Lawyer for Bankruptcy Looks Longingly at New Massachusetts Exemptions

March 18, 2012 1:56 pm Published by

Having just last week answered one Bankruptcy in Indiana reader’s question about exemptions in our state, I couldn’t help feeling a bit jealous of residents of the state of Massachusetts who file personal bankruptcy there.

Since I’ve served as a debt consolidation lawyer and bankruptcy attorney in Indiana for more than twenty-five years, and since I actually was called upon to help write the exemptions portion of the new bankruptcy laws of Indiana, I shouldn’t complain.  Fact is, the vast majority of the tens of thousands of individuals whom I’ve helped file bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Indiana at the four Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices did not have any of their assets liquidated in order to pay creditors.

Still, as my colleague the Columbus bankruptcy lawyer pointed out, in Massachusetts the exemption numbers are far more generous than the ones we deal with when debtors file individual bankruptcy in Indiana.

  • The Homestead Exemption in Indiana is $17,600 per person (double that if spouses co-own the home). Compare that to a $500,000 exemption in Massachusetts. A large part of my work involves help to stop foreclosure.
  • For automobiles, which have no specific exemption in Indiana (just part of the Wild Card Exemption), Massachusetts gives a $7,500 exemption. Another big part of my work is helping people recover automobiles that have been repossessed. Remember, a car loan is a secured loan and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy the same way unsecured loans are.
  • For wages, in Indiana, debtors are allowed to keep only $350 a month in income (over approved expenses); in Massachusetts they’re allowed to keep 85% of income.

Another difference is that, in Massachusetts, debtors are allowed to choose between the federal exemptions and the exemptions in their state.  Here in Indiana we use only the state exemptions.

When it comes to public benefits, interesting enough, Indiana bankruptcy exemptions (for either bankruptcy Chapter 7 or under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law) are more liberal than Massachusetts law.  Massachusetts law exempts 100% of five types of public benefits:

  1. Public assistance benefits
  2.  Workers’ compensation benefits
  3.  Unemployment compensation benefits
  4. Aid to families with dependent children benefits
  5. Veterans’ benefits

The new bankruptcy laws of Indiana, by contrast, provide exemptions for all of these five, plus crime victims’ benefits, and benefits for police officers, sheriffs, and state teachers.  In addition, the Wildcard Exemption, which all good bankruptcy attorneys in Indiana find very useful on behalf of clients, does not exist in Massachusetts.

So, after all these years offering bankruptcy services in Indiana, do you see me packing my bags and moving to Massachusetts? Not a chance!



Categorised in:

This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

Comments are closed here.