Bankruptcy cases filed in New York must use exemptions set forth in New York law. Although there are federal exemptions, they do not apply to cases filed in New York. This is because New York has opted out of the federal exemption scheme. See my post last week: Can Federal Exemptions be Used in New York Bankruptcy Filings?
Some of the more common assets that New York debtors can protect are:
• Bank accounts with a total value of up to $2,500
• Automobiles with total equity of up to $2,400
• Household furniture and personal possessions with a value of up to $5,000
• Retirement and pension accounts
• Homes with a total equity of up to $50,000
A husband and wife who file a joint bankruptcy petition can usually pool their exemptions to double the above amounts.
While there are limitations to these exemptions, most of our Long Island bankruptcy clients are able to keep all of their belongings while reducing or eliminating their debt.