In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is a liquidation of assets, the debtor’s property – if there is anything of value – is generally taken by the trustee and sold to pay off debts. In most instances, there is no taking of property because the debtor’s belongings have no value.
However, in instances where a debtor has some property that might be worth something, there are ways to keep the property in spite of the bankruptcy filing. A Baltimore bankruptcy attorney can provide more details, but we’ll go over a few things in this blog post.
Maryland law provides for several exemptions, which means that as long as the equity in the claimed property is less than the amount allowed by law, you can claim an exemption and keep the property. Most, but not all, exemptions have a dollar limit.
Maryland has several exemptions.
The Maryland homestead exemption allows those claiming Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maryland to keep a residence that has up to $25,150 of equity.
Debtors whose work requires expensive tools often worry about having to surrender their work tools or the clothing necessary for them to do their job. Maryland allows debtors to exempt $5,000 in tools of the trade, including wearing apparel, books, etc.
A Chapter 7 debtor can exempt up to $1,000 in clothing, household furnishings, etc.
Maryland doesn’t have a vehicle exemption, but you can use the “wildcard” exemption to claim $11,000 of the vehicle’s value. The wildcard exemption protects cash or property of any kind that has a value up to $6,000. An additional wildcard exemption of up to $5,000 can be applied to personal property of any kind.
Wages, up to a certain amount can be exempted and the amount varies by county.
Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or the debtor’s dependents are 100% exempted.
Pensions and retirement funds are generally 100% exempt under Maryland law.
Child support received by the debtor is exempt without limit.
Unemployment compensation is 100% exempt.
There are several other exemptions. A Baltimore bankruptcy attorney can explain them to you and advise you how best to take advantage of them.
It’s important to note that married couples filing a joint bankruptcy are each entitled to their own exemptions, which has the effect of doubling exemptions on a piece of property. However, married couples can’t double the homestead exemption.
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh bankruptcy needs. A Baltimore bankruptcy attorney can help you to determine the best way to get out of debt, out from under creditor calls and how to keep as much of your property as possible. An Ocean City bankruptcy attorney can devise a strategy for you that allows you to use the bankruptcy laws to your advantage. The consultation is free.
We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.885.1775 or through the website for a free consultation.