Introducing the Massachusetts bankruptcy wild-card exemptions

With the change in Massachusetts state law that went into effect earlier in April, Massachusetts residents have a few new arrows in their quiver if they need to go to bankruptcy court.

One of the most important of these is that Massachusetts now has a “wild-card” exemption, just like federal law (and New Hampshire law, too) does.

The significance of the wild card is that it allows debtors to exempt property — any type of property whatsoever — over and above what the rest of the Massachusetts laws allow for.

So if you are using the Massachusetts exemptions when filing your bankruptcy case, and you own something that isn’t specifically provided for by the Massachusetts exemption scheme, you can now declare it exempt anyway.

Or if you have “too much” of anyone thing, for example, $3,000 in checking account, where only $2,500 is protected by the bank account exemption, you can use $500 of your wild card allotment to protect the remainder of your checking balance. Wild, huh?

And what is the wild-card allotment? Well it can reach as high as $6,000, and is at least $1,000 for each individual filer. or to put it more technically, everyone gets the first $1,000 and then you can also apply up to $5000 of any unused furniture, automobile, or business equipment exemptions.

If you are in Massachusetts and are in the market for a bankruptcy lawyer to help you figure all this out, give me a call; initial consultations are free of charge.


By Doug Beaton

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