When you want to liquidate debts in a bankruptcy proceeding—permanently discharge them so that you no longer owe anything—you must do so through a Chapter 7 petition. When you file, you’ll immediately get the benefit of the automatic stay, which prevents your creditors from calling, writing or taking any other action outside of the bankruptcy proceeding to collect the debt. You’ll be able to permanently discharge many debts—student loans, certain tax debts and family law arrearages are generally not subject to discharge. In exchange, you will be required to sell non-exempt property, with the proceeds used to pay your creditors, in part or in full.
The New Jersey Bankruptcy Exemptions
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in New Jersey, you have a choice—you can take the exemptions available under New Jersey law or under federal law. You can’t, however, pick and choose between the two. Here’s an overview of the New Jersey exemptions:
- The Homestead Exemption — Most states allow you to exempt some equity in your home. New Jersey does not. If you want to claim a homestead exemption, you’ll have to use the federal exemption schedule.
- Cemeteries and burial plots — Burial plots and cemetery property are fully exempt
- Motor vehicles — You can claim up to $1,000 in equity (the difference between the fair market value and anything you owe on the vehicle) on a car, truck or motorcycle
- Pension and retirement accounts — All public pension funds are fully exempt
- Life insurance proceeds — These are exempt if there’s a clause in the insurance policy that prevents it from being used to pay the beneficiary’s creditors.
- Personal property — There’s a $1,000 exemption for household goods and furnishings and all clothing is fully exempted
Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP
We understand the stress, anxiety and confusion that can be associated with a potential bankruptcy filing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.
Representing Clients across South Jersey