Before filing for bankruptcy, you want to know whether you can keep valuable property—especially your home. If you qualify to use Georgia's homestead exemption, you'll be able to protect some equity in your house. In this article, we'll explain:
For more information, read Filing for Bankruptcy in Georgia.
Under the Georgia exemption system, homeowners can exempt up to $21,500 of home equity or other equity covered by the homestead exemption. You can also apply $10,000 of any unused portion of the homestead exemption towards any property you own using a "wildcard exemption."
For example, let's say your house is worth $100,000. You have a $90,000 mortgage on the property, leaving $10,000 of home equity. If you file bankruptcy, your equity will be fully exempt under the Georgia homestead exemption. Your creditors won't be able to touch your equity, and you can keep your home.
In Georgia, the homestead exemption is automatic. You don't have to file a homestead declaration to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy. You can use the homestead exemption toward real or personal property used as your residence, including your home, condominium, or co-op. You are also allowed to exempt burial plots with the Georgia homestead exemption.
You can double the Georgia homestead exemption if you are married, filing a joint bankruptcy, and owning the property together. So as a married couple, you can exempt up to $43,000 of home equity under the Georgia homestead exemption. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of filing joint bankruptcy by reading Bankruptcy Options for Married Couples.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of state exemptions. Georgia is not one of those states, so you must use the state exemptions if you reside in Georgia. Find out more in Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?
You'll find Georgia's homestead exemption in the Georgia state statutes at Georgia Code Annotated § 44-13-100(a)(1) and § 44-13-100(a)(6). To learn how to find state statutes, check out Laws and Legal Research.
Georgia bankruptcy exemption amounts adjust periodically to account for inflation, including the homestead exemption. Before filing for bankruptcy, check the latest exemption amounts to determine if you can exempt the equity in the property you want to keep.
Did you know Nolo has been making the law easy for over fifty years? It's true—and we want to make sure you find what you need. Below you'll find more articles explaining how bankruptcy works. And don't forget that our bankruptcy homepage is the best place to start if you have other questions!
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We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.
Updated April 1, 2022