Maryland Bankruptcy Exemptions

January 26, 2017

Like all states, Maryland has its own set of exemptions that you can use when filing for bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you can 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 can 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 can 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 Code of Maryland (Md. Code Ann.).

Homestead

Property that you occupy to $23,675 (spouses cannot double this amount), including a manufactured home permanently affixed to real estate. (Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(f)(1)(i)(2) & 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(B))

Equity in property held by a married couple as tenants by the entirety might have additional protections. For instance, it can be used to pay joint debts owed by both spouses only. For additional information, you should seek legal counsel.

Personal Property

Bus. Reg. 5-503 - Burial plot or crypt.

Educ. 18-1913 - Prepaid college trust funds.

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(b)(2) - Payments due to sickness, accident, injury, or death.

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(b)(3) - Prescribed health aids.

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(b)(4) - Clothing, household goods, furnishings, appliances, books, and pets up to $1,000 total.

Wages

Com. Law 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 (plus medical payments deducted by an employer); in all other counties, the greater of 75% or $145 per week (plus medical payments deducted by an employer). 

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) and IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283,025.

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

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(h)) - ERISA-qualified benefits, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, and Keoghs.

Public Benefits

Lab. & Empl. 8-106 - Unemployment compensation.

Lab. & Empl. 9-732 - Workers' compensation.

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

Human Serv. 5-407(a)(1), (2) - Public assistance benefits.

Tools of Trade

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(b)(1) - Tools, books, instruments, appliances, and clothing needed for work up to $5,000.

Insurance

Ins. 8-431 & Est. & Trusts 8-115 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

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

Miscellaneous

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(b)(6) - Court-ordered child support.

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(b)(7) - Alimony to the same extent that wages are exempt.

Corps. & Ass'ns 9A-502 - Specific partnership property.

Wildcard

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

Cts. & Jud. Proc. 11-504(f)(1)(i)(1) - Personal property other than real estate 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, but not all. Additionally, you might be required to meet particular conditions before the exemption will apply, and the amounts might have changed since this list was last updated. To ensure that you're fully protecting your property, it would be prudent to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney. 

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