Federal Exemptions

The following is a summary of the Federal exemptions that can be claimed (used) to exempt both real and personal property in your bankruptcy petition. Exempt property of a debtor is property of the debtor that is not available to be used (sold) to pay his/her unsecured creditors and is not subject to the claims of unsecured creditors, but may be subject to the rights of secured creditors and lien holders. When reviewing the list for exemptions for your own property you should be aware that there may not be a "matching" exemption. The Federal exemptions contain a "wildcard" which can be used if a matching exemption cannot be found in the list of exemptions. Also, an individual must own an interest in the property to claim the property as exempt.

The debtor may exempt the equity (value of property less the total amount owed against it) however; any equity value in the property above the exemption amount may be subject to the claims of unsecured creditors.

By way of example, if you own a home worth $250,000 and owe a total of $240,000 against it (combining all mortgage/home equity lines of credit and/or liens against the property) the amount of equity you would need to protect is $10,000. Since the homestead exemption in the Federal exemptions is $23,675.00 the equity of $10,000 is exempt and not subject to the claims of your unsecured creditors. In the alternative, say the home is worth $250,000 and you only owe $200,000 against it, the first $25,150.00 would be protected under the homestead exemption and the remaining $22,485 would be subject to the claims of the unsecured creditors.

The same type example would apply to a motor vehicle, though the exemption for a motor vehicle is less than the amount of the exemption for a home.

Please note, if you need to use the wildcard exemptions to protect any of your property and have equity in a home, the amount of wildcard exemption will be reduced by the amount of equity in the home and therefore you may not be able to use the wildcard if you have a lot of equity in your home. Federal wildcard exemption allows up to $1,350 plus $12,575.00 of unused Debtors Interest In Real/Pers. Property to exempt any property of your choosing.

Federal exemptions are subject to change every three (3) years, last change April 1, 2019.

Description LAW Max Individual Amount Max Joint Amount
Alimony, Support 11 USC § 522(d)(10)(D) UNLIMITED
Any property (up to $1,250 + $11,850 of unused homestead) 11 USC § 522(d)(5) See Description
Crime Victims Reparation Law Benefits 11 USC § 522(d)(11)(A) UNLIMITED
Debtors Interest In Real/Pers. Property 11 USC § 522(d)(1) $23,675.00 $47,350.00
Disability, Illness, Unempl. Benefits 11 USC § 522(d)(10)(C) UNLIMITED
Future Earnings Compensation Payments 11 USC § 522(d)(11)(E) UNLIMITED
Health Aids 11 USC § 522(d)(9) UNLIMITED
Household Furnishings 11 USC § 522(d)(3) $13,400.00 $26,800.00
Jewelry 11 USC § 522(d)(4) $1,700.00 $3,400.00
Life Insurance - Unmatured 11 USC § 522(d)(7) UNLIMITED
Life Insurance Payments 11 USC § 522(d)(11)(C) UNLIMITED
Life Insurance Proceeds - Unmatured 11 USC § 522(d)(8) $13,400.00 $26,800.00
Motor Vehicle 11 USC § 522(d)(2) $4,000.00 $8,000.00
Personal Injury Payments 11 USC § 522(d)(11)(D) $25,150.00 $50,300.00
Retirement Funds Exempt From Taxation 11 USC § 522(d)(12) UNLIMITED
IRAs and Roth IRAs 11 USC § 522(d)(12) $1,362,800.00 $2,725,600.00
Social Security Or Unemployment Benefits 11 USC § 522(d)(10)(A) UNLIMITED
Stock Bonus, Pension, Annuity Payment 11 USC § 522(d)(10)(E) UNLIMITED
Tenant By The Entirety 11 USC § 522(b)(3)(B) UNLIMITED
Tools Of Trade - Books, Equipment 11 USC §522(d)(6) $2,225.00 $4,450.00
Veteran's Benefits 11 USC § 522(d)(10)(B) UNLIMITED
Wrongful Death Payments 11 USC § 522(d)(11)(B) UNLIMITED