Clients who are contemplating filing bankruptcy have long been subjected to Georgia’s exceedingly low ‘wildcard’ exemption of $600, plus up to $5,000 of any unused Georgia homestead exemption. Thanks to State Senator Jesse Stone, who authored the bill, these wildcard limits DOUBLE effective July 1, 2015.
The increase to the wildcard exemption mean that each person filing will be able to protect $1,200 plus up to $10,000 of any unused homestead exemption.
I imagine that those filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will immediately feel the positive effects when they are better able to save their assets that are otherwise subject to the trustee’s power to collect and sell. I’m thinking of: earned income credit-driven tax refunds, flexible spending accounts, stock accounts, valuable personal property (like guns, collectibles, jewelry), paid off vehicles, etc. Assess like these often need these exemptions and they are all better protected now.
It’s been twenty plus years since the last increase to the state exemption, so an increase has been long overdue.
If you are reading this and thinking about how to protect your assets, please remember that though the limits are improved, it’s still easy to make mistakes that can cost you the thing you are trying to protect. It’s worth your time to find an attorney who will has the skills to help you, and who will take the time to advise you before you file.