Updated January 18, 2019
You won't lose everything you own when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in Georgia. You'll use Georgia's set of exemption laws to protect important property, such as a home, car, and retirement account.
Many people can keep everything they own, but that's not always the case. The bankruptcy chapter you file will determine what will happen to your nonexempt property (the property you can't protect with a Georgia bankruptcy exemption).
Find out more about filing for bankruptcy by reading Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?
Each state has a set of bankruptcy exemptions, and a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions exists too. Federal exemptions usually come into play when a filer can't claim a state of residence. For instance, this can happen if the debtor has been out of the country or in the military.
Some states allow their residents to choose either the state exemption list or the federal exemption list, but Georgia isn't one of these states. You'll have to use Georgia's exemptions. However, you can use federal nonbankruptcy exemptions in addition to the state exemptions.
You can learn more about how bankruptcy exemptions work, which state exemption system you should use, and the homestead exemption rules in Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing Georgia exemptions:
You'll find more Georgia bankruptcy information in Filing Bankruptcy in Georgia.
44-13-100(a)(1) - 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 can be applied to any other property.
44-13-100(a)(3) - Motor vehicles up to $5,000.
44-13-100(a)(6) - Any property up to $1,200 plus any unused homestead amount up to $11,200.
44-13-100 - 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.
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.
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 current maximum (amount subject to change).
18-4-22 - ERISA-IRAs and qualified benefits.
44-13-100 - Nonprofit corporations' employees; public employees; other pensions and IRA payments needed for support.
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.
33-15-62 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
33-26-5 - Life insurance proceeds.
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 dividends, interest, loan value or cash value up to $2,000 if you or someone you depend on is beneficiary; life insurance proceeds if the policy is owned by someone you depend on and the funds are needed for support.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Georgia; however, it doesn't include all of them. Also, states often create exceptions to specific exemptions, and Georgia could have changed the amounts since this list was last updated. Consider checking with a local bankruptcy attorney or self-help legal center.