The burning question in most potential bankruptcy debtors' minds is "What can I keep?" You're understandably worried about losing everything, but let me just put your mind at ease. You're definitely not going to lose everything. In fact, most people keep everything. Bankruptcy was created specifically to help consumers sinking under the waves of financial overburden, and both state and federal law provide for property exemptions. In other words, the law sets out a list of items that you can keep even after the bankruptcy process ends.
Texas allows consumers to choose to use either the federal exemption guidelines or the Texas exemptions.
The federal exemptions allow you to keep:
- Your home up to $20,200
- Life insurance payments for individuals you depend upon for support
- Life insurance policy with loan value up to $10,775
- Unmatured life insurance contract, excluding credit insurance policy
- Alimony and child support used for support
- Pensions and Retirement Benefits, ERISA-qualified benefits needed for support
- $525 per item in household goods for a total value of up to $10,775
- Health aids
- Jewelry up to $1,350
- Lost earnings payments
- Your motor vehicle up to $3,225
- Personal injury compensation payments up to $20,200, wrongful death payments, crime victims' compensation, public assistance, social security, unemployment compensation, and veterans' benefits
- Tools of trade up to $20,200
- Wild Card - $1,075 of any property plus up to $10,125 of any amount of unused homestead exemption
The Texas exemptions allow you to keep:
- Your home, if not more than 10 acres in town or 100 acres out of town (200 acres for families)
- $30,000 worth of personal property ($60,000 for head of family), including one two-, three- or four-wheeled vehicle; two horses, mules or donkeys and a saddle, blanket and bridle for each; 12 head of cattle,; 60 head of other livestock; 120 fowl; pets. Athletic and sporting equipment, home furnishing, family heirlooms; food and clothing; jewelry (but not to exceed 25 per cent of total exemptions); tools of your trade
- Burial plots
- Health aids
- Unemployment , disability, veterans', workers' compensation and social security benefits
- Alimony and child support
- Retirement plan and life insurance proceeds
- Business partnership property
- Farming or ranching vehicles and implements
Also, as long as you keep up the payments on mortgages and deeds of trust, you'll be able to keep all your property that you're still paying on. And with bankruptcy to help give you the financial breathing room you need, that shouldn't be a problem. Lenders use foreclosure as a last resort, so they want you to make your payments just as much as you do.
So, if you've been unsure whether bankruptcy could be the right step for you because you thought you would lose everything, consider consulting with a reputable bankruptcy attorney today to find out whether it could be the perfect option to end the economic stress and hassle you've been buried under.