January 24, 2017
Like all states, Michigan has its own set of exemptions that you can use when filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you can keep in a Chapter 7 case, and how much you must pay to certain creditors if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In Michigan, you can choose between the Michigan state exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. However, you cannot mix and match from each list. If you choose to use the Michigan state exemptions, you can also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Michigan, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”
All law references are to the Michigan Compiled Laws (Mich. Comp. Laws) unless otherwise noted.
600.5451 - Real property, including condominium, up to $37,775 (if over 65 or disabled, up to $56,650). Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim the exemption. Unmarried co-owners and spouses may not double. Tenancies by the entirety are exempt without limit as to debts of one spouse.
600.5451 - Clothing; household goods, furniture, jewelry, appliances, utensils and books up to $600 each or $3,775 total; food and fuel to last six months; family pictures; church pew, slip or seat up to $650 for the entire family (cannot double); professional prescribed health aids; motor vehicle up to $3,475; household pets up to $650; crops, feed and animals up to $2,525; computer and accessories up to $650; burial plots and burial rights.
600.5311 - 60% of earned but unpaid wages for the head of household; 40% for others; subject to following minimums: $15 per week plus $2 per week for each dependent other than the spouse for the head of household; $10 per week for others.
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 $1,283,025. (This amount is set by federal law. See Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for updates on this dollar amount.)
38.559 - Firefighters, police officers.
38.2308 - Judges and probate judges.
38.1057 - Legislators.
38.1346 - Public school employees.
38.40 - State employees.
600.5451 - ERISA-qualified benefits as well as IRAs and Roth IRAS, except contributions within last 120 days.
18.362 - Crime victims' compensation.
35.1027 - Vietnam veterans' benefits.
35.926 - Veterans' benefits for WWII veterans.
35.977 - Korean War veterans' benefits.
400.63 - Welfare benefits.
418.821 - Workers' compensation.
421.30 - Unemployment compensation.
Tools of Trade
600.5451 - Tools, implements, materials, stock, apparatus, and other things needed to carry on an occupation up to $2,525 total.
600.5451 - Arms and accouterments you are required to keep.
500.2207 - Life insurance.
500.2210 - Trust funds or life insurance policies that are employer-sponsored.
500.4054 - Insurance proceeds held by an insurer.
500.8181 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
600.5451 - Disability, mutual life, or health benefits.
449.25 - Particular business partnership property.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
The Michigan exemption statute can be found at the Michigan Legislature.
The Michigan Department of Treasury adjusts the Michigan exemption amounts every three years for inflation, starting in 2005. The last adjustment was in April 2014; the next adjustment will be in April 2017. You can find the most recently updated figures at the Michigan Department of Treasury in the Economic Reports section.