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Am I just out of luck?

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  • Am I just out of luck?

    Hello,

    I'm working on my exemptions, and I just found out that we are limited to keeping one television, one computer, etc. I'm not sure what to do now, as I thought these could be exempted (they are not high value). I have three laptops (same brand) that are worth about $40 each (two are used by my children), and old desktop computer that is about 12 years old, etc. Am I right from my research that we can plan on losing these things? And I'm not even sure which federal exemption to use now, being that there is more than one.

  • #2
    Are you sure you can't use the Federal Exemption scheme which, if you're not saving a homestead, can have over $22K for all property (for married couples)?
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi,

      I did plan on using Federal Exemptions. With Federal Exemptions, I have more than enough to cover all my household goods, tools of the trades, and the dollar value of my electronics. What concerned me was that I saw they only allow you to keep one television, one computer, etc., meaning that the exemption only allows for one television, one computer, etc. Could I use a wildcard exemption or the homestead exemption for these extra electronic items, like the other computers? I believe that my loan is more than the value of the house, so I should have all of the homestead exemption available. I'm just assuming from what I'm seeing, I can only use the household goods exemption on one television and if I'm allowed to do so I could possibly use the homestead or wildcard on the others? Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        Whatever you are looking at, it is not federal exemptions because they say nothing about one television and one computer. Federal exemptions are listed at https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...-property.html

        Yes, if you don't need the homestead exemption, you have a wildcard exemption of $13,100 per person that you can use for any property.
        Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 09-22-2017, 05:17 PM.
        LadyInTheRed is in the black!
        Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
        $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

        Comment


        • #5
          I found where you are seeing the reference to one tv, one computer, etc. You are looking at Section 522(f)(4)(A) that defines household goods for purposes of 522(f)(1)(B) which has to do with voiding liens. It does not apply to the household goods exemption in 522(d)(3) or the wildcard exemption. Note that the dollar amounts in 522(d)(3) are adjusted for inflation every three years. The Nolo site I linked to above is good at keeping up to date in my experience.

          Here's Bankruptcy Code Section 522: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/522
          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

          Comment


          • #6
            Realistically, unless you end up with a (panel) trustee who is hell-bent on squeezing every possible dime out of you, you aren't going to have a problem keeping household goods. In fact, when I filed, the exemptions for Arizona included "one typewriter" but mentioned nothing about a computer and printer. Of course, I needed my computer and printer to prepare legal documents as a pro-se filer, plus I was in college at the time, and needed them for my coursework.

            I used the "typewriter exemption" to cover my laptop and printer, which together would have been worth maybe $100, not a peep out of the trustee. Likewise, I was at least $500 over the amount of funds in a bank account permitted under the state's very meager exemptions, again not a peep out of the trustee. While technically, he could have demanded the turnover of these funds, and attempted to sell my computer, and possibly other low-value home furnishings, what would have been the point? Each creditor would have gotten less than $50, hardly making a scratch in any of the debts.

            Comment


            • #7
              bcohen, I like the States where farming is big and you get to keep things such as: 1 cow, 10 sheep, 10 chickens, 3 swarms of bees, and feed to last 1 winter; 1 yoke of oxen or steers, 2 horses, 2 harnesses, 2 halters, 2 chains, 1 plow and 1 ox yoke... Vermont Exemptions.

              I think I should be able to trade my computer for at least 2 swarms of bees!
              Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
              Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
              Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


              I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for your input, all!

                I had one other question that I'm having a hard time finding an exact answer for.

                I'll be using the federal exemptions rather than state. Since I won't need the homestead exemption to apply to my house (I'm underwater on the mortgage), I realize I will have a good amount to use towards something else... as well as the wildcard.

                My question is this. Can the homestead exemption be applied to more than one property, so long as I don't go over the limit? For example, say I needed to exempt two things that aren't covered underneath the household goods or anything else. Can I apply that exemption to both items or categories?

                Comment


                • #9
                  The unused homestead exemption becomes part of the wildcard (11 USC 522(d)(5)). The wildcard can be used for "any" property.
                  Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                  Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                  Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                  I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Any property and multiple items.

                    As bcohen points out, the trustee really is not interested in household goods unless you have something of particular value. It just isn't worth the time and cost to collect your things and sell them. California's household goods exclusion is similar to the federal exemption. "Clothing, household goods, appliances, furnishings, animals, books, musical instruments and crops up to $675 per item." My attorney grouped all of those things together, put an estimated total value and noted that no item was worth more than $675.

                    If I had filed in August instead of April, I might have had to use some wildcard exemption for my tomato crop given what tomatoes go for in the grocery store!
                    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                    Comment

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