Federal Exemptions

New York Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 debtors can now claim the federal personal property exemptions

Under a law signed in late 2010, New York residents can now choose to claim the federal exemptions rather than the New York State exemptions. For clients that do not own real estate, the federal exemptions offer more generous allowances for the following:

Household goods and furnishings

Individual debtors may exempt $10,775 for household items, including furniture, clothing, and appliances. The exemption is doubled for married couples.


Individual debtors may exempt $1,350 in any type of jewelry. The New York State exemptions only protect a wedding ring (not an engagement ring or other Jewelry). The exemption is doubled for married couples.

Wildcard Exemption

This exemption allows a debtor who does not need a homestead exemption to exempt up to $10,125 of any property of any kind, including cars, boats, jewelry, and even other real estate. The exemption is doubled for married couples. This is an incredibly valuable exemption and will most likely change the landscape of New York bankruptcy practice forever!

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Asset Exemption Subsection of 11 USC § 522
Homestead Real property, mobile home, co-op, or burial plot: up to $20,200. Up to $10,125 of this amount may be used as a wildcard and applied to any kind of property. (d)(1); (d)(5)
Insurance Life insurance contract (not matured): all except credit insurance policies. (d)(7)
Life insurance policy loan value and accrued dividends: up to $10, 755. (d)(8)
Unemployment, disability, and illness benefits: all. (d)(10)(C)
Life insurance payments from a policy taken out on someone the debtor depended on: all necessary for support. (d)(11)C)
Miscellaneous Child support and alimony: all necessary for support. (d)(10)(D)
Pensions Tax exempt retirement accounts (which include 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined-benefit plans): all. (b)(3)(C)
IRAs and Roth IRAs: up to $1,095,000 per person. (b)(3)(C)
Personal Property Motor vehicle: up to $3,225. (d)(2)
Household goods, appliances, furnishings, clothing, books, musical instruments, animals, crops: up to $525 per item and up to $10,775 total. (d)(3)
Jewelry: up to $1,350. (d)(4)
Health aids: all. (d)(9)
Recovery for the wrongful death of a person on whom the debtor depended: all. (d)(11)(8)
Recoveries for personal injury (excluding amounts for pain and suffering and pecuniary loss): up to $20,200. (d)(11)(D)
Payments for lost earnings: all. (d)(11)(E)
Public Benefits Public assistance benefits: all. (d)(10)(A)
Social Security benefits: all. (d)(10)(A)
Unemployment compensation benefits: all. (d)(10)(A)
Veterans’ benefits: all. (d)(10)(A)
Crime victim compensation: all. (d)(11)(A)
Tools of Your Trade Implements, tools, and books: up to $2,025. (d)(6)
Wages No exemption.
Wildcards Any property: up to $1,075. (d)(5)
Any property: up to $10,125 of the unused homestead exemption. (d)(5)