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Can I combine exemptions?

Armonk, NY |

I am filing chapter 7, I have a car that is worth $8000 and it is all paid off. I am not taking a homestead exemption. can I add a wildcard exemption on top of the car exemption to exempt the whole car?

Attorney Answers 5


If you select the federal exemption, you most certainly can take the standard vehicle exemption and use the wildcard for the balance.

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As previously stated, you must select a law....Federal or State. Thereafter, assuming Federal exemptions as those numbers indicate, you may be able to use the auto exemption, and the wildcard.


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The short answer is "Yes." The other attorneys are correct in stating that you cannot combine Federal and State exemptions. Thus, assuming that the Wildcard within your chosen exemption scheme will accommodate the additional value of your car, there should not be a problem.
Good luck with your petition!

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Be CAREFUL that you do not exceed your wildcard. I assume you are filing as a single individual with the following math. With federal exemptions, you can excmpt $3,450 on the car plus you can use some wildcard.
The car might not be $8,000. Did you run the KBB on your car and use the PRIVATE SALE value? If it is 8,000, then you would have to use $4,550 of the wildcard to cover the car.
However, what else did you use the wildcard for regarding assets on your schedule B?
In filing SOLO, you have 1,150 + any amount up to the homstead exemption up to $10,825 that you can apply via federal wild card above and beyond the AUTO exemption. Sicne you're not using the homestead, you can take 11,975 against any assets. If you use $4,550 of the wildcard to cover the car, that leaves you with $7,425 to cover any other assets that don't already have a legitimate exemption.
I have had clients that have many assets on schedule B that require wild card exemption but they did not have enough. When that happens, you can cut a deal with the trustee on an "equity offer"
Let me know if you need help with that or if you need the exemptions chart.
Ron Cook

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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.

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