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Ohio Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions: What You Can Keep?

When you think about filing for bankruptcy, you probably imagine losing everything – your home, your car, even your income. Popular media has depicted bankruptcy this way for years. But this is not the case.

In Ohio, you are allowed to protect some or maybe even all of your property through bankruptcy exemptions. The monetary values of the items you can exempt and the items themselves are subject to various rules. However, these Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions can help you get the fresh start you need without losing everything in the process.

For more about bankruptcy exemptions in Ohio, read on or contact the trusted Ohio Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates. Call (614) 224-1500 for a free consult. We’ll discuss your situation and whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy makes sense for you.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions: Ohio vs. Federal

Ohio has a list of items you can protect during Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The federal government has a list too, but they are very different.

While other states with Chapter 7 exemption lists will allow you to choose between federal or state exemptions, this is not the case in Ohio. In Ohio, you must work within the state list of Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions.

Fortunately, Ohio’s list is often enough to protect most of your assets.

What Is Exempt in Ohio Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If someone asked you to make a list of all the things you would like to protect during your bankruptcy, your home and vehicle would likely be the first two items you include. Perhaps a pension or retirement savings account would make the cut, too.

In Ohio, the list of what you can keep during Chapter 7 bankruptcy goes deeper than just property and vehicles. Below, we look at some of the most common Ohio Chapter 7 exemptions. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of what you can keep during bankruptcy in Ohio. To discuss your unique case, speak with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.

Your Home

Ohio Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to exempt up to $145,425 in equity in your home or another property. Under the “wildcard” provision, you can also keep $1,325 of value in any other property.

Your Income

Many people who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio are understandably concerned about what will happen to their paycheck. While you can’t keep all of it, you can exempt up to 75% of your wages.

Your Personal Property

You are also allowed to exempt the value of various personal items. Here are some examples:

  • A Vehicle: You can keep up to $4,000 of your interest in a motor vehicle
  • Cash: Up to $500 in cash on hand
  • Jewelry: Jewelry up to $1,700 can be exempted
  • Household Goods: Furniture, appliances, and similar items can qualify for an aggregate exemption value of $13,400
  • Tools of the Trade: You can keep as much as $2,550 worth of items you use for your work or business

Your Pension

You likely won’t have to fear for your retirement plans, either. Ohio also allows those filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to exempt all of their private pension payments, tax-exempt retirement accounts, IRAs and Roth IRAs, and state teacher retirement system payments.

Miscellaneous Items

Many other items are on the Ohio Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions list. The following are some other common and valuable items you may be able to exempt:

  • A Personal Injury Award: You may be able to exempt up to $25,175 of a payment you are owed for a personal injury settlement or court verdict
  • Spousal Support and Child Support: Ohio law allows you to protect child support and spousal support payments “to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the person and any of the person’s dependents”
  • A 529 Savings Plan: You may exempt the entire value of your 529 savings plan
  • Public Benefits: Workers’ Compensation benefits, unemployment, disability assistance, vocational rehab, and other public benefits are eligible for exemption in Ohio

Need Help With a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When it is done right, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a fresh start. Most people who file a Chapter 7 lose no assets due in part to Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions.

But adding everything up, saving your assets, and knowing whether Chapter 7 is the right choice for you is hard. That goes double when you are already under immense financial stress. This is where an experienced and dedicated bankruptcy lawyer can step in.

We can help you maximize your Ohio Chapter 7 exemptions and sail through your bankruptcy court appearance and filing process. To get started, get in touch with Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 224-1500, or contact us online today for a free consultation.