Do you live in Massachusetts? Need to file for bankruptcy? While most bankruptcy laws including filing procedures are mandated by federal bankruptcy laws, there are some state specific details that filers should be aware of before completing a petition. For example there are some differences in federal and Massachusetts state laws regarding the exemptions that filers are allowed to use to protect property. Let’s look at some of those differences.
Massachusetts bankruptcy exemptions help determine what property a filer gets to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and play a role in how much a filer will need to repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When considering how to file, a Massachusetts resident will need to decide whether to choose either the Massachusetts exemptions or the federal exemptions. Unfortunately a debtor may not mix and match exemptions. You must choose either state or federal exemptions. Massachusetts is one of the few states that allow debtors to choose between state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means that bankruptcy filers may examine both sets of exemptions and elect the exemptions that better protect their assets.
Before deciding which exemption list (federal or state) seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Here are some of the common Massachusetts exemptions.
- Cemeteries and Burial Property- all rights of burial or tombs are exempt.
- Displacement Benefits- if displaced by eminent domain all moving expenses are exempt.
- Fraternal Benefits Society Benefits are exempt before and after payment.
- Homestead Residential Property- The homestead exemption protects a certain amount of equity in your home or principal residence.
- Insurance Benefits – Up to $400 per week in disability benefits. Life insurance policies and annuity contracts to a spouse or dependent of the insured are 100% exempt.
- Motor Vehicles – You may be exempt up to $7,500 in one motor vehicle used for personal transportation or to maintain employment
- Partnership Property- Partners may be exempt in specific partnership property.
- Pension and Retirement Benefits – Pension and retirement funds are exempt.
- Personal Property – the following articles of personal property are are some of the MA exemptions.. .
• necessary clothing and beds for a debtor and his or her family
• $15,000 in additional necessary household furniture
• $1,225 in jewelry
• $500 per month for utilities
• $500 in books
• $600 in provisions
• military uniforms
10. Public Assistance – is exempt
11. Unemployment Compensation – 100% of all unemployment compensation except for certain support obligations.
12. Veterans Benefits – are 100% exempt
13. Wages – 85% of your gross earnings, or 50 times the Massachusetts minimum hourly wage per week (whichever is greater).
14. Workers Compensation – 100% exempt except for certain obligations to state agencies and support obligations.
Massachusetts exemptions are adjusted periodically so check the Mass exemptions periodically. https://malegislature.gov