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?

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Robert M. Gardner Jr.


    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
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    Answered . 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... more
  2. Ashley Anne Digiulio


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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: www.atl-law.com Atlanta, Marietta, Lawrencevile,... more
  3. Matthew Eric Purcell


    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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.

  4. Glen Edward Ashman


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . 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... more
  5. Peter B. Bricks

    Contributor Level 4

    Answered . 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... more
  6. Alan D. Walton


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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.

  7. Derek H. Goodman

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . 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.

Related Topics


Bankruptcy is a legal way for people or businesses who are no longer capable of paying back their bills to clear these debts and start over.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy where your debts are canceled, but some of your assets are sold to pay off part of your debt.

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