Chapter 7 is the classic "fresh start" version of bankruptcy. If certain conditions are met, someone can wipe out most types of debt in a few months and move on with their life. Though technically a "liquidation" (meaning the court has the authority to take or sell property) the vast majority of Chapter 7 filers do not lose any property to liquidation. A bankruptcy filing is not designed to rid you of all possessions. Under Georgia law, certain amounts of different types of property are "exempt", or protected, from the liquidation process. Deposit accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts, furniture, clothing, real estate...all of these types of property might be protected in a 7 depending on their value. Anyone considering a Chapter 7 should have a detailed and thorough consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in order to determine what, if any, property might have to be relinquished should that person move forward.
When filing a 7, in many cases it is possible to retain property that is being financed (vehicles, real estate, furniture, business equipment). But often I recommend that my clients surrender any property that is not absolutely necessary. Generally speaking if someone retains financed property in a 7, the terms of that loan remain the same: total balance owed, interest rate, etc; it's almost as if, for that particular debt, the bankruptcy didn't happen. In some cases it is possible to retain the property but alter the terms of the original contract to be repaid after the bankruptcy has concluded.
Of course considering any bankruptcy might seem like a monumental task, but that's what I'm here for: to advise you of your options (including multiple non-bankruptcy suggestions), to help you determine what your priorities with respect to keeping property or letting it go, and to represent your interests to the court and your creditors so you can move forward.
Call me today so we can take that first step towards being debt free!