Many individuals who struggle to pay their debt avoid filing for bankruptcy because they worry that they will lose their home, vehicle and other assets. In fact, New York residents can keep a certain amount of personal property, called exemptions, in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Learn more about types of available bankruptcy exemptions in New York.

Homestead exemption

If you own a home, condo or co-op and primarily reside in that property, you can keep all or part of your real estate equity when you file for bankruptcy. The current maximum limit is $170,825 for residents of Richmond, Queens, New York, Bronx and other surrounding counties. If your home equity exceeds that threshold, the court will require you to apply the excess funds to debt repayment.

Motor vehicle exemption

You can exempt up to $4,550 in equity in a car or motor vehicle. If you have a disability, the exemption threshold for a specially equipped, accessible motor vehicle rises to $11,375.

Other personal property exemptions

In addition to your home and vehicle, you can exempt the following items from your bankruptcy filing in New York:

  • Rental security deposits, medical devices, service animals, insurance policies and college savings trusts up to a maximum of $11,375
  • A savings account of up to $600
  • A burial plot of up to 0.25 acres
  • Tools or equipment you use to earn a living, up to a maximum of $3,400
  • Court-ordered spousal support and child support payments
  • Benefits from your retirement plan, unemployment insurance, disability, Social Security, workers’ compensation benefits, public assistance and/or veteran benefits
  • A personal injury settlement up to a maximum of $8,550
  • 90% of the income you earned within 60 days before the bankruptcy filing

Married couples filing for joint bankruptcy can typically double these exemption amounts. In addition, you can use a wildcard exemption of $1,150 to cover any personal property as long as you do not also use the homestead exemption.