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texas bankruptcy lawyerDebt can be a difficult issue for anyone to deal with. Fortunately, bankruptcy can provide relief for those who find themselves unable to pay the debts they owe while also covering their ongoing expenses. In many cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the preferable option, since it will allow most debts to be eliminated quickly and easily. This form of debt relief is referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy” since the bankruptcy trustee may seize some of a debtor’s assets and sell them to pay off the debts owed to creditors. However, certain types of assets are exempt from liquidation. By understanding what exemptions apply to them, debtors can determine whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is their best option or whether they should choose a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.

Bankruptcy Exemptions in Texas

Those who live in the state of Texas can take advantage of some of the most generous bankruptcy exemption laws in the United States, and if necessary, they can use the federal bankruptcy exemptions as an alternative. Homeowners can use the homestead exemption for the equity they own in their homes. In Texas, there are no limits on the amount of a homestead exemption that can be claimed, as long as the home is located on a property that falls within certain size limits. For urban homes located in a city or municipality, a lot can be no larger than 10 acres. For rural homes, a homestead may consist of up to 100 acres for a single person or 200 acres for a family. When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a homeowner may be able to avoid the foreclosure of their home if they make up any missed mortgage payments and will be able to continue making payments after completing the bankruptcy process. 

Texas’ exemption laws also cover the personal property owned by a debtor. A single person can exempt up to $50,000 of property, and a family can exempt up to $100,000. Personal property may include:

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TX bankruptcy attorneyFor some people, filing for bankruptcy can be a scary thing. In the beginning, you may not know what the future has in store for you and you may wonder which of your possessions you are allowed to keep and which possessions you must give up. Exemptions are an important part of the bankruptcy process. In a bankruptcy case, exemptions are the possessions that you get to keep after you have liquidated your luxury assets to help pay back a portion of your debts. Each state has its own guidelines for what property is exempt during a bankruptcy. In 17 states, including the state of Texas, you are able to choose between state exemption guidelines or federal guidelines, but you must choose one or the other. It is important to understand bankruptcy exemptions because they do differ.

Federal Exemptions

The exemptions that are listed here are the exemption amounts for each individual bankruptcy filer. That means if both you and your spouse are filing for bankruptcy, you can double the amounts. Here is a list of the current federal exemption amounts for each individual filer:

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bankruptcy exemptions, Texas, federal exemptions, Texas bankruptcy exemptions, types of bankruptcy, debtLosing your job or getting expensive medical bills can have devastating effects on your budget.  Without ample savings, it can be hard to make monthly payments, and eventually you may lose your car or even your home.

However, bankruptcy can stop foreclosure, repossession and wage garnishment through selling property or reorganizing existing debts if you are earning income. However, filing for bankruptcy does not mean losing all your worldly possessions. When filing your paperwork, you may choose to use either federal exemptions or the exemptions set out by the statutes of Texas.

Both the Federal and State exemptions allow the debtor to protect equity in their primary residence. This is called the Homestead Exemption and it does not provide any protection to rental or investment properties. Under the federal exemption, you can shield up to $22,975 of equity from a bankruptcy trustee. The homestead exemption in Texas is not limited by the amount of equity in the home, but the size and location of the property. It cannot exceed an acre if it is located in a populated city, village or town.  In rural areas, the exemption can be as large as 100 acres.

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