Like all states, Maine 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 Maine is not one of them. In Maine, 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 Maine, 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?
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.
14-4422 - Real property used as residence up to $47,500 (up to $95,000 if over 60 or disabled or if the debtor has a minor dependant who lives in the residence). Includes co-op. Sale proceeds for 6 months.
9-A-5-103 - Balance due on repossessed goods, provided total amount financed is not more than $2,000.
14-4422 - Motor vehicle up to $5,000; cooking stove; furnaces and stoves for heat; food to last 6 months; fuel not to exceed 5 tons of coal, 1,000 gallons of oil, or 10 cords of wood; health aids; 1 wedding ring & 1 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 1 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 $1,171,150.
3-703 - Legislators.
4-1203 - Judges.
5-17054 - State employees.
14-4422 - ERISA-qualified benefits needed for support
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; 1 of each type of farm implement necessary to raise and harvest crops; 1 boat not to exceed 5 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 person you depended upon 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.
14-4422(15) - $400 of any property.
14-4422 - Unused homestead to $6,000, to be used for any of the following: jewelry, tools of trade, personal injury recoveries, or household goods & furnishings, clothing, appliances, books, animals, crops, and musical instruments.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Maine. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Maine 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.