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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

How Do Charitable Donations Affect a Bankruptcy Filing?

Question: We have always given to various charities. We support veterans, the homeless, women's shelters, animal groups and some medical charities like diabetes, cancer and mental illness groups. I was even named person of the year for a charity in Cumming, GA. I live in Alpharetta, GA and work in Buckhead and do a lot of charity work on the weekends.

My stores (including my clothing store and Mexican restaurant) have hit some hard times and we can only keep one store open. So we're closing the stores in Woodstock, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. But our Buckhead store is doing ok.

How is charitable giving handled in a bankruptcy? Can it help us?

Answer: We're glad you asked about charitable giving. Your community involvement is certainly laudatory. We here at the Sherman Law Group support charitable endeavors. One of the causes we support is literacy. Many Americans even today do not know how to read and write. An impressive new charity that aims to help remedy this national crisis is "Jeremiah's Fudge". Founded by a young boy and his father, it is a "start-up" organization that wants to have a meaningful impact on illiteracy.

As for bankruptcy implications, sometimes charitable giving can be a benefit on the means test. In our financial assessment, we determine how, if at all, charitable giving can benefit you. We look at the length of time you have been making donations and we help determine if, in fact, they were made to legitimate charities. Sometimes people do not realize that their donations are actually being made to non-tax-exempt organizations. It is important to note that there needs to be a well-documented history of giving to have the opportunity to deduct such sums on the means test.

We at the Sherman Law Group try to answer as many questions as possible. If you have a question, email it to us and we'll do our best to answer it. No names will be used.