Any consumer who files for bankruptcy in Georgia should be prepared to discuss with their bankruptcy lawyer in Acworth their personal assets. Many of your assets will be protected in a bankruptcy filing. While Georgia typically requires most consumers to abide by Georgia exemptions, there are a few, limited, federal exemptions you can take advantage of including:
- Retirement benefits – this includes veteran’s benefits, Medal of Honor benefits and civil service retirement benefits.
- Survivor’s benefits – includes military service, judges, lighthouse workers and court directors.
- Death and disability benefits – includes war hazard death or injury, government employee benefits and longshoremen and harbor worker benefits.
In addition to the limited amount of federal exemptions, your bankruptcy attorney in Acworth will help you understand the myriad of exemptions available under Georgia’s bankruptcy statutes. Some of these include:
- Homestead exemption – helps protect your home if you have a great deal of equity in the property. Keep in mind, if you have a mortgage on your home you will have to prove you can maintain your mortgage payment, tax payments and insurance.
- Insurance benefits – as a general rule, your benefits from group insurance, annuities, and disability payments up to $250 per month, life insurance proceeds and life insurance with certain caps on cash value are exempt property.
- Pension benefits – public employee pensions, nonprofit corporation employee benefits and ERISA qualified pensions are typically exempt.
- Miscellaneous – as a general rule, your personal belongings valued up to $3,500 are considered exempt property. In addition, you can keep recoveries from wrongful death suits and personal injury suits subject to certain limitations. There are also generous exemptions for public benefits including those for blind or disabled consumers.
Understanding exemptions for married couples
If a couple is filing a joint bankruptcy petition, the exemptions are typically double in most cases. When only one spouse is filing, the exemptions may be slightly higher for home and auto exemptions. As you prepare to meet with your bankruptcy lawyer in Acworth, it is a good idea to prepare a full list of all assets you own. Keep in mind, without an accurate list of assets, including life insurance policies and second homes, it is impossible to determine the likelihood of protecting your assets.
Deciding on joint or single filings
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In some cases, if most debt is only in the name of one spouse, it may be more beneficial to have one spouse file bankruptcy. However, keep in mind, any jointly held assets must be claimed as part of the filing. Additionally, bank accounts that are jointly held may be garnished by creditors and jointly held debts may become the responsibility of the non-filing spouse. Your Acworth bankruptcy attorney can help you determine which method of filing is best for your individual situation to ensure that your assets are preserved.
The decision to file bankruptcy is very difficult but for some consumers, a necessary one. Contact Roger Ghai, a bankruptcy attorney in Acworth at the Law Offices of Roger Ghai at (770) 792-1000 to get a complete understanding of your options.