500 ($43,000 if married filing jointly)
  • an automobile exemption of $5,000
  • 75 percent of weekly disposable earnings or 40 times the state or federal hourly minimum wage, whichever is higher
  • IRAs, pensions and alimony and child support payments, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to support the debtor and his or her dependents
  • personal injury recoveries of up to $10,000
  • wrongful death recoveries to the extent needed for support
  • a total of $5,000 for personal property such as clothing, appliances, books, furnishings, household goods and musical instruments, but limited to $300 per item
  • a general wildcard exemption of $1,200. In addition, up $10,000 of the homestead exemption may be used as a wildcard exemption

Notably, Georgia’s exemption scheme applies only to bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, so you can’t take advantage of them when fighting collection efforts out of court.

At Jeff Field & Associates, we have over 40 years of combined experience helping clients through the process of filing Georgia bankruptcies. We offer all prospective clients a free consultation to discuss their situation and how we can help. Our main office is located in Scottdale and we also have offices in Gainesville, Marietta, Athens, Lawrenceville and Douglasville. To learn more, and to schedule your free consultation today, call 404-381-1278 or contact us online.

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