No increased exemptions for Georgians this year.

One day last week was “crossover day” in our esteemed Georgia General Assembly–where bills must pass from one side to the other in order to be passed before the end of the legislative session. Bills that don’t crossover are left to die (at least until next session).

Bankruptcy advocates in Georgia were waiting with somewhat baited breath to see whether SB 249 sponsored by Senator Ed Tarver (D) from Augusta would make the trip.

Not this year my friends.

Senator Tarver’s bill would have DOUBLED the amount of allowed homestead exemption from $10,000 to $20,200 for an individual filer, and from $20,000 to $40,400 for married filers.

Doubling the exemption would have meant that Georgians entering bankruptcy would have been allowed to keep up to 40K in equity in a primary residence. Keep in mind that Florida and Texas allow unlimited homestead exemptions.

As the law stands if you file Chapter 7 and if you have more than the allowed equity in your home, you may be required to sell your house or make up the difference by selling some other asset.

How do you calculate the amount of equity in your home? Equity is the difference in how much you owe and how much your house is worth if you sold it. Sounds pretty simple, except it’s not.

The value of most houses in Georgia is up for discussion, and it is critically important that bankruptcy filers gather as much information about the value of their property (or else your creditor will do it for you–using their numbers!). Talk to a qualified bankruptcy attorney who will help you get the information you’ll need to prove the value of your house.

Maybe we’ll get more assistance from our elected officials next year.