Tennessee Bankruptcy Exemptions

How Experienced Tennessee Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Leverage Federal Law and State Exemptions to Protect your Property and Assets

One of the biggest fears that our clients have when exploring bankruptcy with The Nevin Law Firm is losing their property and assets in the process. While there is inherently some risk that these things can become the subject of bankruptcy proceedings, there are certain protections in place under Tennessee law that, in many cases, can safeguard valued items. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can leverage these exemptions to your benefit, and reduce the risk that you will have to part with your home, car, future income, retirement, or other assets following bankruptcy.

Tennessee law provides those filing for bankruptcy with certain exemptions—in other words, property and assets that cannot be used to satisfy your debts. Any property that is not included in the Tennessee exemptions—property considered non-exempt—may be at risk during the bankruptcy proceeding. Fortunately for individuals navigating the bankruptcy process with a skilled attorney, the Tennessee exemptions can be leveraged so as to secure valuable property during and after bankruptcy.

In our experience, clients of The Nevin Law Firm are most often concerned with certain key property:

  • Family home—The thought of losing a house can be paralyzing, especially if you have a family whose wellbeing is tied to the home. Given the importance of your home, the Tennessee bankruptcy exemptions set forth a certain value in the home’s equity, up to which the property cannot be subject to seizure during the bankruptcy proceedings. The specific amount can vary depending on the ownership arrangement you may have with your spouse or others.
  • Vehicles—Automobiles have become essential to our daily life, and many people rely on them for work purposes, family reasons, and as the sole means through which to travel. While Tennessee bankruptcy laws do not contain an exemption specific to automobiles, there is a catchall category for any personal property. And, through this exemption, individuals going through bankruptcy can seek to exempt a certain amount of the value of their car, truck, or other vehicle.
  • Wages—The thought of obtaining a fresh financial start through bankruptcy may not seem promising if you fear that future income could be impacted. There is a wage exemption available under Tennessee bankruptcy law that limits the extent to which creditors in the bankruptcy process are able to access your future earnings to satisfy your present debt. There are several wage exemption options that an attorney knowledgeable in bankruptcy laws can put to work for your benefit, depending on income level and number of children.
  • Pensions—Protecting retirement savings is a key concern of those going through bankruptcy, as these are often what individuals and families rely on to support themselves through older age. To safeguard against stripping individuals of these hard-earned savings, federal and state law generally provide comprehensive coverage for a variety of individual retirement accounts, employer-sponsored retirement plans, public and government employee plans, and other tax-exempt retirement accounts. With the expertise of a Tennessee attorney skilled in bankruptcy practice, individuals going through bankruptcy can rest easy that their savings are secure.

There are also more obscure, but nevertheless useful, exemptions under Tennessee bankruptcy law, which a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can leverage. For example, individuals receiving unemployment, Social Security payments, or workers compensation can benefit from certain exemptions, as can those receiving disability benefits.

While there are many options available under Tennessee law to safeguard your property, successful protection comes best from an experienced and reputable Tennessee bankruptcy attorney. Clients often come to The Nevin Law Firm after attempting to embark on the bankruptcy process alone, or once they come to the unfortunate realization that their attorney isn’t familiar with bankruptcy laws. We see first-hand what a negative impact these experiences can have on our clients—and these can be expensive mistakes. If you or someone you know are considering bankruptcy, get all the facts first from a dedicated bankruptcy attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy and Tennessee bankruptcy exemption laws.