What are the MD and DC Bankruptcy Exemptions?

There are assets that you are legally allowed to keep when you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Maryland or Washington DC. These are referred to as exemptions and they vary from state to state.

In Maryland, you are allowed to keep approximately $12,000 worth of personal property (of the types specified below), plus some other types of property. Specifically, the Maryland exemptions are:

maryland bankruptcy exemptions

  • Crime victims’ compensation awards
  • Fraternal benefit society benefits
  • $5,000 worth of tools of trade/profession
  • Miscellaneous benefits, such as sickness, accident, injury, death, etc.
  • Professional prescribed health aids
  • $1,000 worth of family clothes, furnishings, books, and pets (valued at replacement value, which is the price a store would charge for the property of that kind considering the age and condition of the property)
  • $6,000 worth of property or cash back from attachment
  • Child support
  • $5,000 worth of real or personal property interests
  • Pension and retirement
  • Public assistance
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Wages
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Partnership property

In the District of Columbia, you can use the Federal exemptions or the DC exemptions. The DC exemptions allow you to keep:

  • Motor vehicle valued up to $2,575
  • Any item valued up to $425 or $8,625 worth of household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments
  • Property valued up to $850 in value, plus up to $8,075 of any unused amount of the exemption provided for real estate
  • $1,625 worth of implements, professional books, or tools of the trade
  • Any unmatured life insurance contract, other than a credit life insurance contract
  • Professionally prescribed health aids
  • The debtor’s right to receive: a social security, veteran’s, disability, illness, or unemployment benefit alimony, support, or separate maintenance; and a payment under a stock bonus, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service, unless: the plan or contract was established by or under the auspices of an insider that employed the debtor at the time the debtor’s rights under the plan or contract arose; the payment is on account of age or length of service; and the plan or contract does not qualify under sections 401(a) or 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
  • $400 worth of family pictures and family library
  • Money or other assets payable to a participant or beneficiary from a retirement plan qualified under section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, 408A, 414(d), or 414(e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
  • The interest of an alternate payee in a plan described in the prior item
  • Property traceable to: an award under a crime victim’s reparation law; a payment on account of the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent; a payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent on the date of the individual’s death, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;
  • Provisions for 3 months support;
  • $300 worth of the library, office furniture, and implements of a professional person or artist
  • The debtor’s aggregate interest in real property used as the residence of the debtor or in a burial plot for the debtor or dependent of the debtor
  • Unmatured life insurance;
  • $300 worth of non-head of household clothes
  • Public assistance; unemployment compensation; 75% of wages or 30 times minimum wage; notary’s official seal and documents; DC judges’ retirement; earnings not otherwise exempt; teacher’s retirement and disability benefits; group life policies or proceeds; worker’s compensation; partnership property; condominium escrow funds; cemetery lots held by cemetery association; $50 worth of holdings of a member of a coop association; $200 worth of non-head of household mechanics’ tools; non-head of household earnings; uninsured motorist compensation benefits; Taxicab Sinking Fund

The Federal exemptions allow you to keep:

  • Up to $21,625 in real property or personal property used as a residence or a burial plot;
  • Up to $3,450 in value for one motor vehicle;
  • Up to $11,525 in aggregate value, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments, that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use;
  • Up to $1,450 in jewelry;
  • Up to $1,150 in value for any property, plus up to $10,825 of any unused amount of the exemption provided for the real property exemption;
  • Up to $2,175 in implements, professional books, or tools, of the trade;
  • Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract;
  • Up to $11,525 less any amount of property of the estate transferred in the manner specified in section 542(d), in any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan value of, any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor under which the insured is the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent; professionally prescribed health aids;
    • such plan or contract was established by or under the auspices of an insider that employed the debtor at the time the debtor’s rights under such plan or contract arose;
    • such payment is on account of age or length of service;
    • such plan or contract does not qualify under section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), or 408 of the IRC of 1986
  • The debtor’s right to receive, or property that is traceable to:
    • an award under a crime victim’s reparation law;
    • a payment on account of the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent;
    • a payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent on the date of such individual’s death;
    • a payment, not to exceed $21,625 on account of personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent; or
    • a payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent
  • Retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation under section 401, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

NOTE THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST of assets that you can keep when you file for bankruptcy. ALSO NOTE, that exemptions are subject to your particular case. Call our office at 301-805-5892, to speak with a bankruptcy attorney who can explain what assets you can keep in your particular situation.

Our Maryland and DC bankruptcy law firm wants to make this difficult time easier for you and we do so by explaining the bankruptcy process and about bankruptcy exemptions. Please contact our Maryland and DC Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 lawyer to set up a consultation today to hear your options.