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What Does it Mean When Property is “Exempt?"

Oct. 18, 2022

Property that is exempt are assets that are protected after you file. In other words, you cannot lose exempt property in a bankruptcy case. Fortunately, a St. Louis bankruptcy lawyer can evaluate your bankruptcy case and ensure that all of your eligible property is protected. 

An Explanation of Exemptions  

When many people hear the term "bankruptcy," their minds may go to the popular board game Monopoly, where if you lose the game, you literally lose it all - your property, your money…everything! But, in real life, it doesn't really work that way. 

Chapter 7 Exemptions 

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then there is actually a very good chance of you keeping all of your assets. According to, a trusted group of financial experts that advise everyday folks about issues such as bankruptcy, over 90% of people who opt for Chapter 7 won’t have their assets sold by a court trustee. When hiring a lawyer, that number should go up even higher towards 100%.   

Chapter 13 Exemptions 

Although with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your non-exempt property won't be sold, you still would be required to pay the equal value of that property towards any creditors you currently owe who do not have any collateral tied to the debt. This is not something that you would have to pay all at once, and your payments can be stretched out in most instances over the course of a 36 to 60-month schedule. It is important to consult with a lawyer to know how much you would have to pay your unsecured debt if you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

What Qualifies as Non-Exempt Property?  

According to Legal Consumer, in the State of Missouri, there are no federal exemptions for bankruptcy, but there are others. For example, Missouri has what is called a "homestead exemption," where you can guard your home's equity up to $15,000.  

The Show-Me State also has an exemption for cars, trucks, and SUVs that will protect your much-needed mode of transportation while you are going through your repayment period. The vehicle's equity would be protected up to $3,000 with this exemption. There are exemptions for furniture, electronics, household goods, firearms, jewelry, clothing etc.  There's also a "wildcard exemption" where you can choose to keep in your possession any non-exempt property of yours up to $600. If you have children, there are further exemptions that can be applied to your property. It is very important to talk to a lawyer to confirm that your assets are protected.   

Contact Your Trusted St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney Today 

I understand that filing for bankruptcy, whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is a transitional period in your life that can give you a fresh start. But, I also realize after handling these cases personally over the last 10+ years that clients such as yourself need to be guided by a legal representative who actually takes heart when it comes to your situation. 

That being said, don’t hesitate to contact me anytime, 24/7 at AKS Law by calling me directly at (314) 866-3955.