Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

Bankruptcy law allows you to "exempt" or protect most of your property from claims of creditors when you file bankruptcy. This is why most bankruptcy filers lose nothing but debt when they file.

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Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

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Summary of Georgia Exemption Law

When you declare property as exempt, it belongs 100% to you even when you file for bankruptcy.  In other words, no one can  make any claim on your exempt property and you keep it when you file.  Because the Georgia exemption statute covers most things that you are likely to own, you are unlikely to lose anything when you file.

The full exemption statute is published below but it can be difficult to read.  Here are the highlights:

  • $21,500 of equity in real estate
  • $5,000 of equity in a car or truck
  • $5,000 of household goods (using garage sale valuations)
  • $500 of jewelry
  • $1,500 of professional books or tools of the trade
  • Unlimited value of professionally prescribed health aids
  • 100% of life insurance proceeds to extent necessary for your support
  • 100% of Social Security funds
  • 100% of pension, 401(k) or IRA
  • "wildcard" exemption of $1,200 + up to $10,000 of unused real estate exemption

A husband and wife filing together would double the above exemptions


Full Text of Georgia Exemption Statute
Official Code of Georgia 44-13-100

(a) In lieu of the exemption provided in Code Section 44-13-1, any debtor who is a natural person may exempt, pursuant to this article, for purposes of bankruptcy, the following property:

(1) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $21,500.00 in value, in real property or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor. In the event title to property used for the exemption provided under this paragraph is in one of two spouses who is a debtor, the amount of the exemption hereunder shall be $43,000.00;

(2) The debtor’s right to receive:

(A) A social security benefit, unemployment compensation, or a local public assistance benefit;

(B) A veteran’s benefit;

(C) A disability, illness, or unemployment benefit;

(D) Alimony, support, or separate maintenance, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;

(E) A payment under a pension, annuity, or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor; and

(F) A payment from an individual retirement account within the meaning of Title 26 U.S.C. Section 408 to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;

(2.1) The debtor’s aggregate interest in any funds or property held on behalf of the debtor, and not yet distributed to the debtor, under any retirement or pension plan or system:

(A) Which is: (i) maintained for public officers or employees or both by the State of Georgia or a political subdivision of the State of Georgia or both; and (ii) financially supported in whole or in part by public funds of the State of Georgia or a political subdivision of the State of Georgia or both;

(B) Which is: (i) maintained by a nonprofit corporation which is qualified as an exempt organization under Code Section 48-7-25 for its officers or employees or both; and (ii) financially supported in whole or in part by funds of the nonprofit corporation;

(C) To the extent permitted by the bankruptcy laws of the United States similar benefits from the private sector of such debtor shall be entitled to the same treatment as those specified in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, provided that the exempt or nonexempt status of periodic payments from such a retirement or pension plan or system shall be as provided under subparagraph (E) of paragraph (2) of this subsection; or

(D) An individual retirement account within the meaning of Title 26 U.S.C. Section 408;

(3) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed the total of $5,000.00 in value, in all motor vehicles;

(4) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed $300.00 in value in any particular item, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor. The exemption of the debtor’s interest in the items contained in this paragraph shall not exceed $5,000.00 in total value;

(5) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $500.00 in value, in jewelry held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor;

(6) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $1,200.00 in value plus any unused amount of the exemption, not to exceed $10,000.00, provided under paragraph (1) of this subsection, in any property;

(7) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $1,500.00 in value, in any implements, professional books, or tools of the trade of the debtor or the trade of a dependent of the debtor;

(8) Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract;

(9) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $2,000.00 in value, less any amount of property of the estate transferred in the manner specified in Section 542(d) of U.S. Code Title 11, in any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan or cash value of, any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor under which the insured is the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent;

(10) Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor; and

(11) The debtor’s right to receive, or property that is traceable to:

(A) An award under a crime victim’s reparation law;

(B) A payment on account of the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;

(C) A payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent on the date of such individual’s death, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;

(D) A payment, not to exceed $10,000.00, on account of personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent; or

(E) A payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.

(b) Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 522(b)(1), an individual debtor whose domicile is in Georgia is prohibited from applying or utilizing 11 U.S.C. Section 522(d) in connection with exempting property from his or her estate; and such individual debtor may exempt from property of his or her estate only such property as may be exempted from the estate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 522(b)(2)(A) and (B). For the purposes of this subsection, an “individual debtor whose domicile is in Georgia” means an individual whose domicile has been located in Georgia for the 180 days immediately preceding the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition or for a longer portion of such 180 day period than in any other place.

(c) The exemptions and protections contained in this article are extended to intestate insolvent estates in all cases where there is a living widow or child of the intestate.