Massachusetts and Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions
This is a list of items that you can keep even when you file for bankruptcy. Many people think that they will lose everything if they file for bankruptcy. However this is not true. People filing in Massachusetts may choose from the Massachusetts exemptions which have recently been greatly improved, or they may choose the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions. I have listed the main exemptions below. These apply to each spouse if file a joint bankruptcy (husband and wife).
Exemptions under Federal Law
Homestead - Federal law allows you to protect up to $21,625 in your home
Motor Vehicle - Up to $3,450
Household Furnishings up to $11,525
Jewelry to $1,450
Bank Deposits or any other property up to $1,075
Tools of Trade to $2,150
*Wildcard exemption - If a debtor cannot use the homestead exemption (because they rent or have no equity in their home) they can use up to $10,825 in any property.
Retirement accounts unlimited if they comply with ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act)
Up to 1,095,000 in IRAs or Roth IRAs
Exemptions under Massachusetts Law
Homestead - File a Homestead before you file bankruptcy and you can protect up to $125,000 of equity in your home. If you have a homestead in place and have owned your home long enough you can protect up to $500,000 of equity in your home.
Motor Vehicle - Up to $7,500 of equity in a car.
Household furnishings to $15,000
Jewelry to $1,225
Trust Company or Credit Union Deposits to $2,500
Bank Deposits to $2,500
Tools of Trade up to $5,000
Wildcard Exemption - $1,000 plus up to $5,000 in unused Tools of Trade, Auto or Household Furnishings exemption.
Retirement accounts unlimited if they comply with ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act) as well as most 401Ks and Roth IRAs and IRAs