Bankruptcy – Facts About Asset Protection for Australians
Bankruptcy laws differ from region to region, and too often the information found on the subject online regards U.S. law for U.S. residents. But bankruptcy law in Australia is quite different from that in America. One of the common concerns for most people regarding bankruptcy involves asset protection, or one’s belongings, both material and financial. That’s why, for your convenience, we’ve listed below some of the most pertinent and helpful bankruptcy facts about asset protection for people in debt, residing in Australia.
Oftentimes bankruptcy does not absolve you of your debt completely but rather significantly lowers it and makes repayment easier on you. One of the measures bankruptcy courts often take, with this in mind, is the seizure and resale of certain assets. Thankfully, when you go through bankruptcy in Australia, certain assets are protected from seizure to pay your debts.
Among these protected assets are certain financial instruments, namely the following: life insurance and endowment insurance; a Retirement Savings Account; and funds held in an approved deposit fund, a regulated superannuation fund, or an exempt public sector superannuation scheme, provided that the combined value of all these assets remains below a certain legal limit called your “Pension Reasonable Benefits Limit”. You are also permitted to keep any personal injury compensation you may have earned.
In addition to these financial assets, certain physical belongings are also protected from seizure after filing bankruptcy in Australia, including most of your household items, including furniture and personal effects needed by you and your children for daily living (excluding, of course, any luxury items); one automobile (up to a maximum dollar value gauged by the Consumer Price Index and currently at about AUD $6,000; as well as any tools of your particular trade (up to a limit presently just above AUD $3,000).
Married people filing for bankruptcy in Australia often wonder which (if any) of their spouse’s assets are protected and which (if any) are at risk of being taken away. If you go bankrupt in Australia, all of your spouse’s assets are protected from seizure so long as he or she is neither your business partner nor a guarantor of your debts nor have you had his or her assets encumbered in order to secure your debts. Only the assets your spouse has acquired him or herself are protected, however. Any assets that you transferred into his or her name in order to avoid losing them to your creditors in a bankruptcy filing, for example, are not protected.
Lastly, any assets that you may be holding in trust for someone else are also protected should you go through bankruptcy in Australia. To obtain more information you shoiuld contact a bankruptcy specialist such as www.bankruptcyoptions.com.au
Bankruptcy can be a great blessing to someone seriously in debt, but going through it can be a great ordeal as well. It is a comforting relief, at least, to know that many of your most prized possessions, including those everyday items you and your family need the most, will still be yours after the bankruptcy process is complete.