Major exemptions available when filing for bankruptcy in New York are listed below. New York has opted to allow its residents to utilize the federal exemptions, so New York citizens may use either the federal exemptions or the exemptions listed below. However, you must be a resident of New York for at least three years and four months in order to use New York’s state exemptions.

A lawyer should be consulted to determine the particulars of each exemption and to determine all available exemptions that may be filed.

1) Homestead (equity in dwelling used as residence)

  • Up to $150,000 for NYC counties, Suffolk, Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties
  • $125,000 for Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Saratoga, and Ulster counties
  • Up to $75,000 for all other counties
  • Up to 1,000 in “wildcard” if homestead exemption is unused. Wildcard can be used to protect any property of the debtor’s choice.

2) Equity in automobile

  • Up to $4,000 in value in one motor vehicle

3) Personal property

  • Household items (Family pictures, school supplies, clothes, etc.)
  • Religious text, schoolbooks, pictures, church seat, home heating equipment for 120 days and sewing machine up to $5,000 in value
  • Furniture, cooking utensils, clothes, TV, and refrigerator up to $5,000 in value
  • One computer and associated equipment
  • One cell phone
  • All prescribed health aids
  • An animal with food for 120 days up to $1,000 in value
  • 120 days of food
  • Jewelry, art and other heirlooms not to exceed $1,000
  • Wedding ring up to $5,000 in value and a watch up to $35 in value

4) Tools of the trade

  • Up to $600 in value

5) Insurance

  • Disability benefits up to $400 per month in value
  • Annuity contract benefits up to $5,000 in value
  • Unmatured life insurance is also usually exempt, but exceptions apply

6) Pensions

  • ERISA qualified benefits needed for support
  • State employees
  • Public retirement benefits
  • IRA’s needed for support
  • Village police officers

7) Public benefits

8) Alimony and child support

  • Amount reasonably necessary for support of debtor and dependents

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Bankruptcy is a very complicated process and filing an exemption incorrectly can lead to that property being seized, even if the property would have been exempt had the exemption been filed correctly. The New York bankruptcy exemption statute must be used when filing for exemptions.

A bankruptcy lawyer knows the particulars of filing for bankruptcy and can recommend what chapter of bankruptcy is right for you, and also ensure that your exemptions are filed correctly. A qualified New York bankruptcy lawyer can provide you more information if there is a legal basis for your bankruptcy case.