Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions

Most people think that bankruptcy is for those who have nothing left to lose. As someone who is considering filing, though, maybe you realize that you actually still have a lot to lose: your home, your car, and other assets, both material and financial. Perhaps you can't meet your financial obligations, but you still don't want to lose everything. Some of your assets have sentimental value. Others you may need to continue living life after bankruptcy, especially those that will help you get out the hole you're in.

Ohio laws take this reality into account. The law allows for exemptions, which are items that can't be touched by bankruptcy and will not be considered for liquidation by the court in a Chapter 7 filing. The list is long and detailed. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you identify what assets will be exempt if you find yourself needing to file for bankruptcy.

Cincinnati Exemptions for Bankruptcy

Steiden Law Offices know bankruptcy laws in Ohio and in the federal courts. The experienced lawyers at Steiden Law Offices are there to help you get out of this difficult situation in the best possible shape, which means making sure you claim every exemption you can. The more you are able to come out of bankruptcy with, the faster you'll be able to get back on your feet. Let the bankruptcy attorneys at Steiden Law Offices help you find your exemptions. Call (855) 741-3328 or send an online message to set up a risk-free consultation.

Eric Steiden has been helping Ohio individuals and businesses make it through bankruptcy since 1994. The Steiden Law Offices keep two offices in Cincinnati and is able to serve clients throughout Ohio.

Ohio Law Provides Exemptions

At Steiden Law Offices, we understand how difficult this time can be. You want to get out of this time with as much of your life as possible. You're wondering if they're going to take your car, and how you're going to get to work or find a job without it. You're thinking about how you're going to afford moving expenses if they take your house. Perhaps you have a substantial IRA saved away, and concerned it will be raided to pay your creditors.

Ohio law allows for exemptions, which apply in federal bankruptcy court. Exemptions are certain items that will not be considered for liquidation, in case you are going through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or will not be calculated as your assets in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The law lists items, and you can exempt everything that falls under their description.

Many of the items list certain items up to a certain value. For instance, a motor vehicle valued up to $3,450 is exempt. If your vehicle is worth $3,450 or less, you get to keep it. If it's worth more, the bankruptcy trustee may sell it, return $3,450 to you and use the remainder to pay off your debts. That's not much for a car, but it's better than nothing. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you find your best options.

If you are married and filing for bankruptcy jointly, you and your spouse may each individually claim the maximum exemption off the list. For instance, tools and books associated with work are exempted for a value of up to $2,175. If you and your spouse own a total $4,350 worth of work-related tools, you and your spouse can each claim $2,175 worth and the entire inventory will be exempt.

List of Ohio Exemptions

The following items may be exempted in Ohio in a bankruptcy proceeding, according to Section 2329.66 of the Ohio Revised Code and other laws. If there is no monetary limit listed, there is no limit:

  • One parcel of real property used as a residence, for a value up to $21,625. This holds the equity in the home exempt.
  • One motor vehicle, for a value up to $3,450.
  • Cash, money due and payable, money that will become due within 90 days, tax refunds and money in bank accounts, for a value up to $425.
  • Wages, up to the greater of 30 times federal minimum wage per week or 75 percent of your disposable income.
  • Household furnishings, which includes clothes, appliances, books, animals, crops, musical instruments, firearms, and hunting and fishing equipment, for a total value of $11,525, with each item required to be valued less than $525. The items can only be for personal use.
  • Jewelry, for a value up to $1,450.
  • Tools, books and other assets used for work purposes, for a value up to $2,175.
  • Burial plot.
  • Health aids that are prescribed by a professional or are medically necessary.
  • Alimony and child support, to the extent it is necessary for support.
  • Business partnership property.
  • Financial assistance, including:
    • Worker's compensation.
    • Social Security payments (under federal law).
    • Disability payments.
    • Unemployment compensation.
    • Crime victim assistance within one year of filing bankruptcy.
    • Other forms of assistance may also be exempt.
  • IRAs and Roth IRAs, for a value up to $1,171,150 (under federal law).
  • Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans (under federal law).
  • Most public pension benefits.
  • Insurance proceeds, including:
    • Benevolent society benefit, valued up to $5,000.
    • Fraternal benefit society benefits.
    • Disability benefits, to the extent they are necessary for support.
    • Life insurance proceeds for spouse.
    • Life or endowment insurance or annuities in which the spouse, children or dependents is the beneficiary.
    • Any life insurance proceeds in which the policy specifically prohibits use to pay creditors.
  • Personal injury recovery, for a value up to $21,625.
  • Wrongful death recovery.
  • Up to $1,150 worth of any property not exempted under the law.

While that's a long list, it may not amount to much for you. Ohio's exemption laws have been criticized for being too limited in their valuations. The state does not allow you to choose federal exemptions, as many other states do. A knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer with experience in dealing with exemptions may be able to help you exempt as much as possible, including items you may not realize are exempt.

While you cannot choose the federal exemptions, you can exempt items during bankruptcy from a list under federal law called nonbankruptcy exemptions. These are available for protection from any creditor. They include many federal employee benefits and veterans' benefits, including:

  • Civil service employee retirement benefits.
  • Foreign service employee retirement benefits.
  • Survivor's benefits from military service.
  • Death and disability benefits for government employees, longshoremen and harbor workers.
  • Indian lands or homestead sales or lease proceeds.
  • Railroad workers' unemployment benefits.

Steiden Law Offices | Hamilton County Bankruptcy Attorneys

We cannot guarantee that you will be happy with what remains of your estate, and it's likely that you will experience some, and, often, much loss through the bankruptcy process. The Greater Cincinnati bankruptcy lawyers at Steiden Law Offices can guarantee you the full breadth of diligence, skill, and experience we have to put you on the best possible footing. Call (855) 741-3328 or send an online message to set up a risk-free consultation.

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