New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer Explains Protecting Assets Through Exemptions

One concern for anyone filing bankruptcy is whether a trustee will take away and sell their possessions, such as their house. This is because if you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee assigned to your case will be looking at your assets to sell them in an effort to pay creditors. The sale of assets rarely happens in New Jersey, though, because the law allows you to retain assets up to a specific value.

What Are the Exemptions?

This is done through "exemptions," which are provisions within the Bankruptcy Code (which are used in New Jersey bankruptcies) that protect those assets up to a specific value. Each debtor in bankruptcy can use the full exemptions, which effectively doubles the maximum amounts for married couples applying exemptions to jointly owned property. Here are some examples of available exemptions:

Principal Residence (Homestead Exemption)          $25,150
Motor Vehicle   $4,000
Household Goods and Furnishings, Clothing $13,400
Furs and Jewelry $1,700
Tools of trade (books & equipment)   $2,525
Cash Value of Life Insurance Policy $13,400
Pain and Suffering Damages from Personal Injury $25,150
"Wildcard" Exemption (Can Be Applied to Anything)  $12,575


There are more exemptions than these, but the above represent the most common ones applied.

So What Should I Do?

Ultimately, the answer to this question can only be given after an attorney has reviewed a list of your assets, determined their distressed sale value, and applied for these exemptions. Often, a "liquidation analysis is done, as in the case of a home. Although each case is different, statistics are on your side. In New Jersey, over 90% of Chapter 7 bankruptcies do not involve assets being sold by the trustee.

If you live in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, or Cumberland County, are considering filing bankruptcy, and are ready to take action, then call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.

If you want more information about bankruptcy, download my free book, Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.

Not sure if bankruptcy is right for you? Take the quiz to the right to find out more!

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.