What is the New Jersey Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy exemptions exist in every state and are assets you have that cannot be seized in bankruptcy, no matter what chapter you file. In most states, there is something known as a wildcard exemption that provides for additional assets, normally a monetary figure, that you can claim as exempt from seizure. New Jersey’s wildcard exemption in bankruptcy is much like the other exemptions in the state in that they allow you to retain certain assets when you file. Your New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer will help you to determine whether or not you qualify for this exemption.
How Much is the New Jersey Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy?
In New Jersey, the wildcard exemption allows you to protect up to $1,000 in personal property that is not included as part of other exemptions. The federal exemption allows you to protect up to $12,725 of property unless you use the homestead exemption which lowers the amount.
How Exemptions Work
When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of your debts are eliminated, but you must allow the courts to take some of your property to sell to repay your creditors. The federal government understands that you should be stripped of everything you own so the law allows you to keep enough for a basic lifestyle. In New Jersey, up to $1,000 in household goods and furnishings are exempt. If you have household furnishings only worth $800, you can keep them even if you file bankruptcy.
How Wildcard Exemptions Work
Most exemptions in New Jersey can only be applied to specific property, like the household goods and clothing. Under the wildcard exemption, however, you can list anything you want to keep under that exemption, including stocks or corporate interests, although you cannot use real estate. You can also stack the wildcard exemption with another exemption. If you have furnishings worth $1,500, you can use $500 of your wildcard exemption to keep your furnishings by adding it to the household exemptions.
Many people who file bankruptcy in New Jersey choose to use the federal exemptions instead as they are significantly larger than the state provides. If you use the federal exemption, you can protect up to $1,225 for any type of property as well as any portion of the homestead exemption you have not used up to $11,500.
If you are married and filing bankruptcy with your spouse, all exemption amounts double.
If you are considering bankruptcy and want to know what exemptions you may qualify for, contact Georgette Miller and Associates to see how they can help. You can arrange for your consultation by filling out our easy form or calling us today.