If you file for bankruptcy in Georgia, you can exempt a small amount of equity in your home with Georgia's homestead exemption. Read on to learn about the homestead exemption in Georgia.
For information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy. For more articles on exemptions, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Under the Georgia exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $21,500 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. You can also apply $5,000 of any unused portion of the homestead exemption towards any property you own. This is commonly referred to as a wildcard exemption.
For example, let’s say your house is worth $100,000. If you have a $90,000 mortgage on the property, then you have $10,000 of home equity. If you file bankruptcy, your equity will be fully exempt under the Georgia homestead exemption. This means that your creditors can’t touch your equity and you can keep your home.
You can double the Georgia homestead exemption if you are married, filing a joint bankruptcy, and own the property together. So as a married couple, you can exempt up to $43,000 of home equity under the Georgia homestead exemption.
(To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of filing joint bankruptcy, see Nolo's section on Bankruptcy Options for Married Couples.)
In Georgia the homestead exemption applies to 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.
Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Georgia is not one of those states. If you reside in Georgia you must use the state exemptions.
(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)
In Georgia the homestead exemption is automatic – you don’t have to file a homestead declaration in order to claim the homestead exemption in bankruptcy.
Georgia’s homestead exemption is found 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 Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.
Georgia bankruptcy exemption amounts are adjusted periodically to account for inflation. This includes the homestead exemption. Before filing bankruptcy, check the latest exemption amounts to find out if the equity in property that is important to you is exempt.