Hi. My name is Michael West and I’m a bankruptcy attorney in Newnan, Georgia. Normally when a person files for bankruptcy, the person’s debt is discharged. Meaning, the person is no longer responsible for the debt or it’s greatly reduced. This debt reduction or elimination seems very attractive to Georgians who are facing credit card bills, wage garnishments, medical bills, or other debts.

But many people mistakenly believe that by filing bankruptcy they will lose everything. You see, bankruptcy’s a chance for a fresh start and thankfully it’s not the case normally that people will lose everything when they file bankruptcy. One very important point to remember when considering bankruptcy is there is an exemption that exists that may allow bankruptcy filers to keep their home.

If your house still has equity in it, which means that your house is worth more than your mortgage then you may be able to keep your house depending on your state’s specific Homestead Exemption. Different states have different Homestead Exemption amounts. In Georgia, a residential exemption for a single filer is $21,500 or $43,000 if you are married, own the house together and are filing a joint bankruptcy petition.

For example, if you are single and your house is worth $100,000, your mortgage is $78,500 which means you have $21,500 worth of equity in your home. If you were to file bankruptcy, your home equity would be exempt from the proceedings under the residential exemption and your creditors would not be able to come after your house; therefore, you would be able to keep your house under these circumstances.

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be a very difficult one and it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Our office is available to advise clients on the benefits and disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy. I’m Michael West. Give me a call and we’ll discuss your bankruptcy options.