Bankruptcy and Property in Indiana: What Can You Keep?

November 2, 2023

by Attorney S. Zachary T.  Brock

Bankruptcy is often seen as a step towards financial freedom and a fresh start for many in Indiana. It offers a structured path for individuals and families to navigate their financial challenges. At Brock Legal LLC, one frequent question we encounter from our Central Indiana clients is, “What will happen to my property if I file for bankruptcy?” Fortunately, Indiana has clear laws that shield specific assets during the bankruptcy journey. Let’s explore the provisions of the Indiana bankruptcy laws and understand which of your assets can be safeguarded.

Bankruptcy in Central Indiana: The Basics

Before we jump into property-specific details, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of bankruptcy. There are two main types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as “liquidation,” involves selling off your non-exempt assets to pay your debts. Chapter 13, on the other hand, is a “reorganization” of debt, where you’ll work out a payment plan to pay back a portion of your debts over time. The kind of bankruptcy you’ll file often determines how your property will be affected.

Understanding Indiana’s Bankruptcy Exemptions: Safeguarding Your Assets

Bankruptcy exemptions serve to shield certain assets from being seized during the bankruptcy process. This protection applies to both tangible and intangible assets.

For those undergoing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, exemptions allow you to safeguard specific assets up to a certain limit. Anything beyond this is susceptible to liquidation by the bankruptcy trustee to pay back creditors. However, it’s worth noting that many individuals filing under Chapter 7 manage to retain all their belongings.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy scenario, where debts are consolidated into a 3-5 year repayment plan, you retain your property. The exemptions play a crucial role here, too, as they reduce the amount you are required to repay.

Why the Increase in Exemptions?

The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions (IDFI) is responsible for adjusting exemption limits, a routine procedure done every six years to reflect inflation. This is calculated using the Consumer Price Index from the United States Department of Labor. Given the inflation spikes influenced by COVID-19 and other factors, the IDFI updated the bankruptcy exemptions accordingly, effective from March 1, 2022.

Which Assets are Protected?

Before diving into the updated exemption amounts, it’s crucial to understand the types of exemptions available. The two primary exemptions are the homestead exemption, safeguarding your home’s equity, and the wildcard exemption, which applies to both tangible and intangible personal property.

The homestead exemption is exclusive to your primary residence, whether it be a house or something similar like a trailer. It doesn’t extend to second homes or rental properties.

The personal property exemption covers tangible items such as vehicles, household items, clothing, and more. It also encompasses intangible assets such as money in bank accounts, inheritances, tax refunds, and other non-physical assets.

Navigating Bankruptcy with a Trusted Indiana Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy laws can be intricate, and each individual’s situation is unique. This makes it crucial to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. A knowledgeable Indiana bankruptcy attorney will guide you through the complexities of Indiana bankruptcy laws, ensuring that you maximize your exemptions and retain as much property as possible.

Having a seasoned lawyer by your side not only simplifies the process but also offers much-needed assurance. Your lawyer will evaluate your specific situation, explain the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and advise on the best course of action tailored to your needs.

If you or someone you know is contemplating bankruptcy in Central Indiana, reach out to us at Brock Legal LLC. Our commitment is not just to offer legal counsel but also to be a comforting, compassionate guide during this transitional phase of your life. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation. (317) 203-9098

Bankruptcy and Property FAQs

What Happens to My Property If I File for Bankruptcy in Indiana?

In Indiana, certain assets are protected during bankruptcy through exemptions, but the impact on your property depends on whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

What Are the Main Types of Personal Bankruptcy in Indiana?

The two primary types of personal bankruptcy in Indiana are Chapter 7, which involves liquidating non-exempt assets to pay debts, and Chapter 13, which reorganizes debt into a repayment plan.

How Do Bankruptcy Exemptions Work in Indiana?

Bankruptcy exemptions in Indiana protect specific assets up to a certain value from being seized in bankruptcy, with different exemptions applying to tangible and intangible assets.

Can I Keep My House if I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Indiana?

Yes, you can protect your home’s equity up to a certain limit through the homestead exemption, but the exemption does not apply to secondary residences or rental properties.

What Personal Property Is Exempt in Indiana Bankruptcy?

The personal property exemption in Indiana covers a variety of tangible items such as vehicles, household goods, clothing, and intangible assets like bank account funds and tax refunds.

How Often Are Bankruptcy Exemption Limits Updated in Indiana?

The Indiana Department of Financial Institutions updates bankruptcy exemption limits every six years to reflect inflation, with the most recent update effective from March 1, 2022.

How Does Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Affect My Property in Indiana?

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you consolidate your debts into a repayment plan and retain your property, with exemptions reducing the amount you need to repay to creditors.

Why Should I Consult a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Indiana?

Consulting with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Indiana is crucial as they can guide you through the complexities of bankruptcy laws, help maximize your exemptions, and advise on the best course of action for your specific situation.

What Can I Expect When Working with Brock Legal LLC for My Bankruptcy Case?

At Brock Legal LLC, you can expect compassionate and expert guidance through your bankruptcy journey, with a commitment to helping you retain as much property as possible and providing a free and confidential consultation.

Attorney S. Zachary T. Brock

Brock Legal | Central Indiana & Indianapolis Bankruptcy Lawyer

Attorney S. Zachary T. Brock

Zach empowers individuals faced with financial challenges by providing them with effective solutions and unwavering support in the areas of consumer finance and bankruptcy law.

By actively listening and empathizing with each client, Zach works to gain a deep understanding of every individual or family’s unique circumstances. This helps him tailor his legal strategy to best meet the needs of each client.

“No matter what may be weighing you down financially, Brock Legal is here to help. My mission is to help navigate you through whatever stressful circumstance you may be faced with, by offering unparalleled education and service in the areas of consumer finance and bankruptcy law. Let us show you how our firm can help. Contact Brock Legal today!”