Exemptions are critically important to consumer debtors because they represent the stuff that you’re allowed to keep after you file bankruptcy.
Exemptions are important because they represent lawmakers’ ideas of what people need to be able to have in order to avoid becoming completely destitute. In Maryland, you can keep $21,000.00 of your home. You can keep $1,000.00 of your stuff, your household goods. You can keep $5,000.00 however you want and you can keep about another $6,000.00 in personal property.
In my opinion a good, well-planned Chapter 7 case by a Maryland bankruptcy lawyer should not have any distributions to creditors. It should be a no asset case that a trustee will look at and decide, “I’m not going to pursue this any further” and close the case. That’s a well-planned case where the liens and the exemptions are greater than the value of your property. If that’s not your case, if the property is more than the liens and your exemptions, then you need to really consider a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 case.