Weird State-Specific Bankruptcy Exemptions

Charlotte Bankruptcy attorney Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “What are the pros and cons of bankruptcy?”


Bankruptcy can certainly be a confusing thing for most people. The vast majority of those considering filing for bankruptcy protection have little if any experience with state or federal legal codes, let alone those dealing with bankruptcy rules and regulations. It might surprise many to realize that these laws can vary depending on your state, especially with regard to what kinds and how much property are allowed to be exempted from the bankruptcy process.


Sold Sign Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney North Carolina Mecklenburg Chapter 7 LawyerExemption rules involve those things that filers are allowed to keep after a bankruptcy has been discharged. This can include things like items of personal property, cars, homes, etc. Though there are federal rules regarding the exemptions allowed for those filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, states have their own rules that can sometimes differ from one another.


For example, those filing for bankruptcy in Florida are allowed to exempt the entre value of their homes, a popular exemption that can be a real benefit in some cases. However, those filing in neighboring Georgia are limited to a much smaller $21,500 homestead exemption. Here in North Carolina, the homestead exemption is $35,000 in most cases, but rises to $60,000 for those over 65.


Curiously, lawmakers in Maine decided to place in a state-specific exemption for coal fuel, saying that filers were allowed to keep up to five tons of coal as a personal exemption. In Maine, the legislature decreed that those filing for bankruptcy protection could shield $1,000 worth of furs, a specific category that is not contained in most other states’ exemptions.


Under Iowa laws, residents do not need to surrender any shotguns, rifles or muskets when filing for bankruptcy while Louisiana rules state that filers can keep one cow free and clear. In Michigan, bankrupt individuals are allowed to exempt a church pew, assuming the value is less than $650.


Even among the more common exemptions, such as automobiles, the amount at issue can vary greatly. In Kansas, filers can exempt an automobile worth up to $20,000, while Kentucky allows only a $2,500 automotive exemption. Here in North Carolina, lawmakers chose to set the auto exemption at $3,500.


If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find more resources here. As professionals who are experienced in the bankruptcy arena, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.


About The Author: 

Bryan 1  Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord tenant issues.  Originally from Macon Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia for a BBA in Banking and Finance and went on to Wake Forest to earn his law degree.  After law school Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte where he has become quite involved in many local organizations.  He is currently the Chair of “Bravo!” the young professionals organization of Opera Carolina, he also founded the UGA Alumni Association of Charlotte.  In his spare time he enjoys perfecting his BBQ skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championships” and playing softball with the Mecklenburg County Bar Softball League.


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