What Property in Virginia Can You Keep in Bankruptcy?


Virginia (Photo credit: taberandrew)

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the simplest type of bankruptcy you can file, but bankruptcy laws can get complicated when it comes to determining what assets you can keep for filing that particular type of bankruptcy. State and/or federal exemption laws come into play in determining which property is protected from liquidation. So, what property in Virginia can you keep in bankruptcy?

Virginia just updated their bankruptcy exemption laws due to go into effect on July 1, 2012. Here is an incomplete list of exempt property under state and federal exemption statutes for Virginia:

  1. Personal Items: You can keep The Family Bible; wedding and engagement rings; clothes not to exceed $1,000 in value; one firearm not to exceed $3,000 in value; all household furnishings including appliances and sewing machine not to exceed $5,000 in value; family portraits and heirlooms not to exceed $5,000 in value; a burial ground lot and/or a pre-need funeral contract not to exceed $5,000; and medically prescribed health aides.

  2. Animals: All animals owned as pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other pets not kept or raised for sale or profit.

  3. Tools of the Trade: Tools, books, instruments, implements, equipment, and machines, including motor vehicles, vessels, and aircraft, which are necessary for use in the course of the householder’s occupation or trade not exceeding $10,000 in value, except that a perfected security interest on such personal property shall have priority over the claim of exemption under this section. A motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft used to commute to and from a place of occupation or trade and not otherwise necessary for use in the course of such occupation or trade shall not be exempt under this subdivision. “Occupation,” as used in this subdivision, includes enrollment in any public or private elementary, secondary, or career and technical education school or institution of higher education.

  4. Motor vehicle: one motor vehicle, not exempt as a tool of trade, shall not exceed $6,000 in value.

  5. Homestead: A homestead exemption is allowed up to $5,000 and up to $15,000 for a surviving spouse.

  6. Money Held In Account: Retirement accounts held in 401(k), 403 (b), 457, and IRA accounts; retirements of state and local government employees; Social Security, Disability, and money received in a personal injury; wages are ¾ exempt; and you can use your $5,000 homestead exemption under this category if you do not apply the amount to your home.

  7. Other: This list is not a complete list of Virginia exemptions, so there may be other exemptions not listed, either state or federal, that you might be eligible to use in filing your bankruptcy.

All items listed in the exempt section above should be figured at fair market value and condition they are in at the time of filing. Security interest should not be included.

To understand completely the bankruptcy exemption laws for Virginia, it is recommended you retain a bankruptcy lawyer in Virginia to handle your bankruptcy case.

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