On April 1 there were a few of small changes in bankruptcy law most of which do not affect that many people. On April first every three years certain amounts in the Bankruptcy Code automatically increase based on the Consumer Price Index.
One change that helps some consumers is the increase in the unsecured maximum debt limit in Chapter 13 from $360,475 to $383,175. Particularly some self-employed individuals may now be eligible to file Chapter 13 as the unsecured debt limited pushed upward.
Chapter 11 debtors should be aware of a bad change because the burdens of small business status now come for debtors who owe less than $2,490,925 rather than $2,343,300. Watch out because small business status used to be optional prior to 2005 but now it is more of a curse than a blessing and it is mandatory rather than optional.
The one change that is likely to affect the most debtors is the increase in the amounts under the federal bankruptcy code exemptions. The homestead exemption went up by $1,350, the automobile exemption went up by $275, total household good amounts by $725, jewelry by $100, tools of trade by $125, life insurance policies by $325, and personal injury claims by $1,350. Remember that married couples filing jointly can double the amounts and that very few people filing in Texas ever have to give up anything to the Chapter 7 trustee.
Also those who have owned their home less than about 4 years (as long as you lived in Texas two years before filing) now enjoy a $155,675 cap on their homestead exemption as opposed to the old $146,450. Most people who are our clients at Bailey & Galyen do not have that much home equity though, so this is seldom a problem.
Bankruptcy is a complex combination of law and numbers, so email or call us at 1-800-215-9098 to make an appointment with our attorneys about your situation so we can help you!