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Protecting present home equity is a sensible focus when considering bankruptcy. Protecting future potential equity can be even more important.

Our last blog posts discussed how to protect the equity currently in your home through the homestead exemption. We discussed property exemptions in bankruptcy in general, and federal and state homestead exemptions in particular. Overall we showed how your homestead exemption can preserve the equity you presently have through a Chapter 7 case.

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You can protect the equity in your home if the amount of equity is no more than the homestead exemption applicable to residents of your state.


Our last two blog posts outlined 15 separate ways that bankruptcy can protect your home now and/or in the future. We’ll be explaining each one of these ways in 15 separate blog posts. Here is the first one—protecting present and future equity in your home through Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy.”

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Usually your car or truck is protected in bankruptcy with a vehicle exemption. Or if the vehicle is worth too much Chapter 13 can protect it.

How Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 affect your vehicle and vehicle loan can determine which of these options you choose. That’s why we’ve focused the last several blog posts on the differences between these options. We’ve especially looked at reaffirming a vehicle loan in Chapter 7 vs. cramming it down in Chapter 13. Depending on your circumstances one of these is likely a safer and/or less expensive way to keep your vehicle.

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Chapter 7 takes about 4 months, while Chapter 13 takes 3 to 5 years, and likely costs more. But that doesn’t begin to answer which is better.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” is usually, but not always, for simpler situations. It’s often the right choice if your income is relatively low, your assets are modest, and your debts are straightforward. You keep all of your assets, all or most of your debts are discharged (legally written off), and if you want you keep paying on your vehicle and/or your mortgage or rent.

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Falling behind on home’s property taxes creates a special problem. The tax collector will likely be much less pushy than your mortgage lender.


Falling Behind on Property Taxes

If you have a mortgage on your home you can fall behind on your property taxes two ways.

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