The Bankruptcy Law allows a person to retain a portion of their property and an exemption protects the value of such personal property depending on the bankruptcy petition you file. Bankruptcy Chapter 7 or Liquidation bankruptcy has a list of exemptions that enables you to know what properties you can keep. Such is different from Reorganization Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 which may lower your monthly payments in your payment plan. Usually, bankruptcy protection allows you to safeguard the equity of your car, bank account, household items, and your home.
What is the effect of a Bankruptcy Exemption?
The United States Bankruptcy Code states that exempt properties are not subject to liquidation by the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee cannot liquidate your properties to pay all the creditors. However, take note that exemptions do not fully protect your properties if they exceed the amount set by law. For example, if your car is expensive and exceeds the amount stated in Washington which is $3,250, only that amount is exempted, the remaining value of the car will not be eliminated and needs to be repaid.
Washington Exemptions vs Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions
Washington is a state that allows a debtor to choose between federal exemptions or state exemptions. The state and federal exemptions exempt different properties and debtors cannot avail both. They can only avail one type.
Debts in Washington That Cannot Be Exempted:
The following types of debt are nonexempt and are not subject to discharge or exemption:
- Tax debt such as:
- Tax returns
- Tax evasion
- Fraudulent debts
- Fines and penalties
- Housing fee debts
- Unscheduled debts
- Spousal or domestic support
- Student loans unless you experienced undue hardship
- Personal liability debts
- Cash advances or luxury purchases within 90 days prior to a bankruptcy filing
Exempted Properties in Washington:
The following can be exempt from bankruptcy:
- Child support
- Clothing not exceeding $3,500 per individual including personal ornaments, jewelry, and fur.
- Family keepsakes such as electronic media or books
- Gadgets such as phones, computers, and printers.
- Health aids prescribed by professionals
- Household furniture, provisions, and goods with no single thing exceeding $750 and the total must not be more than $6,500 per person or more than $13,000 if you are married.
- Tuition units
Other kinds of exemptions include:
- Homestead exemption
- Motor vehicle exemption
- Wildcard exemption
- Tools of the trade
- Pension and retirement benefits
What can Bankruptcy Exemptions do in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 appoints trustees so that most of your properties can be liquidated to pay off your lender and obtain debt relief. However, bankruptcies do not take every property you own that will enable you to have a fresh start and even allowing you to buy a car or home after bankruptcy. If you qualify after taking the means test, credit counseling, and the required paperwork, you can list the properties for exemption unless such property is a secured debt or outside the scope of exemptions.
What can Bankruptcy Exemptions do in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 enables you to have a debt-repayment plan where the trustee will not take control of your properties and when your bankruptcy petition is granted, you are protected from harassment from debt collectors and collection agencies. However, you are still liable to repay your other debts like your credit card debt before you can be free of your financial problems.
How to File Bankruptcy Exemption in Oregon?
Are you considering bankruptcy because you are overwhelmed with debt? While the bankruptcy laws allow you to file for bankruptcy without a bankruptcy attorney, having a bankruptcy lawyer to guide you through the complicated maze of bankruptcy is highly beneficial and recommended because a small mistake in your petition can result in the bankruptcy proceeding being dismissed. Here at Robert-Russell Law, our experienced Vancouver bankruptcy attorneys will help you in every stage in the bankruptcy cases including after bankruptcy such as how to enable you to rebuild credit and other bankruptcy services you might need so you can be out of debt. Call our Vancouver Washington law firm now for a free legal consultation.