Confused about Virginia's "Wild Card" Exemption

The state of Virginia allows filers to use a “wild card” that is, any "unused portion of homestead (of up to $5000) OR personal property exemption" on any personal property. I'm confused on the “OR unused personal property exemption” part of the statute. Now, for example, Virginia has a “tools of trade” exemption in which up to $10,000 worth of “tools, books & instruments of trade needed in your occupation or education” is exempt. Let’s say I have $3,000 worth of property that falls under “tools of trade” leaving me with an unused portion of $7,000. I have $4,000 of non-exempt cash in my bank account at the moment of filing. Can I use part of that unused $7,000 to cover my cash savings?

Centreville, VA -

Attorney Answers (1)

Daniel Mark Press

Daniel Mark Press

Bankruptcy Attorney - Mc Lean, VA
Answered

Virginia has no such thing. You must not be looking at the actual statute. The only "wild card" exemption in Va is the so-called homestead exemption, which is really a $5000 real or personal property wild card. But a homestead deed must be filed to claim it, and once used up it can never be used again. The tools of the trade exemption can only be used to claim tools of the trade. Your lawyer should understand this and should be able to advise you. DO NOT even think of filing bankruptcy without a lawyer.

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