Wisconsin consumers who are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may have many unanswered questions. While every person’s circumstances and financial concerns are unique, Chapter 13 can help an individual who has a regular income regain financial stability without losing valuable assets in liquidation procedures. Bankruptcy filers may need to explore the state laws related to property exemption and how to use those laws to his or her advantage.

Federal and state laws define property exemptions, and in particular circumstances in some states, a filer can choose which exemptions will best serve his or her goals. Property that is commonly included in state laws as exemptions include the homestead or family home and automobiles. Personal items such as jewelry and clothes are also typically defined as exempt along with furniture and other household items.

Knowing which properties will be regarded as exempt is important because the bankruptcy court’s calculation of the amount of money to include in the repayment plan is typically based on the value of the non-exempt property. The minimum amount that a filer must offer in his or her repayment plan to creditors is typically equal to the value of nonexempt property. For this reason, claiming all possible exemptions may limit the amount to be repaid to creditors.

In order to make the most of the protection offered by Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it may be helpful to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A lawyer will be familiar with the property exemption laws of Wisconsin as well as when and how exemption claims must be filed. Claiming all the allowed exemptions may lead to a court-approved Chapter 13 repayment plan that is affordable for the consumer.

Source: FindLaw, “Exempt Property in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy“, Accessed on Jan. 23, 2016