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Reviewing household item exemptions

Many in Cuyahoga Falls may hold misconceptions about personal bankruptcy, the chief among these being that it is somehow perceived to be a way for one to take "the easy way out" from their financial struggles. The fact that (according to information compiled by the U.S. Judiciary Branch) there were 12.8 million consumer bankruptcy petitions filed in the U.S. between 2005 and 2017 might seem to reinforce this assumption. Yet in reality, there is nothing easy about the decision to seek bankruptcy protection. Those faced with it also have to worry about that impact that it may have on their property and assets. 

The protection afforded by a personal bankruptcy can provide one with the opportunity to re-establish themselves on firm financial footing by avoiding debt collection efforts by creditors. That benefit, however, might mean little if one were forced to forfeit all of their personal property in exchange. Exemptions allow bankruptcy filers to protect their interest in certain assets. Most focus on the exemptions afforded to help keep one's house and car, yet people need much more than that to survive. 

Thus, the law also allows one to exempt up to a certain amount in everyday household goods when filing for bankruptcy. Per Section 2329.66(4)(a) of Ohio's Common Pleas Code, "household items" are defined as: 

  • Furnishings
  • Clothing
  • Appliances
  • Books
  • Pets
  • Musical instruments

Crops and firearms (along with hunting and fishing equipment) also fall into this category. 

State law says that one can exempt up to $10,775 in aggregate value of any of these items from a bankruptcy case. One also has the option of exempting as much as $525 in their interest in a single household item. 

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