Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

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Like all states, Maryland has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions – but Maryland is not one of them. In Maryland, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Maryland, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”

To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy? 

Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Maryland Code of Courts & Judicial Proceedings.

Homestead

Property you occupy to $22,975 (spouses may double). Property held as tenancy in the entirety to unlimited amount as to debts of one spouse. 

Personal Property

Bus. Reg. 5-503 - Burial plot.

Bus. Reg. 5-602 - Perpetual care trust funds.

Educ. 18-1913 - Prepaid college trust funds.

11-504 - Clothing, household goods, furnishings, appliances, books, and pets up to $1,000 total; health aids; lost future earnings recoveries.

Wages

Comm. 15-601.1 - Earned but unpaid wages are exempt as follows: in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Worcester counties, the greater of 75% of actual wages or 30 times the federal minimum wage; in all other counties, the greater of 75% or $145 per week.

In re Stine, 360 F.3d 455 (4th Cir 2004); Bank of America v. Stine, 379 Md. 76, 839 A.2d 727, 729 (2003)

Pensions

11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans). 

11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,171,150.

State Pers. & Pen. 21-502 - State employees

11-504 - ERISA-qualified benefits, including IRAs, Roth IRAs and Keoghs.

Public Benefits

Labor & Employ. 8-106 - Unemployment compensation.

Labor & Employ. 9-732 - Workers' compensation.

Code of 1957 art. 24 16-103 - Baltimore police death benefits.

Crim. Proc. 11-816 - Crime victims' compensation.

Hmn. Servcs. 35-407(a)(1),(2) - Public assistance benefits.

Tools of Trade

11-504 - Tools, books, instruments, appliances, and clothing needed for work up to $5,000.

Insurance

Ins. 8-431 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

Ins. 16-111 - Life insurance or annuity contract proceeds, dividends, interest, loan, cash, or surrender value if beneficiary is a dependent of the insured.

Comm. 15-601.1 - Medical benefits deducted from wages as well as medical insurance payments up to $145 per week or 75% of disposable wages.

11-504 - Disability or health benefits.

Miscellaneous

11-504 - Child support and alimony to the same extent that wages are exempt.

Wildcard

11-504(b)(5) - $6,000 in cash or any property if claimed within 30 days of attachment or levy.

11-504(f) - Personal property up to $5,000 total.

Other 

Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Maryland. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Maryland may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated in June of 2011. Consider cross-checking this list with www.legalconsumer.com, which updates the state exemption amounts regularly, or check with your local bankruptcy court. 

by: , J.D.

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