The thought of losing everything you’ve worked so hard for can be frightening, but you may not be facing a total loss if you declare bankruptcy. State laws could step in and shield a good chunk of your prized possessions.

Ohio ranks just inside the top ten highest-volume bankruptcy courts in the nation, at more than twice the national average. But if you’re one of the thousands to consider filing, you don’t have to walk into the process thinking you’re going to lose everything. Ohio does offer some protections through the process. If you qualify, you may be able to take advantage of some of the state’s bankruptcy exemptions.

Shelter from the storm

There is a range of exemptions you can seek, with the allowances adding up to a good deal of protection:

  • Home: Your place of residence could qualify for a homestead exemption, but the protections don’t extend past a set amount of equity or to other properties you may own and rent out. Dependents and spouses could also factor into the equation.
  • Possessions: Vehicles, cash, clothes, jewelry and more could all fall under safeguards when you file for bankruptcy. Again, you’ll want to make sure you know the limits for each category and also what falls in where.
  • Funds: You may find a large portion of your wages are safe, along with retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs and certain public servant pensions. Benefits you receive from workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability may also continue to find their way into your pocket.

Bankruptcy can be a daunting process, but knowing where you stand can go a long way toward reassurance. Make sure you know where your property falls when it comes to exemptions and you may have property protections when it comes time to file.