Did you know that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to provide quick relief from credit cards, personal loans, and other unsecured debts?
Under Chapter 7 law, a filer may have to part with some property in order to partially repay their creditors. The good news is that bankruptcy laws allow certain property to be kept by the filer by claiming them as exempt. In fact, many filers find their assets completely protected by the exemptions in their state.
Exempt Property in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions vary in their specifics from state to state but generally include many of the same categories. These categories often include:
- Homestead: In most states, home up to a certain value is exempt under Chapter 7 laws. If you have no home equity or rent your home, you may not have to worry about this. Note: If you have a home are facing foreclosure, Chapter 13 may work better for you.
- Wages: Many states set limits on how much of your wages can legally be taken by creditors, based on your household’s annual income. Generally, wage garnishment can be halted altogether by filing for bankruptcy, thanks to legal protection called the automatic stay.
- Automobile: Another common exemption, the automobile exemption generally has a set value limit, which means that if you drive an older car or one with a low fair market value, you may stand a decent chance of being able to keep it in bankruptcy.
- Personal property: This exemption has perhaps the most variation from state to state. Some states set a dollar limit to all personal property that can be exempted, and some states set individual limits for clothing, books, trade tools, jewelry, and similar categories.
Carolyn Secor is a Clearwater bankruptcy attorney and Clearwater foreclosure attorney serving Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Seminole, St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay area.