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Bankruptcy Exemptions

Answers from an Appleton Bankruptcy Lawyer – (888) 782-9423

When you file for bankruptcy, one of your major concerns will be what happens to your property. You have probably heard stories of a bankruptcy trustee taking everything away from hardworking people like yourself. While this possibility is frightening it is somewhat uncommon. The truth is you can probably keep your property by using the bankruptcy exemptions Wisconsin offers and through careful exemption planning by an experienced Wisconsin-licensed bankruptcy attorney.

To utilize and maximize your bankruptcy exemptions, come to Sapinski Law Office, S.C. My name is Andrew Sapinski, and I am a bankruptcy attorney in Appleton with more than 20 years of practice experience under my belt. Throughout my career, I have been there for thousands of clients in situations very much like yours. I always prioritize client satisfaction, which means using bankruptcy exemptions to their fullest extent. My goal is to eliminate as much of your debt as we can while also protecting as much of your property as possible.


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Using Wisconsin or Federal Exemptions

Exemptions allow you to keep specific items of property, so long as they don’t exceed a certain amount. This amount is called the exemption limit. When you file for bankruptcy in Wisconsin, you can decide to use federal exemption limits or the State of Wisconsin’s own exemption limits. This is a tremendous benefit to you, the bankruptcy filer, as limits differ with each exemption scheme. For example, the Wisconsin scheme has a higher homestead exemption which allows you to protect more equity in your home. On the other hand, the federal scheme provides a large “wild card exemption” that allows one to protect more funds in a checking account than the Wisconsin scheme. Many states in the country prohibit their citizens from using federal bankruptcy exemptions. Work with me, your trusted Appleton bankruptcy lawyer, and I can help you figure-out which set of exemptions saves you the most.

Wisconsin’s exemptions limits are also higher than the limits of many states. For individuals filing bankruptcy Wisconsin’s most valuable state exemptions are:

  • Homestead exemption: $75,000
  • Motor vehicle exemption: $4,000
  • Consumer goods exemption: $12,000
  • Savings and checking exemptions: $5,000
  • Personal injury award exemption: $50,000
  • Retirement accounts: Varies but generally lenient

Federal exemptions change with cost of living increases and, for individuals who file, are currently set at:

  • Homestead exemption: $23,675
  • Wild card exemption: $1,250, with additional $11,850 of unused homestead exemption
  • Motor vehicle exemption: $3,775
  • Household goods exemption: $12,625
  • Jewelry exemption: $1,600
  • Personal injury award exemption: $23,675
  • Retirement accounts: Varies but generally lenient

It is also worth noting these exemptions effectively double if you file for bankruptcy jointly with your spouse. One can only use one exemption scheme a bankruptcy case is filed. You cannot benefit by using both the Wisconsin and federal exemptions in the same case. Exemptions may make the decision of what Chapter to file under — such as Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 — easier as Trustee’s won’t seize non-exempt property in Chapter 13. It is my goal to make certain you know your options and make the best possible choice for you. No one who comes to my firm is given impersonal, uncaring representation — that is my promise to you.

If you meet with your attorney and it is determined assets are not exempt, you can use exemption planning to protect what you have. However you should never start this process without the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If exemption planning is not done property, you can be accused of bankruptcy fraud and denied a bankruptcy discharge. Never sell or transfer assets without first speaking with an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney.

Talk to an Appleton bankruptcy lawyer from my firm today at (888) 782-9423 to begin.

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