Some of the most common bankruptcy exemptions in West Virginia are listed below. The amounts listed for these exemptions may be higher for married couples. West Virginia has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions, and has created its own exemptions under state law. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to consult a local attorney familiar with West Virginia laws. 

• Homestead (equity in dwelling used as residence)
– Up to $25,000 in homestead or burial plot
• Equity in automobile
– Up to $2,400 in equity in a vehicle
• Personal property
– Up to $8,000 in household goods, furnishing, musical instruments, books, clothing, appliances, animals, and crops (up to $400 per item)
– Up to $1,000 in jewelry
– Health aids
• Tools of the Trade
– Up to $1,500 in professional implements, books, and tools
• Wages
– 80% of earned but unpaid wages
• Insurance
– Group life insurance policy/proceeds
– Most unmatured life insurance contracts
– Life insurance proceeds for support, to the extent needed
– Life insurance dividends, interest, or value up to $8,000
– Fraternal benefit society benefits
– Health/disability benefits
• Pensions and retirement
– Tax exempt retirement accounts
– ERISA and IRA benefits as needed for support
– Public employee and teacher pensions
• Public benefits
– General assistance
Workers’ compensation
– Unemployment benefits
– Crime victims’ compensation
Social security
– Veterans’ benefits
• Alimony and child support
– Both alimony and child support needed for support
• Other
– Up to $15,000 in personal injury recoveries
– Wrongful death recoveries as needed for support
– Higher education tuition trust or savings plan payments
– Business partnership property
• Wildcard (exemption for property of your choice)
– Up to $800 in any property
– Unused portion of a homestead or burial plot exemption

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Due to the complicated nature of bankruptcy in West Virginia, it is a good idea to speak with a bankruptcy attorney before you file. Incomplete or inaccurate filings may result in seizure of exempt property, or in other financial losses.