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Bankruptcy and Your Assets: What Can You Keep in South Carolina?

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If you’re filing for bankruptcy in South Carolina and are worried about which assets you’ll have to sell, you’ll be glad to know you can keep many of them. This is because this state has several exemptions protecting certain assets from being sold to pay creditors during bankruptcy.

Your bankruptcy lawyer will guide you through this legal process, letting you know what property is exempt and what you must give the trustee to sell. Note that if you’re married and file for bankruptcy jointly with your spouse, the exemptions you get are typically doubled on any assets you co-own. Take a look at the main categories of bankruptcy exemptions you’re entitled to in South Carolina, and then discuss your specific case with a trusted lawyer.

Can You Keep Your Home?

Most debtors worry about losing their homes during bankruptcy. Not only is it the most valuable asset most people own, but it’s also where they’re raising their family and making memories, so they understandably want to keep it. The good news is that most debtors can keep their homes during bankruptcy.

This is because South Carolina has a homestead exemption that protects a specific amount of equity in the house. The exact amount varies depending on the year, but it’s about $60,000 for a single filer. If you and your spouse declare bankruptcy together, you can double this exemption, allowing you to keep your house even if you have a lot of equity.

If you don’t own a house, you can use the homestead exemption to protect any equity you have in a burial plot, up to about $59,000. If you have questions about South Carolina’s homestead exemption, your bankruptcy attorney can tell you the exact amount of equity you can protect with it.

Which Personal Property Can You Keep?

The exemptions in South Carolina also apply to most personal property, though there are limits on the equity in each item. For example, you can typically keep your car as long as the equity you have in it is less than about $6,100.

You can also keep up to about $5,000 in household goods, clothes, appliances, furniture, books, animals, crops, and musical instruments. You can keep the full value of health aids and up to about $1,225 in jewelry. Additionally, you can keep $3,000 of any pistols, rifles, or shotguns you own, though you’re limited to three of these items.

South Carolina also has a wildcard exemption that you can apply to any assets you want to keep. This exemption lets you keep up to about $6,300 in assets of your choice. If you have an item that doesn’t fall into the categories mentioned here, ask your bankruptcy lawyer if you can keep it.

What Monetary Benefits Can You Keep?

South Carolina’s exemptions can protect certain financial benefits, too. For example, you can typically keep the full value of:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Disability benefits
  • Pension for public employees
  • College tuition investment fund
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional IRA
  • ERISA-qualified benefits
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Public assistance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Life insurance proceeds and dividends
  • Personal injury settlement money
  • Social Security benefits
  • Most retirement accounts

In addition, you can use the wildcard exemption to keep up to $6,100 of financial assets that don’t fit into any exemption categories, such as money in a savings account. These exemptions allow you to move on with life after bankruptcy while being able to retire, pay your monthly bills, and get any benefits you’re entitled to. While you might miss out on some luxuries, such as multiple vehicles or vacation homes, you can still enjoy life as you get out of debt and work on rebuilding your credit.

If you have assets you’d like to keep that aren’t mentioned here, or if you want to find out the exact amount of exemptions you’re eligible for, contact The Howze Law Firm LLC today at 803-266-1812. Our skilled bankruptcy attorneys can tell you which assets you should expect to sell and which you may be able to keep, whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Call today for legal advice from an experienced, caring legal team.


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