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What property is considered exempt in an Ohio bankruptcy?

Although bankruptcy is a federal specialty court proceeding, each state sets what property an individual owns that is exempt from the bankruptcy estate. Ohio has a number of types of property that the bankruptcy trustee cannot reach in the bankruptcy in order to satisfy obligations owed to creditors.

In Ohio, up to $125,000 of the residential home's equity is exempt, as is automobile equity up to $3,675, up to $12,250 in apparel, household goods and furnishings, $1,550 in jewelry, $2,325 in tools and books needed for employment, $450 in bank accounts and cash and $1,225 in value of other property.

Additionally, certain percentages and categories of income are considered exempt under the law. These include unemployment compensation earnings, workers' compensation benefits, Ohio Work First, state and federal disability payments, Social Security retirement or disability benefits, SSI, veteran's benefits, black lung benefits, and portions of tax refunds attributable to the earned income or child tax credits. A portion of the debtor's wages are exempt as wll

When people seek debt relief through bankruptcy, they must prepare themselves for the fact that non-exempt property may be seized by the bankruptcy trustee to satisfy debts owed to creditors. For secured property, people will still be responsible to reconfirm the debt and continue making their payments if they wish to keep the property following the bankruptcy discharge, including such things as mortgages and automobile loans. While non-exempt property is subject to seizure as part of the bankruptcy estate, there are many categories of property that are exempt, allowing people who file for bankruptcy to receive relief while still keeping a portion of what they own.

Source: Community Legal Aid, "Exempt Property Under Ohio Law", October 18, 2014

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