What are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

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Bankruptcy Exemptions in Tennessee

Will I lose everything by filing for bankruptcy?  Will the court require me to give up my house, car, furniture?  These questions are often asked and create a lot of stress for someone contemplating bankruptcy.   Most people will not have to give up property in bankruptcy because when a person files for relief in bankruptcy there are certain exemptions that apply to various types of property or assets.  In a bankruptcy proceeding a Trustee is appointed to determine if there are any assets (personal or real property) which can be liquidated (sold) and the proceeds used to pay your unsecured creditors.  However, under both federal and Tennessee law you are allowed certain exemption amounts which protect your assets from the Trustee or other creditors.

What specific property is exempt in bankruptcy?

  Under Tennessee Law the following items are generally exempt:

  • Personal Property including household items, automobiles, cash, bank accounts, etc. up to $10,000 per debtor
  • Homestead – your personal residence up to $5,000 individual $10,000 per couple
  • Tools and Equipment of Trade $1,900.00
  • Retirement and pension accounts 401k, 403b, etc.  100%
  • Clothing, school books, bible, personal family pictures  100%
  • Health Care aids that are professionally prescribed 100%
  • Debtor’s right to receive social security benefit, unemployment compensation, a Families First program benefit, veterans’ benefit, disability benefit 100%
  • A payment for personal bodily injury up to $7500

Bankruptcy Exemptions Vary by State and Under Certain Circumstances

There are other various exemptions that may be available in certain instances.  Exemptions are different in other states.  For example in Georgia an automobile is exempt up to $3500, and a wildcard exemption is also available.  In Tennessee these exemptions in bankruptcy do sometimes vary depending upon individual circumstances.  For instance the homestead exemption (your personal residence) is partially based upon age, and family status – additional exemption amounts are available for elderly debtors and for bankruptcy debtors with minor children in the homes.

For more information about what property is exempt when you file bankruptcy speak to a Chattanooga bankruptcy attorney.

Review: Compare Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy


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