By: Mary Ann Pekara
October 21, 2010
There are certain assets that an individual filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy may keep as exemptions, meaning that they will not be liquidated by creditors during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Home equity is protected for several reasons, including the protection of the debtor from the risk of becoming homeless due to creditor liquidation of property during bankruptcy proceedings. Not all states have what is called the "homestead exemption," however, so it may be advisable to check state laws.
Retirement plans are often protected from liquidation to ensure Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings do not drastically decrease individuals' standards of living in their old age.
Personal property is often exempt, and depending on the state, clothing, cars, furniture, household appliances and even jewelry may be exempt from liquidation.
What these protected assets may be and what total value they may have differs from state to state, so it may be beneficial to an individual considering filing bankruptcy to check specific laws in his or her state about bankruptcy exemptions. Not all states have exemptions for these assets, and some have additional exemptions for other things, ranging from child support payments to liquor licenses.