Theoretically you can, but having that much cash may be too much of a prize for a chapter 7 trustee to let slide without problems. The best thing to do would be some pre-bankruptcy planning to eliminate some of that cash in a way that the trustee would not have an issue with, and leaving some of the exemption to cover some other things you may not be thinking about.
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You need to speak with an attorney experienced in these sorts of filing. You can elect between either state or federal exemptions, which is something you would need to discuss with a lawyer. Cash can often be exempted in the "wildcard" exemption, but that depends on how you elect to proceed and how state law functions.
Yes you can exempt the money that way, but you are likely to have problems because that situation seems well too carefully crafted and you may be at risk for worse problems other than not being able to exempt your cash, like jail time for illegally structuring your case to hide assets.
Get an attorney.
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Potentially the wild card could be used for cash, but that much cash would raise red flags. Money in a bank account would be better. Note that using the wild card this way may mean not exempting other assets that could have used the wildcard, so this is a strategic decision to make with your lawyer.
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The answer is yes you understand correctly, if you are not using a homestead you have $5000.00 that doubles in a joint filing. However, you should definitely talk to a lawyer in your area about filing and getting the full use out of your exemptions. I don't know why people want to file pro se, if you have $11,000 cash please go spend $1500 of it on a bankruptcy attorney and get yourself legal counsel. A pro se filer in that situation with that much cash is going to get very close scrutiny by a trustee.
Don't forget that you might need to use the wildcard for other areas- perhaps for a tax refund that is owed to you but not yet paid, or excess vehicle equity, etc.. so while you are correct about the total amount of wildcard available, you can't say for certain how much cash you can keep without knowing the value of all of your other assets as well.
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