Many of Delaware’s most common bankruptcy exemptions are listed below. Under Delaware law, only the state’s exemption system may be used when filing bankruptcy. Note that in Delaware, for a single person, personal property or equity in real property other than a primary residence may not exceed $25,000 in total exemptions. Exemption amounts may be higher for married couples.
• Homestead (equity in dwelling used as residence)
• Equity in automobile
– Up to $15,000 in value in one motor vehicle used as a “tool of the trade”
• Personal property
– Family bible, school books, and family library
– Family pictures
– A seat or pew in any church or place of public worship
– Lot in a burial ground
– Family clothing
– Sewing machines
– 85% of wages for labor or services
• Tools of the Trade
– $15,000 in tools of the trade, which must include any vehicle used for work
– Life insurance proceeds
– Group life insurance policies
• Pensions and retirement
– IRAs and other retirement plans
– Annuity contracts
– State employee pensions
– Police and volunteer firefighter pensions
• Public benefits
– Public assistance
– Social security
– Veteran’s benefits
– $500 in personal property for “head of household”
How Does the Wildcard Exemption Work?
The wildcard exemption can be used by the debtor to save any personal property. The catch is that the debtor can only save up to $500.
Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
If you are filing for bankruptcy in Delaware and have questions about how to move forward with the process, you may wish to consult a bankruptcy attorney who can offer guidance about state law and help you keep some of your property and other assets.