Category Archives: Exemptions

Automatic Massachusetts homesteads limited to $125K

Since 2012, homeowners in Massachusetts have had two options for obtaining homestead protection for their residence. First, they can do it “the old way” — by filing a legal declaration of homestead at the county registry of deeds. Translation: a small bit of hassle, a small fee to pay, maybe have lawyer get involved, or […]

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Two cars in one name can be trouble in bankruptcy

There are lots of married couples out there struggling to make ends meet, with both spouses working and both needing to drive a car or truck to get to their job. While the husband may habitually drive “his” car, and the wife “hers,” very often both vehicles (and sometimes more) will be listed in one […]

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Mass. debtors may be able to keep more after bankruptcy

Massachusetts bankruptcy debtors who need to use the state-specific Massachusetts list of exempt property got some good news recently from Judge Hoffman, whose ruling in the Sutherland case may have effectively doubled the wild card exemption under state law. The Sutherland case was reviewed here previously, where another aspect of the case looked at the […]

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Is a motorcycle an automobile in Massachusetts?

Practicing bankruptcy law in Massachusetts means you are always learning new things. A question that cropped up recently: Does a Harley – Davidson motorcycle count as a debtor’s automobile? And a little more broadly — is a motorcycle a vehicle? These questions were one of the subjects in the Sutherland case, decided on July 16, […]

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Bankruptcy hearings can be over before the fat lady sings

A recent opinion from United States bankruptcy judge Henry Boroff in Massachusetts helps to clarify a much debated question of bankruptcy law: when is the debtor’s “meeting of creditors” really over? Each person filing a bankruptcy case is required to attend a “Meeting of creditors,” also known as a “341 meeting” after the code section […]

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Bankruptcy law eases rules on keeping your car after you file

A very modest increase in the amount of equity in a car that a debtor can keep after filing a bankruptcy case went into effect in April, 2013. Previously, a single debtor claiming federal exemptions was allowed $3,450 in equity in a vehicle. With the cost-of-living increase that took effect on April 1st, that was […]

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What you can keep after bankruptcy just increased

A bit of good news just came in for anyone out there considering filing a bankruptcy case: As of April 1, 2013, the total amount of property that a debtor can “keep” after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy increased to $12,725.00, an extra $750 over prior law. The increase is part of an every-three years tweaking […]

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What happens when a check is outstanding at the time of a bankruptcy filing?

If a debtor files a bankruptcy case after having written checks on a personal account, but before they are cashed who gets to keep the money? This is a question that is being asked in the Henson case before the United States Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s […]

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Bankruptcy judge unearths useful exemptions for life insurance policies

You can lean a lot from reading the latest bankruptcy opinions. About bankruptcy law, to be sure, but often also about little explored areas of state laws. Take life insurance, for an example. Term life insurance — the kind that simply pays a benefit when someone dies. Except in the case of a suicide, of […]

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Massachusetts bankruptcy court says vacation condo in Maine qualifies for homestead exemption

Here’s a twist that you don’t see everyday in the bankruptcy courts: a Massachusetts couple who filed a bankruptcy case were allowed claim a homestead exemption to protect their vacation condo in York Beach, Maine. Massachusetts bankruptcy judge Melvin Hoffman ruled that the federal homestead exemption — found at 11 USC section 522 (d) (1) […]

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