The list below contains some of the most common bankruptcy exemptions provided by the state exemption guidelines in Idaho. While reviewing this list of assets, it is very important that a debtor keep in mind that some of these exemptions may increase in value for those who are married and filing a petition for joint bankruptcy with their spouse. 

It also should be noted that unlike many other states, Idaho has chosen to opt out of the federal bankruptcy exemption rules. Instead, Idaho has created its own set of bankruptcy property exemptions under state law. Accordingly, if a debt intends to file for bankruptcy in Idaho, then they should contact a local bankruptcy lawyer prior to filing since they will already be familiar with the bankruptcy property exemption laws in the state of Idaho. 

The following is a list of some property and assets that may be exempted under Idaho bankruptcy exemptions, such as:

  • The Idaho homestead exemption: According to Idaho bankruptcy exemption guidelines, the Idaho homestead exemption offers a maximum exemption of up to $175,000 in equity for a primary residence or mobile home. In contrast to the bankruptcy property exemptions enacted by other states, Idaho does not adjust this figure in accordance with the number of persons filing for bankruptcy.
    • For instance, whether a debtor files a petition for bankruptcy as a single individual without a family or files a joint petition for bankruptcy with their spouse, the homestead exemption will remain at the maximum amount of $175,000 in equity. In other states, however, the homestead exemption may double in value if a debtor files a joint petition for bankruptcy with their spouse. This is also true under the federal exemption statute.
  • Exemption for motor vehicles: A debtor may be able to claim an exemption of up to $10,000 in value for a single motor vehicle. This means that if a debtor owes more than $10,000 on their motor vehicle, then this exemption can be used to protect their car from seizure by creditors.
    • On the other hand, if a debtor has almost paid off their car or owes less than $10,000, then the bankruptcy trustee appointed to their case can force them to sell their car to pay off their creditors and satisfy their remaining debts.
  • Personal property exemption in Idaho: There are some items of personal property in Idaho that may qualify for an unlimited exemption, such as burial plots, recovery from wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits that is used for support, and medical devices. There are also certain items of personal property that are not eligible for an unlimited exemption, but may qualify for an exemption up to a particular amount. Some items that qualify for this exemption up to a certain amount include:
    • Furniture, household goods, appliances, family heirlooms or portraits, musical instruments, clothes, pets, books, jewelry, crops, firearms, and health aids. Each of these items of property may also have a set limitation placed upon them. For example, the collective amount permitted for jewelry in Idaho is a $1,000 exemption. 
  • Tools of the trade and wage exemptions: Tools of the trade exemption, such as equipment, books, and inventory used to perform a profession or trade, may be protected for up to a value of $10,000. As for the amount of wages that can be garnished, those cannot exceed a value of more than $2,500 in a calendar year.
  • Pension and retirement plan exemption: Certain pension and/or retirement plans may be eligible for an exemption, such as standard IRAs, Roth IRAs, ERISA funds, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, welfare benefits, veterans’ benefits, and Social Security benefits. Additionally, some benefits that are given to state workers (e.g., police and firefighters) may also be eligible for an exemption.
  • Insurance exemption: Idaho offers an unlimited exemption for benefits provided under a group life insurance policy, proceeds that stem from life insurance, fraternal benefits, society benefits, medical benefits, disability benefits, and various other forms of insurance necessary for support. 
  • Wildcard exemption in Idaho: The wildcard exemption applies to items of property that do not fall under any of the above categories or can be used when an item would exceed the amount permitted under its traditional category. The maximum amount of value that the wildcard exemption in Idaho can protect is $1,500 worth of tangible property items.

How Does the Wildcard Exemption Work?

In general, a wildcard exemption is a type of exemption that can be used to exclude tangible items of property. These either do not have a specific category dedicated to the type of property it is or would amount to more than the value that is permitted to be exempted under the particular category of property in which the item would normally be classified. 

For example, if the item is personal property, but exceeds the limit of Idaho’s bankruptcy exemption value for personal property, then a debtor may be able to have the item exempted using Idaho’s wildcard exemption. 

Another example would be if the item in question does not fall neatly into any of the categories provided by Idaho’s exemption guidelines. In such a scenario, a debtor could ask if the bankruptcy court would be willing to apply an exemption to that particular item of property. 

According to the recently updated statute, the wildcard exemption in Idaho state has been increased from a value of $800 to a maximum of $1,500 of tangible property that could be excluded under this category of Idaho state’s bankruptcy exemption guidelines.

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Generally speaking, the bankruptcy process requires you to have in-depth knowledge of both complex state and federal laws as well as intricate legal procedures. State property exemption guidelines, which make up a significant portion of many bankruptcy cases, are often one of the most confusing requirements associated with the bankruptcy process. 

However, such exemptions also happen to be one of the most important subjects in a bankruptcy case. Forgetting to include an asset that could have been exempted or wrongfully claiming that a property should be exempted when it should not, can lead to a number of different legal consequences, including a seizure of those assets.

In addition, the state bankruptcy exemption guidelines in Idaho can make this entire part of a bankruptcy case even more complicated due to the fact that it has requirements which differ from that of other states and the federal exemption statute. 

Therefore, if you need assistance in filing for bankruptcy or have any questions concerning state bankruptcy exemptions in Idaho, then you may want to consider hiring an Idaho bankruptcy lawyer for further legal guidance. 

An experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Idaho will be able to answer any questions you may have about the exemption laws in your state as well as those you have about the overall bankruptcy process. Your lawyer will also be able to review and discuss the types of assets that may be exempt based on the chapter of bankruptcy that you choose to file. 

In addition, your lawyer can also check that your assets are properly divided in accordance with Idaho state bankruptcy exemption laws and can help you in protecting certain items of property. Lastly, your lawyer will also be able to provide legal representation during any matters connected to your bankruptcy case, including even the 341 meeting of the creditors.