New York Bankruptcy Exemptions

New York Bankruptcy Exemptions

Just because a person files a bankruptcy petition doesn’t mean that he will lose all of his properties.  Some properties are exempt. New York provides a list of the kinds of exempt properties and the value up to which these are exempt. If a married couple are filing a joint petition in bankruptcy both of them can claim the exemptions in full. Thus, they are entitled to double exemptions. To more fully protect your properties against seizure and distribution in bankruptcy, it is best to consult with a New York Bankruptcy Attorney.

General rule

Under 5205 of NY CPLR, a debtor can protect only up to a value of $10,000 of the items listed.  The exempt value can be applied to protect personal property, savings deposits or income tax refunds.


Under the New York Homestead Exemption, a person’s primary residence or home is exempt from seizure and distribution to his creditors so long as the home does not exceed the following amounts.  The exempt value of the homes depends upon the county where it is located.

If the house, condominium, co-op or mobile home used as residence of the debtor is located in Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties, it is exempt up to a value of $150,000.  If the residence is found in Duchess, Albany, Columbia, Orange, Saratoga and Ulster counties, it is exempt up to a value of $125,000.  In all other counties of the state, homes are exempt up to the value of $75,000.

Personal properties

Under 5205 NY CPLR, personal properties such as stoves, heating equipment, fuel for heating, sewing machine, religious books, family photos and portraits, school books, seats or pews for religious worship, food for the family for 120 days, clothing, furniture, refrigerator, radio, TV, computer, cell phone, kitchen wares, prescribed health aids, wedding rings, are all exempt from seizure and distribution to creditors in bankruptcy.

Books with a value of up to $500 are exempt, domestic animals with a value of up to $1000 are exempt; watches, jewelry and art with a value of up to $1000 are also exempt. Necessary tools, professional instruments, implements, machinery and even furniture and library which are necessary to carry out the debtor’s profession are also exempt from seizure and distribution to his creditors.

Cars and other motor vehicles are exempt up to a value of $4,000.  If a car is fitted for the use of a disabled debtor, the motor vehicle is exempt up to the value of $10,000.

Under Banking 407, deposits made by the creditor of up to $600 are protected from seizure and distribution.

Wages, pensions and social security benefits

Under 5205 NY CPLR, ninety percent of the debtor’s income received within 60 days from the filing of the bankruptcy petition is exempted. If the debtor is a non-commissioned officer, private or musician of the armed forces, his wages are exempted up to 100%.  Pension and retirement plans, unemployment, disability, workers’ compensation, veteran’s benefits and public assistance benefits are exempt from distribution in bankruptcy.  Money received from alimony, maintenance or child support is also protected from bankruptcy.


If the debtor holds security deposits on rents received from real estate, these are exempt.  If the debtor holds a tuition savings program or is receiving trust fund payments for the benefit of a minor, these are exempt up to a value of $10,000. The cash surrender value of insurance policies is also exempt.  A burial plot in a cemetery as long as it does not exceed 1/4 of an acre is also exempt.

We at the Maxwell Law Firm, PLLC assist client debt settlement, foreclosure defense, tax collection defense, filing for chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy and mortgage home loan modifications. Contact us and speak to our competent and experienced New York Bankruptcy Attorney so that you can get the debt relief you are seeking. Please give us a call at 718-701-0095 to discuss your options.

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