In pre-bankruptcy planning, exemptions--certain statutory property allowances--are of significant consequence. A debtor whose property fits the exemptions well may be able to file chapter 7 without losing any property, while a debtor whose property doesn't fit the exemption pattern may have to turn over thousands of dollars worth of real or personal property. In the case of the North Carolina exemptions, the exemptions reflect a public policy choice by the General Assembly. In essence, the legislature has decided what a bare minimum amount of property each person should be able to have free of their creditors-at-large in order to maintain a basic lifestyle.
Tenancy by the entirety
A form of joint ownership of property by spouses. Neither spouse may sell the property or encumber it with liens, and the surviving spouse automatically gains the deceased spouse's share of the property. Creditors of only one spouse cannot satisfy their debts from property owned as tenants by the entireties.