Bankruptcy Exemptions

Queens Bankruptcy Exemptions Attorney

Understanding How Bankruptcy Exemptions Can Benefit You

Despite filing for bankruptcy, you may be able to keep your property, house, cash, vehicles, and other assets including your retirement plans. Many people falsely equate bankruptcy with losing all of their property. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires you to liquidate nonexempt property, the goal of the procedure is not to leave you without anything. Bankruptcy exemptions allow you to protect assets that will help you lead a reasonable life once the procedure is complete.

New York is one of several states that allows you to choose between distinct state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. You must commit to using one – you can’t pick and choose – so it is important to understand which exemption list will allow you protect more of your property from liquidation.

We at the Law Office of Seni Popat are committed to helping our clients navigate difficult financial situations. If bankruptcy is right for you, we draw on our principal attorney’s substantial experience and knowledge of local laws to make the proceeding as painless for you as possible. Ultimately, we recommend contacting us to walk through your financial situation, but we will review some of New York’s most common bankruptcy exemptions below so you can get an idea of what to expect moving forward.

Procedures for Bankruptcy Exemptions

If you choose to pursue the state of New York’s bankruptcy exemptions, there are a few broad points to remember. For example, exemption limits are updated every 3 years in accordance with the consumer price index.

If you are married, you may be able to “double” your financial exemption limit in some scenarios. If both you and your spouse have an ownership stake in a piece of property, for example, you can each claim the full amount of the exemption, effectively doubling it.

You will also need to log and verify that you are eligible for all exemptions you are claiming. This requires understanding the often-complex qualification processes and properly citing the relevant statutes. It is easy to make mistakes that result in exemptions not being accepted, so it is best to hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to help prepare your claims.

New York Homestead Exemption

You can claim an exemption of up to $82,775 for equity in a residential property. This can also include a condo, mobile home, or co-op. The exemption limit increases if you live in the following counties:

  • $142,350 – Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Saratoga, and Ulster
  • $170,825 – Bronx, Kings, Nassau, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk

New York Motor Vehicle Exemption

You are able to exempt up to $4,500 in a motor vehicle. If you have a disability, the maximum increases to $11,375.

New York Wildcard Exemptions

Two “wildcard” exemptions in the New York statutes are interrelated to both each other and the aforementioned homestead exemption. If you do not claim the homestead exemption, you can instead claim as much as $1,150 in personal property (excluding real estate), bank account funds, or cash under NYCPLR 5205.

A separate cash exemption can be made under Debtor & Creditor 283. If you decline the homestead exemption, you can exempt up to $5,700 in cash or up to $11,375 minus any exemptions claimed under NYCRPLR 5205, whichever amount is less.

New York Wage Exemptions

Most individuals can claim 90% of unpaid wages earned within 60 days of filing for bankruptcy. Additional exemptions exist for milk dealers and many in the United States or New York armed forces.

New York Personal Property Exemptions

Personal property can encapsulate a great number of the assets contained in your home. This particular set of exemptions can be confusing, as there are a number of subcategories with their own specific exemptions. What is important to understand is that you cannot claim more than $11,375 in total.

Some of the personal property subcategories that carry their own limits include:

  • Books - $575
  • Jewelry, wedding rings, art, watches - $1,150
  • Domestic animals and pets, with food to last 120 days - $1,100
  • Trust fund income if not established by debtor - 90% of income

Some of the personal property categories that do not include specific exemptions outside the broader $11,375 total include:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Television & radio units
  • Sewing machines
  • Health aids (including service animals and their food)
  • Cooking utensils and tableware
  • Stoves with fuel to last 120 days
  • Security deposits with landlord or utility company

Get Help from an Experienced Lawyer

The above is not an exhaustive list of New York’s bankruptcy exemptions or the eligibility requirements for each. To truly maximize the benefits of bankruptcy, you will need a qualified attorney to help you review your assets, identify exemptions you qualify for, and help file them as part of your proceeding. At the Law Office of Seni Popat, our renowned Queens bankruptcy exemptions attorney can help optimize your bankruptcy filing to protect as much of your property as possible. Our lawyer has over a decade of experience fighting on behalf of our clients and is ready to give your financial situation the personal care it deserves.

Find out how our Queens bankruptcy exemptions lawyer can help you. Call (718) 340-3385 or contact us online for a free consultation today.

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