Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions are very important when preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. Simply put, exemptions allow you to keep personal and real property. Here we will go over some of the more common exemptions used in filing for bankruptcy. Remember there are other exemptions available outside of this list and you should always consult with a bankruptcy attorney to analyze your specific situation.
First of all there is a “wild card” exemption of $6,000. Just as it sounds, the “wild card” exemption will allow you to protect any sort of property you wish. Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings 11-504(b)(5) provides this exemption. This section reads: Cash or property of any kind equivalent in value to $6,000 is exempt, if within 30 days from the date of the attachment or the levy by the sheriff, the debtor elects to exempt cash or selected items of property in an amount not to exceed a cumulative value of $6,000.
Second there is a “personal property” exemption of $5,000. Again just as it sounds this exemption will allow you to protect personal property up to $5,000. This protection is provided by Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings 11-504(f). This section reads: In addition to the exemptions provided in subsection (b) of this section, and in other statutes of this State, in any proceeding under Title 11 of the United States Code, entitled “Bankruptcy”, any individual debtor domiciled in this State may exempt the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $5,000 in value, in personal property.
Third there is a “personal property” exemption of $1,000. Here you are able to protect, just as it sounds, up to $1,000 of personal property. This exemption is listed in Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings 11-504(b)(4). This section reads: The debtor’s interest, not to exceed $1,000 in value, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals kept as pets, and other items that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or any dependent of the debtor..
Forth there is a “homestead” exemption of approximately $23,000. This amount will change from time to time, so that is why the amount is listed as approximate. This exemption applies to real property that you live in and have made your home. By using this exemption you are able to shield $23,000 of equity in your property from your creditors. This is a powerful tool that can be implemented to keep your home while getting rid of debt.
Fifth there is a “tenants by the entireties” exemption of an unlimited amount. This is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, exemption that exists. While a full explanation is beyond the scope of this posting, this exemption may allow you to protect equity in your home, as long as it is properly titled within prescribed time periods as tenants by the entireties, against your individual creditors. This exemption is very specific and so it merits a full analysis by an attorney. But in some cases we have had clients that can keep their homes with substantial equity while paying nothing to their individual unsecured creditors.
We hope that this overview of Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions has been useful. We invite you to come in to come into our office for a free initial consultation so we can better review how these exemptions can help you keep your property while getting rid of your debt.