New bankruptcy law (AB 929) will likely allow you to keep more property in bankruptcy in California if it passes!
July 13, 2011 Leave a comment
AB 929 is a bill has passed the assembly and is now in the California senate and will be taken up by the Senate Appropriations committee soon. This bill is good news for all who file bankruptcy in the state of California because it increases the allowable exemptions in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy exemptions are the mechanisms that allow debtors to keep property in bankruptcy and they prevent the bankruptcy trustees from seizing those assets to pay debts.
Of course the bankruptcy trustees are against this bill because it would mean that they get paid less because they are paid when they seize and sell property in bankruptcy for the benefit of creditors. The law establishes higher levels of exemptions for property like vehicles, jewelry, works of art, and tools of the trade (business equipment).
These changes in the law will allow many more people to file for bankruptcy if they have a lot of personal property. Many of my clients before would lose property in a bankruptcy if they filed so they chose to not file. As a result of this law the number of bankruptcies is bound to go up in California.
Most important of the exemption increases is the homestead exemption. That is the one that allows you to keep your house and the equity in it. The individual homestead exemption is set to go up from $75,000 to $150,000. The family exemption from $100,000 to $250,000, and the elderly/disabled/low-income will go up from $175,000 to $350,000. These increases are huge and mean a lot. Many of my clients who could not file before will now qualify for a Chapter 7 full discharge bankruptcy. This is great news if you have equity in a home and many people still do in California.
These bankruptcy filers can now keep their home in a bankruptcy even if they have a great deal of equity. in their home. With the new loan restrictions instituted by the banks the equity is only on paper anyway. They cannot access it like they could 3 or 4 years ago because they would never get approved for an equity loan without perfect credit and perfect income. The reality is that if people have these things then they do not usually need bankruptcy.
Most people who do consider bankruptcy have a large amount of unsecured credit card deb which they are usually behind paying on so their credit score is down. If they have lost a job or have had an illness or an auto repossessed then they are in even greater need of a bankruptcy but are extremely unlikely to secure an equity loan.
So I would argue that this is good law that allows people top keep not only more of their personal belongings but also allows them to keep their house and still discharge their debts. Fewer people will therefore forced out of bankruptcy and into limbo where they can neither file nor pay their debts. It is a good day for bankruptcy filers.
I am a practicing bankruptcy attorney in San Diego. You can visit my website at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com. Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!
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