Exemptions Help You Protect Your Property
The primary way to protect property against creditors’ reach is to claim exemptions in it. By doing so, you won’t be forced to turn it over in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, or pay its equivalent value during a Chapter 13 case. Exemptions are laws, either created by state or federal government, that outline what property a debtor may protect from creditors.
The bankruptcy code contains a set of exemption laws, which compared to some states’ exemptions, are quite generous, but the bankruptcy code also says that these laws may not be used if the debtor’s applicable state doesn’t allow them to. This is called the “opt out” provision.
So, what is your applicable state and what does it say about the exemption laws available to you in your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Where you’ve lived during the past 2 and ½ years before the filing of the bankruptcy petition governs this question.
Where You’ve Lived In The Past Makes A Difference To Your Exemptions
For example, if you’ve lived in the state of Missouri during the 730 consecutive days before the date on which you file your bankruptcy case, Missouri is your applicable state and Missouri law tells us that it has “opted out” of the bankruptcy exemption scheme, and requires you to use Missouri’s exemption law.
But if you haven’t lived in a single state for 730 consecutive days prior to your filing date, (maybe you lived in 2 or 3 different states during that time period, or 1 state and a different country), we look to the state in which you’ve lived the longest during the 180 days before that 730 day period.
If that state happens to be Florida, for instance, Florida has also opted out of the bankruptcy exemption scheme, like Missouri. But it doesn’t allow non-residents to use Florida state exemption law. So if you’re no longer a Florida resident but Florida is your applicable state, you may use the bankruptcy code’s exemption laws.
Missouri Exemption Attorney Nancy Martin Can Help
The determination of which exemption laws to use is a very important assessment and can be complex depending on your circumstances. Be sure to select a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to help you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 relief. And be sure to inform your bankruptcy attorney of where you’ve lived in the past, with documentation to support these facts.
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Exceptions to Discharge
[learn_more caption=”St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney” state=”open”] Nancy Martin is a St. Louis, Missouri attorney and consumer bankruptcy lawyer who helps people file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. To find out more about bankruptcy and other debt relief alternatives, contact us online or by phone at (636) 536-5355. The office is located at 150 North Meramec Avenue, Suite 400, St. Louis, Missouri 63105.
We help people in St. Louis, St. Charles, Chesterfield, Ballwin, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Ladue, Manchester, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Wildwood, Bridgeton, Fenton, Eureka, Ellisville, Des Peres, Clarkson Valley, and Frontenac. This includes the municipalities within St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Warren County, and Lincoln County.[/learn_more]