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Will Chapter 7 liquidate my home or retirement savings?

When you begin to consider filing for bankruptcy, it is understandable that you may have many concerns about what you'll have to give up in exchange for a fresh start, especially when it comes to your home or retirement assets. While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy does require you to liquidate assets in order to discharge some or all of your debt, it does not require you to liquidate every kind of asset.

If you worry that you're stuck in an intractable situation where you can only gain debt relief by giving up everything and losing your future, there may be good news. The laws that govern bankruptcy offer exemptions for a person's home and retirement assets in many instances.

It is not possible to say with certainty which of your assets can enjoy exemptions without examining your specific case. However, federal bankruptcy laws do offer homestead exemptions that can help protect against foreclosure in some cases. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your circumstances to find the best strategy for protecting your home.

Similarly, pensions and retirement plans often enjoy broad protection. If you worry that you'll have to forfeit everything you've saved away for the future, there may be ways to protect against this.

Of course, to get the most out of any bankruptcy procedure, you must understand and abide by many strict rules and deadlines. It is usually easier and more effective to work with an attorney to walk through a bankruptcy procedure. Professional guidance can help ensure that you do not miss out on important exemptions while keeping your privileges protected.

Source: findlaw, "Bankruptcy Exemptions: Chapter 7," accessed July 14, 2017

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