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Bankruptcy exemption lessons from an immigrant's experience

Bankruptcy can be an eye-opening experience for an Appleton and Outagamie, Wisconsin, resident. It can be more of a shock to someone unfamiliar with the law. After all, bankruptcy laws in the United States are different than in many other countries. This was the experience of an immigrant from Taiwan who lost the family home unnecessarily, unaware that there is a homestead exemption when filing for bankruptcy in most of the states in the U.S.

Nine years ago, the man declared personal bankruptcy after his business failed. This left him and his family with over $173,000 in debt and a lost home. Had he understood all of the options available to him, he would not have lost his home. Thus, it is essential that a person in debt keep a level head and become educated about specific bankruptcy exemptions.

For one, large portions of wages or salaries can be exempt from bankruptcies. Personal property such as jewelry can also be exempt. This was especially relevant to the man as he owns a necklace that is a family heirloom. The gold necklace, valued today at $10,000, has more sentimental than monetary value. Payments from personal injury lawsuits and workers' compensation are also not included. Similarly, retirement and pension plans are also exempt.

The man's experiences should serve as a valuable lesson for Appleton and Outagamie residents. Going through financial challenges can be exhausting and sometimes this leads to misguided decisions which can lead to even more problems.

For this reason, it can be extremely beneficial to seek the advice of a bankruptcy legal professional. The attorney may be able to help with possible exemptions and a property assessment, as well as in checking if an individual passes the qualifications to file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While it may seem a step backward to the uninformed person, filing for bankruptcy is frequently a step closer to a debt-free life.

Source: Forbes, "How to bounce back from bankruptcy & the loss of your home" Cameron Keng, Aug. 5, 2013