What Assets Can Be Exempted in Bankruptcy

: Under 11 U.S.C. §522, Debtors may exempt property from the bankruptcy estate. This means that a debtor may protect certain assets from creditors in a bankruptcy filing.

Exemptions can also include ongoing paid benefits to the debtor.

Each exemption is provided with the protection of a specified dollar amount. This specified amount may be doubled in situations where a married couple is filing jointly for bankruptcy.

If no dollar amount is specified in the subsection regarding the exemption, the entire asset is exempt.

The following is a list of assets that may be exempt and the Federal Exemption amounts as of 9/13/2013. The exemptions can be located at the Government Printing office at the following link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title11/pdf/USCODE-2011-title11-chap5-subchapII-sec522.pdf

Item

Value Exempted

Single Debtor

Joint Debtor

A home that debtor or a dependant of the debtor uses as a primary residence

$22,975

$45,950

One motor vehicle

$3,675

$7,350

One particular item in household furnishings, household goods, clothing, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments

$575

(or $12,250 in aggregate value)

$1,150 (or $24,500 in aggregate value)

Jewelry

$1,550

$3,100

Wildcard (any property)

$1,225 plus up to $11,500 of unused home exemption.

$2,450 plus up to $23,000 of unused home exemption

Any professional books or tools of the trade

$2,300

$4,600

Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor

Full Amount

Full Amount

Any unmatured life insurance contract loans

$12,250

$24,500

Professionally prescribed health aids

Full amount

Full Amount

Recovery for personal bodily injury (not pain and suffering)

$22,975

$45,950

Social security benefits, unemployment compensation, or local public assistance benefit

Full Amount

Full Amount

Veterans’ benefit

Full Amount

Full Amount

Disability, illness, or unemployment benefit

Full Amount

Full Amount

Alimony or child support to the extent reasonably necessary for support of the debtor

Full Amount

Full Amount