Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

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Like all states, Georgia has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions – but Georgia is not one of them. In Georgia, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Georgia, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”

To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy? 

Special Note: Georiga’s Bankruptcy-Only Exemption System

Georgia, along with seven other states, has an exemption scheme that applies only in bankruptcy (which means you can’t use them against judgment creditors that try to take your property in other situations). Several courts have ruled that bankruptcy-only exemption schemes are unconstitutional. Although others have determined the opposite – that debtors may use these exemptions.

Although the majority of bankruptcy courts allow debtors to use bankruptcy-only exemption schemes, you may wish to consult with an attorney to determine what exemptions are permitted in your local bankruptcy court. 

Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated unless otherwise noted. 

Homestead

44-13-100 - Real or personal property, including co-op, used as a residence, up to $21,500 (up to $43,000 if married whether the spouse is filing or not). Unused portion up to $5,000 may be applied to any other property.

Personal Property

44-13-100 - Motor vehicles up to $5,000; clothing, household goods, appliances, furnishings, books, musical instruments, animals, and crops up to $300 per item and $5,000 total; jewelry up to $500; health aids; lost future earnings recoveries needed for support up to $7,500; personal injury recoveries up to $10,000; wrongful death recoveries needed for support; burial plot in lieu of homestead. 

Wages

18-4-20 - For private and federal workers, either 30 times the state or federal hourly minimum wage or a minimum 75% of earned but unpaid earnings; whichever amount is greater. The judge may authorize more for low-income debtors.

Pensions

11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans). 

11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,171,150.

18-4-22 - ERISA-IRAs and qualified benefits.

44-13-100 - Nonprofit corporations' employees; public employees; other pensions and IRA payments needed for support.

Public Benefits

34-9-84 - Workers' compensation.

44-13-100 - Unemployment compensation, Veterans' benefits, social security, crime victims' compensation, and local public assistance.

49-4-35 - Old age assistance.

49-4-58 - Aid to blind.

49-4-84 - Aid to disabled.

Tools of Trade

44-13-100 - Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $1,500.

Alimony and Child Support

44-13-100 - Alimony and child support needed for support.

Insurance

33-15-62 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

33-26-5 - Life insurance proceeds and availables.

33-28-7 - Annuity and endowment contract benefits.

33-29-15 - Disability or health benefits up to $250 per month.

33-30-10 - Group insurance.

44-13-100 - Unmatured life insurance contract; unmatured life insurance dividends, interest, loan value or cash value up to $2,000 if you or someone you depend on is beneficiary; life insurance proceeds if policy is owned by someone you depend on and is needed for support.

Wildcard

44-13-100(a)(6) - Any property up to $600 plus any unused homestead amount up to $5,000.

Other

 Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Georiga. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Georgia may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated in June of 2011. Consider cross-checking this list withwww.legalconsumer.com, which updates the state exemption amounts regularly, or check with your local bankruptcy court. 

 

by: , J.D.

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