Can I Keep My Home In Bankruptcy?

house in woodsWritten by Myrtle Beach Bankruptcy Lawyer, Allen Jeffcoat

In my Myrtle Beach bankruptcy practice I often talk to clients who are considering bankruptcy, but who are concerned about losing their home if they file bankruptcy. Many times they are worried that with all the money going out the door for living expenses, well as for non-mortgage debts like credit cards, with their limited cash reserves they may be unable to keep their homes.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, if your income is enough to cover basic living expenses plus the required mortgage payments, but your income isn’t enough to also pay credit cards, unsecured loans and the like, the result of the bankruptcy filing is to wipe out the non-mortgage debts completely, thus freeing up household income to devote entirely to keeping the mortgage current and paying living expenses. This is harder to do if you have let the mortgage payments get behind, because in a chapter 7 bankruptcy the mortgage lender can ask the bankruptcy court for permission to foreclose if the monthly payments are in arrears. But there is as solution to this problem as well – Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can catch up arrearages on your home mortgage over as long as 60 months, so long as you can also keep paying your regular mortgage payments. This is often the difference between keeping you home and losing it.

But don’t delay in seeking competent help. Sometimes bankruptcy planning, done carefully and promptly, can make all the difference for you and your family.

If you have financial problems, don’t wait to see a bankruptcy lawyer.  Get help immediately to learn about all your options.


Otis Allen Jeffcoat, III is a bankruptcy lawyer practicing in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach/Little River, and Pawleys Island/Litchfield. He has been practicing law in South Carolina since 1973 and along the Grand Strand since 1977. Most of Allen’s bankruptcy and workout work is for individual and small business debtors, although occasionally he helps small landowners deal with defaults by their bankrupt commercial tenants. “I get to meet and help clients at a time of high stress and some despair for many of them, when they are under a level of financial pressure that they haven’t felt in their lifetimes,” says Allen. “When they tell me that they feel better about their future, that they have some hope, that they understand how they can move forward in a responsible way--that’s the best ‘thank you’ that a lawyer can have, and it makes my day.” “I wish sometimes that my clients and I had talked sooner, when they had more options,” Allen continues, “But in almost all cases I feel that I have helped them through some difficult restructuring in their finances, with positive results for their emotional and physical health.” In addition to his bankruptcy practice, Allen handles a variety of matters for clients, including residential real estate, commercial real estate, environmental law, corporate work, foreclosures, receiverships and loan workouts of all sizes. He is experienced in resort development, from timesharing to large planned unit developments and condominiums, and the homeowner association litigation that such developments spawn from time to time. He also helps clients with their needs in estate planning, probate administration, litigation, and elder law. Allen grew up in Columbia and attended public schools there before heading north to Princeton University for college. He graduated from Princeton magna cum laude with a degree in Politics. He returned to Columbia for law school at the University of South Carolina, where he served on the Law Review. He was in private practice in Columbia for a few years, then got married and moved to Myrtle Beach in 1977, where he has remained ever since. Giving back to his community and state is important to Allen. He is a founder of the Grand Strand Family YMCA, was its first President, and now serves as a Director of the YMCA of Coastal Carolina. He is a Director of the Waccamaw Community Foundation, and is a past Trustee of United Way of Horry County, Inc. He has served as a Trustee of The South Carolina Nature Conservancy and as its Chairman. He is a member of the City of Myrtle Beach Election Commission; a graduate of Leadership Grand Strand, and past President of the Rotary Club of North Myrtle Beach. He is active in the Princeton University Schools Committee and in fund-raising for Princeton University. Allen is married and has the smartest, most beautiful granddaughter in the country. He also has two daughters and one son-in-law. He lives with his firm administrator, who also happens to be his wife, Mary.
photo by: Unitopia


  1. Michael says:

    The funny thing about filing Chapter 7 and keeping your home is that it really depends upon the state you file. My firm practices in both Massachusetts and Maryland, and in MA, you can have up to $500,000 in equity and still keep your home in Chapter 7, but if you have that same equity in Maryland, and filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, theire are simply not enough exemptions and you would loose the home to the Trustee.

  2. Thanks, Michael. Good points.

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