Our Mesa Bankruptcy Lawyers Discuss The 2021 Exemptions For Bankruptcy Filings In Arizona
When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any assets that aren’t protected by bankruptcy exemptions can be seized by your trustee and sold to pay your creditors. Bankruptcy exemptions, or the limits on how much equity you can have in certain types of assets, vary by state and are subject to change every year. If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Arizona in 2021, check your assets to make sure they are within the applicable exemption limits.
Some of your assets may have a clear numerical value. Others aren’t so easy to ascertain. Websites like Kelley Blue Book and Zillow may give you a general idea of your property’s value. You may need to hire an appraiser for valuable possessions with unclear values.
If your assets aren’t protected in Chapter 7, you may want to consider filing Chapter 13 instead of giving up bankruptcy altogether. These exemptions don’t apply in a Chapter 13 case because you will repay the value of financed assets in your bankruptcy payment plan. You also may be able to encumber your property with a lien to reduce your equity. You should contact a Mesa bankruptcy attorney if you are unsure whether your assets are protected, or if you want to know about your options with non-exempt assets.
Arizona Homestead Exemption
The homestead exemption in Arizona for 2021 is $150,000. You can have up to $150,000 equity in your house, condo, townhouse, etc. Your equity is the value of the home minus the balance of your mortgage.
Rent paid in advance, as well as security deposits fall into this category. In Arizona, the exemption value for this category is $2,000.
Arizona Vehicle Exemption
In Arizona, you can have up to $6,000 equity in one vehicle if you are unmarried. If you are married, this limit is raised to $12,000 for one vehicle, or the spouses can have two vehicles with up to $6,000 equity each. The exemption for someone with a disability that requires special vehicle equipment is increased to $25,000.
Bank Account & Cash On Hand
An inconvenient part of filing bankruptcy in Arizona is the low exemption for how much cash you can have in hand and in the bank on the day your petition is filed. This limit is $300 for an unmarried filer, and $600 for a married couple. This probably means you will need to time your bankruptcy filing around your payday. Make sure your Mesa bankruptcy attorney is aware of your pay dates, especially if you file an emergency bankruptcy petition. Arizona doesn’t allow federal exemptions and doesn’t offer a wildcard exemption to use on your bank accounts as an alternative.
Household Goods & Furnishings
This can be anything in your home from your sofa and chairs, to your microwave and refrigerator. The 2021 Arizona bankruptcy exemption for this category is $6,000. You should assess the value of your belongings as their resale or market value, not the price you originally paid.
Engagement &/Or Wedding Rings
The Arizona bankruptcy courts allow you to keep wedding jewelry worth up to $2,000 in a Chapter 7.
Pets & Livestock
This exemption applies both to domestic pets, like dogs and cats, and livestock, like horses and goats. While your purebred pet likely doesn’t have a high enough resale value to be cause for concern, it could become an issue if you breed your pet.
Arizona allows Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers to have a watch worth up to $150, so don’t wear a Rolex to your 341 Meeting of Creditors.
Arizona’s bankruptcy exemption for wearing apparel, regardless of family size, is $500. For the same reason you shouldn’t wear a Rolex in front of your trustee, don’t wear all designer clothing (even if they’re knockoffs) to your 341 Meeting of Creditors.
Food, Fuel, & Provisions
The bankruptcy trustee is highly unlikely to come to your house and raid your pantry and siphon your gas tank, but you can have up to 6 months worth of provisions when your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed.
The resale value of your book collection must not exceed $250 in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, these books may be protected by other exemptions if they are used for school or work.
Tools & Other Equipment
This category encompasses many items from saws and drills, to instruments, website domains, and more. Anything the bankruptcy filer uses for their profession has an exemption value of $5,000.
Life Insurance Proceeds
If you receive insurance funds after the death of a spouse, child, or other relative, only $20,000 of this will be protected in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Wheelchair, Prosthetics, etc.
There is no limit to the value of these types of items in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If they are prescribed by a doctor, it isn’t up to the bankruptcy court to decide how much these can be worth. However, you should still apply the exemption to have your bases covered.
For someone who plays as a hobby, musical instruments have a bankruptcy exemption of $400. A career musician can use the tools of the trade exemption to protect their musical instruments, which is $5,000.
Computer, Bicycle, Firearm, Burial Plot, Family Bible
This exemption applies to an interesting range of belongings, and is capped at $1,000 in Arizona for 2021.
Child support and alimony payments are exempt from Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and there is no limit for the domestic support exemption.
Benefits & Public Assistance
Like child and spousal support, these payments are fully exempt from bankruptcy. Unemployment benefits, disability, worker’s compensation, social security income, and more, are safe in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Consult with a Mesa bankruptcy attorney if you want to make sure your source of income is exempt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Contact Our Mesa Bankruptcy Attorneys
Exemptions are just one of the many parts of a bankruptcy petition that must be completed correctly, or risk negative consequences like losing your assets or your case being dismissed. That’s why you should trust your case with a skilled Mesa bankruptcy attorney. To learn more about how our dedicated staff and attorneys can assist you through the bankruptcy process, call today to schedule your free consultation. You may qualify for a post-filing payment plan starting as low as $0 down bankruptcy, and we have same day consultations available! Call (480) 833-8000 to get started.