What Are Exemptions?

It is important for individuals as well as businesses to realize that bankruptcy does not mean that you have to liquidate all your assets. You can protect some of your personal property from creditors by using a system of exemptions on both the state and federal level.

Each state has their own unique qualifications for exemptions. Federal exemptions, of course, are applicable to all U.S. states and territories. While most states require that bankruptcy filers use state exemption, there are several that allow filers to choose between state and federal exemptions. New York is one of these states. In this case, filers must select either federal or state options and cannot combine them.

Not all exemptions will apply to the more stringent Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

New York State Bankruptcy Exemptions

This list includes many common New York state exemptions, but it is not comprehensive:

  • Homestead: $165,550 per debtor in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens.
  • Motor vehicle: $4,425 per auto per debtor ($11,025 if handicapped equipped)
  • Personal injury: $7,500
  • Annuity: All amounts are exempt if they are reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and his/her dependents except as limited by Section 283.
  • Cash: if the debtor does not use the homestead $5,000
  • Wedding ring: $1,100
  • Watch: $1,100
  • Tools of the trade: $3,300
  • Wild card: $1,100 of additional personal property or cash if the debtor does not use the homestead exemption.
  • Wages and income: 90 percent of earnings up to 60 days before filing. 100 percent for armed forces personnel.

These numbers are updated every three years. Your bankruptcy attorney will have the most up to date figures.

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Here is a list of many commonly used federal exemptions, but it is not comprehensive:

  • The Homestead Exemption: Individuals can currently protect $23,675 of equity in their principal residence, home, condo or living space. This does not apply to rental or investment property. For more information refer to our page that focuses more deeply on this important matter of keeping your home.
  • Motor vehicle: $3,775
  • Personal injury: $23,675, but pain and suffering is not included.
  • Wild card: $1,250 of any property as well as the unused homestead up to $11,850.
  • Home goods: Up to $12,625 with $600 on each individual item.
  • Tools of the trade: $2,375
  • Wedding ring: $1,600
  • Watch: $1,600
  • Pensions: Tax-exempt retirement accounts, profit-sharing plans and money purchase plans are exempt. IRAs and Roth IRAs up to $1,283.

Call Today To Discuss Whether State Or Federal Option Is Right For You

Set up an appointment for a no-obligation and free initial consultation by calling a Ronkonkoma, Hauppauge or Syosset bankruptcy lawyer at 631-346-6253. We also respond promptly to online inquiries.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.