Am I going to lose my stuff if I file for bankruptcy and what are these exemptions I keep hearing about?

Suggest bankruptcy to someone who is in over their head in debt and often, the first thing they think about is having to give up or lose their "stuff". This thought can be so crippling that it can prevent people from even asking the question, and continuing to live with the misery of trying to get ahead of debts that may never realistically be paid off. Did you know that Illinois' bankruptcy exemptions can help? 

You can't keep your boatloads of cash, your paid off yacht and the crown jewels. But if you had any of that stuff to begin with, bankruptcy wouldn't be an issue. True, some people have more than what they are "allowed" to keep in bankrtupcy, but that doesn't necessarily mean that bankruptcy is a bad idea. There is a list, organized by category, in the bankruptcy laws which sets a limit of the value of what you can keep in each category. These are called exemptions and each state has these laws that tells you what you get to keep (some states use federal exemptions).

Exemption categories include "homestead" (your home that you actually live in), motor vehicles, retirement benefits, "tools of the trade" (like stuff you need to do your job), etc.  It can get tricky if you don't know what you are doing which is why its important to hire a bankruptcy lawyer who not only knows what the exemptions are but also how to "claim" them for you since they are not automatically given. You have to ask for the exemption or else....  Your bankruptcy lawyer will also advise you about what you should do if you have more than the maximum allowed exemption. Your options will be different in a Chapter 7 than in a Chapter 13 where it might not matter as much.

Bankruptcy can be tricky but so worth it if you are drowning in debt. Your bankruptcy lawyer's job is to take that worry away from you with his or her knowledge of the bankruptcy laws. If you are wondering whether or or not you have "too much" to be able to file for bankruptcy in Illinois, let's find out. Contact O'Connor Cadiz Law at 630 250-8813