Monday, August 26, 2013

What are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Bankruptcy Exemptions

What are bankruptcy exemptions? Exemptions specify property a debtor can keep in a Chapter 7 case outside reach of creditors and bankruptcy trustee, or how much a debtor must pay creditors in Chapter 13.

In Washington, debtors may either use the state's exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions in the Bankruptcy Code. However, debtors cannot pick favorites from each list and combine or mix exemptions. If debtors opt to use the state's exemptions, they can use applicable federal non-bankruptcy exemptions, though.

Washington's state exemptions encompass homesteads, personal property, insurance, pensions, public benefits, tools of trade and wages, as well as miscellaneous categories. There are residency rules for state exemptions. They mandate you reside in the state for a required term. You usually have to live continuously in the state for two years before filing bankruptcy. There are also limits on homestead exemptions for property acquired less than four four years prior to bankruptcy.


This article provides a brief, general introduction to filing for bankruptcy. You should contact a our office for legal advice regarding your case.

Mark A. Carter Law Office
2414 Main St. P.O. Box 61505
Vancouver, WA 98666
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Fax: 360.695.5032
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