Skip to main content

If I file a Chapter 7 with my wife and our home has no equity, can we use the wildcard exemptions to shield $11,000 in cash?

Social Circle, GA |

As I understand it, here in GA, there's $5000 homestead exemption which is doubled to $10000. Also, the $600 wildcard which can be doubled to $1200. I do know the meaning of "wildcard" but can it really be used to cover that much cash?

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Best answer

    Theoretically you can, but having that much cash may be too much of a prize for a chapter 7 trustee to let slide without problems. The best thing to do would be some pre-bankruptcy planning to eliminate some of that cash in a way that the trustee would not have an issue with, and leaving some of the exemption to cover some other things you may not be thinking about.

    The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation

  2. You need to speak with an attorney experienced in these sorts of filing. You can elect between either state or federal exemptions, which is something you would need to discuss with a lawyer. Cash can often be exempted in the "wildcard" exemption, but that depends on how you elect to proceed and how state law functions.

  3. Generally, cash is included as one of the things you can use the wild card exemption for. Talk to an attorney in your area for a thorough analysis of your circumstances.

  4. Yes you can exempt the money that way, but you are likely to have problems because that situation seems well too carefully crafted and you may be at risk for worse problems other than not being able to exempt your cash, like jail time for illegally structuring your case to hide assets.

    Get an attorney.

    The DiGiulio Law Firm, LLC. Phone: 888-540-4529 Website: Atlanta, Marietta, Lawrencevile, Duluth, Alpharetta, Buckhead The above answer is for general information purposes and is offered as a service to the public. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, reviews or other communications, including the above post, should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation or relied upon as a substitute for engaging legal counsel, nor does it constitute advertising or a solicitation. Viewing the general information here, including your receipt or transmission of information hereof does not alone create or constitute an attorney-client relationship or ensure confidentiality. Please contact 770-309-9551 for additional questions or to schedule for your free phone consultation. If this question or answer pertains to bankruptcy, please be advised that we are a federal debt relief agency. One of our areas of practice is to help people file for bankruptcy relief and protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

  5. Potentially the wild card could be used for cash, but that much cash would raise red flags. Money in a bank account would be better. Note that using the wild card this way may mean not exempting other assets that could have used the wildcard, so this is a strategic decision to make with your lawyer.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

  6. The answer is yes you understand correctly, if you are not using a homestead you have $5000.00 that doubles in a joint filing. However, you should definitely talk to a lawyer in your area about filing and getting the full use out of your exemptions. I don't know why people want to file pro se, if you have $11,000 cash please go spend $1500 of it on a bankruptcy attorney and get yourself legal counsel. A pro se filer in that situation with that much cash is going to get very close scrutiny by a trustee.

  7. Don't forget that you might need to use the wildcard for other areas- perhaps for a tax refund that is owed to you but not yet paid, or excess vehicle equity, etc.. so while you are correct about the total amount of wildcard available, you can't say for certain how much cash you can keep without knowing the value of all of your other assets as well.

    We are a debt relief agency proudly assisting consumers in filing bankruptcy. However, there is no attorney/client relationship with the reader of this message unless there is a fee agreement. Your situation is unique to you, and we would need to consult with you individually before we could offer you applicable and accurate legal advice. This website should only be used for educational purposes.

Bankruptcy and debt topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics