Filing for bankruptcy can seem like a scary idea, especially if you are worried about losing property and assets. However, there is really no need to be anxious because there is a very good chance you won’t have to give up anything. In fact, most people who file for Chapter 7 do get to keep their assets. Understanding the exemption laws in bankruptcy cases will help you to hold on to your stuff. Here is a list of some important Chapter 7 exemptions that are available to you in D.C.
Home – Any home that the debtor of their dependents lives in is completely exempt in D.C.
Personal Property – There are a lot of things that fall under this category such as your car, bank accounts, furniture, appliances, clothing, pets, etc. There are a number of restrictions and value caps that fall on these items as well, so it is best to have an attorney who knows every little detail about exemption laws to get the most protection for your assets.
Benefits and Insurance – All benefits are exempt. This includes disability, Social Security, veteran’s aid, unemployment aid, etc. Any court awarded money for the wrongful death of a loved one is also exempt. All life insurance is generally protected as well, including payments, benefits, and proceeds.
Child Support – Child support or alimony are exempt both federally and in D.C.
Pensions and Retirement – Under D.C. exemptions, stock bonus, annuity, pension, or profit-sharing plans are exempt. So are IRAs, school teachers, and judges.
Tools of Trade – Any tools used for a business are protected up to $1,625. Mechanics tools are exempt up to $200.
Wages – Wage garnishment laws are a bit complicated and vary widely from state to state, but in D.C., a minimum of 75 percent of your wages are exempt. A judge may raise that amount in low-income cases.
Wild Card – This is for anything else. D.C. allows a debtor to protect up to $850 of any property, as well as $8,075 worth of unused home exemption.
These are just some of the exemptions available to anyone in the D.C. area filing for bankruptcy. Review the list of exemptions to protect your property and assets. However, these laws are written to be very complicated and confusing, so it really is almost impossible to get through it all without the assistance of a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.
Law Firm of Kevin D. Judd – Your Gateway to Financial Freedom