Is My Property Protected If I File Bankruptcy In Ohio?

As anyone who has faced overwhelming debt likely knows, it can be an especially frightening experience when you are unable to pay your bills. However, individuals buried by debt need to know that they should not be ashamed of their situation as almost anyone can fall victim to unforeseen financial circumstances - such as unplanned medical bills, job loss or divorce.

Situations like these are prime examples of why bankruptcy laws were created in the first place. For instance, not only can bankruptcy provide indebted individuals with a much-needed financial fresh start, but bankruptcy also allows individuals to keep much, and in many cases all, of their property following the process - including those who file for bankruptcy in Ohio.

Ohio bankruptcy exemptions

Federal bankruptcy law expressly permits those filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to exempt several types of property from the bankruptcy estate, essentially protecting these assets from being taken - meaning the person will be able to keep the property. Moreover, the federal bankruptcy code allows each state to establish what the limits of these exemptions will be for individuals filing for bankruptcy within that state.

In Ohio, the law is quite clear as to the state's bankruptcy exemptions. For instance, some of the more commonly used bankruptcy exemptions in Ohio include:

  • An individual's car, up to a value of $3,675
  • An individual's personal property, such as home furnishings, appliances and household goods, up to an aggregate value of $12,250
  • An individual's jewelry, up to a value of $1,550

Ultimately, however, probably the most important bankruptcy exemption in Ohio is the homestead exemption, which earlier this year increased significantly to $132,900.

Consequently, under current Ohio law, a homeowner is able to protect $132,900 in home equity. Importantly, this exemption amount doubles to $265,800 in Ohio if the home is jointly owned - such as when owned by a married couple - and the owners file for bankruptcy. Therefore, if the current equity in your home is no more than $265,800 if jointly held, or $132,900 if individually held, it is likely exempt (protected).

Seek assistance if needed

Often times, those considering bankruptcy find themselves stuck in the complex laws that govern the process. Even worse, some individuals attempt to "go it alone" when filing for bankruptcy and end up making costly mistakes. Accordingly, if you are currently contemplating bankruptcy as a solution to insurmountable debt, it is best to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A skilled attorney can help you navigate confusing laws and assist in completely the process properly and efficiently. Contact our firm today for your free consultation.