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No homestead exemption bankrutpcy how much cash can I exempt?

Elmira, NY |

In filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, how much cash can I exempt if I don't use the homestead exemption? I don't own a house or apartment, but I have about $40,000 in cash. If I file a chapter 7, how much of that cash can I exempt?

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Attorney answers 5


This is how it works in you state:
- Up to $22,975 in value in real or personal property that is used as a residence or a burial plot
- Up to $3,675 in value in one motor vehicle
- Up to $12,250 total value in household goods or furnishings, wearing apparel, and other various types of property, but not more than $575 in any one item
- Up to $1,550 total value in jewelry owned for personal use
- Up to $2,300 in value in tools of the trade
- Up to $22,975 payment on account of personal injury
- The debtor’s right to receive certain benefits, including social security benefits, veterans’ benefits, pension and retirement benefits, and spousal maintenance or domestic support payments
- A “wildcard” exemption that can be applied to any property up to $1,225 in value plus up to $11,500 of any unused portion of the homestead exemption. For debtors that do not need to use the homestead exemption (either because they do not own a home or there is no equity in the home), the wildcard allows an exemption of up to $12,725 in any property, including cash, bank accounts and tax refunds not yet received.

The information may be outdated. Check with a NY bankruptcy lawyer.

My answer is just my thought about your question, and not legal advice because you and I do not have an attorney-client relationship, which may begin only if we both sign a retainer agreement. Other lawyers may analyse your situation differently. Also, the answer may be different in your state. Be aware that I may not be licensed in your state. I am only licensed in Washington and Idaho. Be aware that my areas of practice may not cover your question. I practice Debt Settlement, Business, Asset Protection, Tax Reduction, Contracts, Real Estate Transactions, IRS, 501(c)3, State Departments: Labor and Industries, Employment Security, Revenue, Licensing.


If you have lived in a state for two years or more, you use the exemptions for the state you live in. Otherwise, you use the exemptions in the state where you used to live. I can direct you to a website at the link below that provides a general description of the exemption laws for all 50 states so you can review them for yourself. Hope this perspective helps!


It is impossible to answer this question with the information requested. A lot of it depends upon the exemptions that you can claim based upon where you have lived for the timeframe prior to filing and the other assets that you have. I think $40K is beyond any exemption that you can have anywhere so you would want to meet with experienced bankruptcy counsel in your area to review all of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities to determine the best course of action for you.


First, you must know which states laws govern,. If you have lived in NY more than 2 years then it is NY!

Second, since you do NOT own a house, I strongly suggest you seek an experienced bankruptcy attorneys advice FIRST and NOW. We don't know how much you owe in unsecured debts, what your income is, your household size, your expense, etc. What I know is without knowing anything more, it would be FOOLISH to file bankruptcy w/o more advice. You could buy food, a vehicle, a home, etc. or you could just say " I will just lose the non exempt portion" . You can. That is the safest. But most attorneys would NOT be doing their job if you don't sit down with them and be explained about exemption planning. DO NOT GO TO AN INEXPERIENCED ATTORNEY! Go to someone who knows that you have options. Ask them about being a PIG versus a our judges with a pig, lose with a HOG and in between is a slippery slope. I really dare you to ask your attorney, what if you put all $40,000 down on a small condo, etc. and moved in and waited 2 years later and filed bankruptcy. I would be willing to bet you don't lose any of the homestead and no one knows the better . Good luck.


In New York, assuming you have lived in New York for the past two years (if not then your exemptions are determined by which state you lived in for the majority of the 180 days prior to the two year time period) you have an option to choose either the federal exemptions or the state exemptions. In your case, the federal exemptions are likely more beneficial. The federal exemptions would allow you to exempt up to $1,225.00 plus $11,500 in unused homestead exemption. If you are married and file a joint petition both you and your wife are allowed to claim these exemptions resulting in a total exemption of $25,450. There are certainly other ways to protect your cash such as converting non-exempt assets into exempt assets. you should consult with an attorney before attempting any such transfers.

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