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Major* Bankruptcy Exemptions
Under 11 U.S.C. §522 as of April 1, 2013

Note: Not every state permits the use of federal exemptions. Some states have "opted-out" of the system. Although the Bankruptcy Code is federal, Congress specifically permitted this opt-out of the federal bankruptcy exemption scheme. How do you know whether your state has opted-out? Simply click here to see a table. It is usually better to file in an opt-in state, however, you should check with local counsel first. Sometimes it may be possible to file in more than one state. The Bankruptcy Code should be consulted and a competent attorney retained.

Sometimes, a debtor may want to choose the state exemptions out of choice. Pennsylvania's interpretation of tenants-by-the-entireties covers personal property like bank accounts and in fact, anything acquired by the spouses for use in a home owned in the entireties. "Entireties" ownership means husband/wife joint ownership. It is an unbreakable unity and is unassailable by any creditor of either spouse. This does not hold true when both spouses owe the debt jointly. To see a list of Pennsylvania State Exemptions,


Section Description Max Amount Joint Amount
522(d)(1) Real property or personal property used as a residence (e.g. a trailer) $22,975 $45,950
522(d)(2) Debtor's interest in one motor vehicle $3,675 $7,350
522(d)(3) Household goods, clothing, appliances, animals, crops, musical instruments for family use, not to exceed $575 in any one item. $12,250 $24,500
522(d)(4) jewelry for personal or family use $1,550 $3,100
522(d)(5) The debtor's aggregate interest in any property, not to exceed in value $1,225 plus up to $11,500 of any unused amount of the exemption provided under paragraph (1) of this subsection. $12,725 $25,450
522(d)(6) Implements, professional books, tools of trade $2,300 $4,600
522(d)(7) An unmatured life insurance contract of debtor other than credit life n/a n/a
522(d)(8) Unmatured life contract's accrued dividend $12,250 $24,500
522(d)(9) Professionally prescribed health aids n/a n/a
522(d)(10) Debtor's right to receive social security, veteran's benefits, disability, illness and unemployment benefits, alimony, support or maintenance to extent reasonably necessary for the support of debtor and dependents. Also a payment under a stock bonus, pension profit-sharing, annuity or similar plan on account of illness disability, death, age or length of service to the above extent. n/a n/a
522(d)(11)(d) A payment, not to exceed $21,625 [adjusted every 3 years by section 104.] on account of personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent $22,975 $45,950
522(d)(12) Retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation under section 401, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.    
522(d)(11)(e) A payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor. undetermined  

*This table is may not be a complete list. Always consult with competent bankruptcy counsel for proper exemption counseling.

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