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Exempt Property in Bankruptcy


Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will be able to claim certain of your property as exempt which means neither your creditors or the bankruptcy trustee will have any claim against it. The choice of choosing Federal versus State exemptions is based on many factors, but typically if you do not own a home or own a home with less than more than Eleven Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty Dollars ($11,850.00) in equity, you will probably do better with the Federal exemptions. After we meet and I gather information regarding your assets, a determination will be made as to which exemptions to claim. Under both the Federal and State exemptions, you will be allowed to exempt any money in a qualified retirement account such as a 401k or 403b account as well as social security, unemployment, veteran’s benefits, disability benefits, maintenance or child support. Under the Federal exemptions, each debtor is allowed to claim the following:

  • Homestead - $ 23675.00
  • Motor Vehicle - $ 3775.00
  • Household Goods and Clothing - $ 12625.00
  • Jewelry - $ 1600.00
  • Tools Used in Business - 2375.00
  • Life Insurance-Cash Value - $ 12625
  • Personal Injury - $ 23675.00
  • Wildcard - $ 13100.00
    (if less than ½ homestead exemption is claimed)

The New York State bankruptcy exemptions allow each debtor to claim the following:

  • Homestead - $ 82775.00
  • Household Goods and Clothing - $ 11025.00
  • Books - $ 550.00
  • Wedding Ring - unlimited
  • Watch, Jewelry, Art - $ 1100.00
  • Tools of the Trade - $ 3300.00
  • Motor Vehicle - $ 4425.00
  • Personal Injury - $ 8275.00
  • Cash - $ 5525.00
    (only where no homestead claimed, in most cases where there is no homestead, it would be better to use Federal)
  • Wildcard - $ 1100.00
    (only if no homestead claimed)

Because these exemptions are available to each debtor, a husband and wife who jointly own a home can exempt home equity of $47,350.00 under the Federal exemptions and $165,550.00 under New York exemptions. All the other categories can also be doubled in a joint filing.

Contact Robert A. Schwartz Today

Are you wondering what property you can keep during bankruptcy? Contact Rochester bankruptcy exemptions lawyer Robert A. Schwartz today at (585) 351-2929, or contact him online. The law office of New York lawyer Robert A. Schwartz is located in Rochester, New York. Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.