Updated February 7, 2019
You won’t lose everything when filing for bankruptcy in Maine. You’ll be able to use Maine’s bankruptcy exemptions to protect property you’ll need to work and live, such as your home, personal items, and a retirement account.
Some states allow residents to choose between the state and the federal bankruptcy exemptions, but that option isn’t available in Maine. You’ll use Maine’s state exemptions and, if helpful, the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, the state exemption system, and the homestead exemption rules, read Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Here are some of the more common exemptions in Maine. When reviewing them, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:
14-4422 – Equity in real property used as a residence up to $47,500. The exemption amount increases to $95,000 if the filer is over 60 years of age, has a disability, or has a minor dependent living in the residence.
14-4422 – Equity in one motor vehicle up to $7,500.
14-4422(15) - Up to $400 of any property of the filer’s choosing.
14-4422 – A filer can use up to $6,000 of an unused homestead exemption for any of the following: jewelry, tools of trade, personal injury recoveries, or household goods & furnishings, clothing, appliances, books, animals, crops, and musical instruments.
14-4422 - Cooking stove; furnaces and stoves for heat; food to last six months; fuel not to exceed five tons of coal, 1,000 gallons of oil, or ten cords of wood; health aids; one wedding ring & one engagement ring; other jewelry up to $750; up to $200 per item for each of the following: household goods & furnishings, clothing, appliances, books, animals, crops, and musical instruments; lost earnings payments needed for support; feed, seed, fertilizer, tools and equipment to raise and harvest food for one season; wrongful death recoveries needed for support; personal injury recoveries up to $12,500. Burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor, in lieu of homestead exemption.
37-B-262 - Military arms, clothes, and equipment.
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 maximum. (This amount is set by federal law. See Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for updates on this dollar amount.)
3-703 - Legislators.
4-1203 - Judges.
5-17054 - State employees.
14-4422 – Retirement funds up to $1,000,000.
14-4422 - Unemployment compensation, veterans' benefits, Social Security, and crime victims' compensation; earned income and child tax credits; federal, state, or local public assistance benefits.
22-3180 - Public assistance.
26-1411-H - Maintenance under the Rehabilitation Act.
39-A-106 - Workers' compensation.
Tools of Trade
14-4422 - Books, materials, and stock up to $5,000; one of each type of farm implement necessary to raise and harvest crops; one boat not to exceed five tons used in commercial fishing.
Alimony and Child Support
14-4422 - Alimony and child support needed for support.
14-4422 - Unmatured life insurance policy (except credit insurance); matured life insurance policy, dividends, interest, or loan value for a person you depended on up to $4,000.
24-A-2428 - Life, annuity, accident, or endowment policy, proceeds, dividends, interest, loan, cash, or surrender value.
24-A-2429 - Disability or health insurance proceeds, avails or benefits.
24-A-2430 - Group life or health policy or proceeds.
24-A-2431 - Annuity proceeds up to $450 per month.
24-A-4118 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
25-1612 - Death benefits for police, fire, or emergency medical personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty.
Add any applicable federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Some people can keep all assets, but that isn’t always true. Here’s what will happen to nonexempt property:
You’ll learn more about Chapter 7 and 13 in Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Maine. However, doesn’t include all exemptions. Also, states often create qualification requirements for specific exemptions, and Maine might have changed the amounts since this list was last updated. Check the Maine Revised Statutes or with a local bankruptcy lawyer.