Exemptions are laws that allow a debtor to protect certain assets in bankruptcy. Since Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy applying the correct exemption to a debtor's property is very important.
There are several exemptions in Oregon that are available to debtors. The most common ones are:
1) Vehicle - $3,000;
2) Equity in Homestead - $40,000 (or $50,000 for joint debtors);
3) Wages owed at time of filing, or wages held - 75%;
4) Tools of Trade - $5,000;
5) Clothing/Jewelry - $1,800;
6) Books, Pictures, Musical Instruments - $600;
7) Household Goods - $3,000;
8) Personal Injury Awards - $10,000;
9) Animals - $1,000;
10) Erisa Qualified Retirement Accounts - 100%;
11) Earned Income Tax Credits - 100%;
12) Child Support/Alimony - 100%
The law can be confusing on what exemptions to use. For example, if you file your bankruptcy in Oregon, you may not be entitled to Oregon exemptions if you haven't lived in Oregon for the last 2 years consecutively.
Some of the above exemptions may be doubled if a debtor files a joint case with their spouse.
Since exemption laws can be tricky it is smart to contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney that knows which exemptions to apply and how to properly apply them to your case.
For more information about bankruptcy in Oregon and Washington visit www.pacificbankruptcy.com