Lawyer John R. Bates of New Philadelphia, Ohio, has published a new website, ExemptionsExpress.Com, which is a phenominal resource for consumer bankruptcy attorneys. He has spent hours and hours compiling the exemption laws for all 50 states.
“Exemptions are the lists of the kinds and values of property that is legally beyond the reach of creditors or the bankruptcy trustee,” according to Cathy Moran. “The debtor in bankruptcy keeps the exempt property. What property may be exempted is determined by state and federal statutes, and varies from state to state.”
Bates says the purpose of this website is to assist the attorney for an individual debtor:
- To determine what exemptions (federal, state, or both) are available to that debtor;
- To determine what, if any, territorial limitations there may be on use of those exemptions; and
- To provide statutory and case law in support of those determinations.
Knowing the exemption laws of other states became a necessity for consumer bankruptcy attorneys with the enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). The so-called reform of bankruptcy law attempts to prevent debtors from moving to another state to take advantage of more liberal exemption laws in the new state. Look back and waiting periods were created before the debtor can claim his new state’s exemptions when filing for bankruptcy relief.
WARNING: Exemption law is very complicated. Debtors should not try to interpret exemption laws for themselves without advice from an experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney. Mistakes in exemption planning and declaration can cause debtors to lose property.