Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

Find out how much property you'll be able to protect when filing for bankruptcy in Georgia.

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).

  • In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to oversee your case will sell nonexempt property and distribute the proceeds to creditors.
  • In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it works differently. You can keep everything you own, but you’ll pay creditors the value of the nonexempt property or your disposable income, whichever is more, through your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

Find out more about filing for bankruptcy by reading Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?

Georgia Exemptions v. Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

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?

Common Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

Here are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing Georgia exemptions:

  • Unless otherwise noted, when spouses file jointly in Georgia, each spouse can claim the full amount of the exemption (informally called “doubling”) as long as the spouse has an ownership interest in the property.
  • List and verify your exemptions. You must claim an exemption by listing it in the official bankruptcy forms to protect your property. Other exemptions exist, and you might be required to meet unlisted qualification requirements. Consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure that you’re fully protecting your assets.
  • Legal citations. Legal references are to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated or federal law.

You’ll find more Georgia bankruptcy information in Filing Bankruptcy in Georgia.

Georgia Homestead Exemption

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.

Georgia Motor Vehicle Exemption

44-13-100(a)(3) - Motor vehicles up to $5,000.

Georgia Wildcard Exemption

44-13-100(a)(6) - Any property up to $1,200 plus any unused homestead amount up to $11,200.

Other Georgia Exemptions

Personal Property

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Other

Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming 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.

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