Will I Lose My Jewelry if I File Bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia?
Debtors who file bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia can normally keep their jewelry when they file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia. In my Atlanta, Georgia bankruptcy practice, I rarely see anyone lose personal items such as jewelry when they file bankruptcy because Georgia law provides exemptions or protection of personal property for bankruptcy filers.
Under the Georgia exemption statute, a person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can “exempt” (or protect) up to $500 worth of jewelry. If the person is filing jointly with a spouse, each gets to claim the $500 exemption. Also,the Georgia exemption law allows each person an extra $600 for a “wildcard” exemption that can be applied to jewelry. Finally, each individual bankruptcy filer can also take up to $5,000 of his or her unused real estate or homestead exemption and apply it to jewelry as well. Thus, it is rare that a bankruptcy filer will ever risk losing his or her jewelry in a Chapter 7 case.
How to Apply for Exemptions with Bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia
So, an individual filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia can exempt up to $6,100.00 worth of jewelry ($500 + $600 + $5,000 = $6,100), and a couple filing jointly can protect up to $12,200 worth of jewelry ($1000 + $1200 + $10,000 = $12,200).
Valuing Jewelry for the Purpose of Bankruptcy
If you suspect that your jewelry is worth more than $6,100 (for an individual) or $12,200 (for a married couple), I would advise you to get that jewelry valued. Unfortunately, most jewelry is vastly overpriced by retailers. So, the engagement ring that you think is worth $15,000 will be worth only $2,500 to a wholesale jewelry buyer. While a low estimate won’t make you feel very good about your watches and rings, a low written appraisal will help convince your Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee that your jewelry is not worth the effort to liquidate.
Chapter 7 Trustee Liquidation
In a Georgia Chapter 7 case, a trustee is assigned to your case for the purpose of determining whether you have any assets that can be sold to repay creditors. Thus, if the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee does decide that your jewelry is worth more than the Georgia exemptions allow you to protect, you have the right to take the valuation question to the bankruptcy judge for a ruling, or you can offer to make payments on the estate’s interest in the jewelry, usually for 6 months to a year, in order to “buy the trustee out.”
Chapter 13 Will Allow You to Keep Property
Even if you own jewelry that is worth significantly more than the Georgia bankruptcy exemptions, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Georgia can protect property from liquidation, including jewelry because Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers are obligated to repay their debts in an amount equal to the value of the unprotected property.
Get Help Filing for Bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia, contact the Law Offices of Charles Clapp at 404.585.0040 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Charles is absolutely a brilliant attorney! He is a critical thinker and determined problem solver. He is very accessible, even via text. If he is in court, his ability to multi-task, you can feel safe and secure in knowing he is handling any issues or concerns. I entrust him with my future, he is a uniquely talented attorney who always challenges himself to achieve the absolute best outcome for his clients.
I was very satisfied with Mr. Clapp services. He is a man of his word and did everything he told me he would. I would highly recommend him.
I came to Mr. Clapp by referral with a complicated case involving both personal and business debts that were out of control. Mr. Clapp evaluated the situation and gave me options that I was not even aware of. He knows his stuff, executed flawlessly, and I have been able to start over. I highly recommend Charles Clapp if you have debt or bankruptcy issues. Listen to his advice, he knows his stuff. I consulted with several other bankruptcy attorneys prior to retaining Mr. Clapp, and they did not have the same breadth of knowledge that Mr. Clapp brought to my case.
I selected Charles Clapp to handle my bankruptcy based on his already positive reviews and I am glad that I did! He was very accommodating to my schedule and made my negative life experience positive. I was actually very surprised how easy he made the process. Life happens and it’s great to be represented by someone that understand that!!! Stop your attorney search with Charles Clapp!!!