Virginia Bankruptcy Exemption List

Only State Exemptions Allowed

Virginia has developed their own list of bankruptcy exemptions and federal exemptions are not allowed. Exemptions were created to help you keep certain assets such public benefits, personal property, wages, pensions or part of your homestead to help you start over after you file bankruptcy.

If you are required to use the state exemption list there may a few federal supplemental exemptions which are allowed. There will not be a matching exemption for all of your property. There also may be certain residency requirements to use the state exemption list. Talk to a Virginia Bankruptcy Attorney about allowable exemptions prior to filing bankruptcy.

Exemptions Exemption Amount Statutes
Homestead

$5000 plus $500 per dependent; may also claim rents & profits; sale proceeds exempt to $5000 (husband and wife may double), Cheeseman v. Nachman, 656 F. 2d 60 (4th Cir. 1981); unused portion of homestead may be applied to any personal property

May include mobile home

Must file homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy

Property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse
34-4,
34-18,
34-20
In re Goad, 161 B.R. 161
(W.D. Va. 1993)
34-6
In re Harris, 155 B.R. 948
(E.D. Va. 1993)
Miscellaneous Property of business partnership 50-25

Pensions

Also see wages

City, town & county employees

ERISA-qualified benefits to $17,500 per year

Judges

State employees
51.1-802
34-34
51.1-102
51.1-102
Insurance

Accident or sickness benefits

Burial society benefits

Cooperative life insurance benefits

Fraternal benefit society benefits

Group life or accident insurance for government employees

Group life insurance policy or proceeds

Industrial sick benefits
38.2-3549
38.2-4021
38.2-3811
38.2-4118
51.1-510
38.2-3339
38.2-3549
Personal Property
You must be a householder to exempt any personal property

Bible

Burial plot

Clothing to $1000

Family portraits and heirlooms to $5000 total

Health aids

Household furnishings to $5000

Motor vehicle to $2000

Personal injury causes of action

Personal injury recoveries
Pets

Wedding and engagement rings
34-26(1)
34-26(3)
34-26(4)
34-26(2)
34-26(6)
34-26(4) (a)
34-26(8)
34-28.1
34-28.1
34-26(5)
34-26(1) (a)
Public Benefits

Aid to blind, aged, disabled, AFDC, general relief

Crime victims’ compensation unless seeking to discharge debt for treatment of injury incurred during crime

Unemployment compensation

Workers’ compensation
63.1-88
19.2-368.12
60.2-600
65.2-531
Tools of Trade

Horses, mules, (pair) with gear, wagon or cart, tractor to $3000, plows (2), drag, harvest, cradle, pitchfork, rake, iron wedges (2), fertilizer to $1000 of farmer (you must be a householder)

Tools, books and instruments of trade, including motor vehicles, to $10,000, needed in your occupation or education (you must be a householder)

Uniforms, arms, equipment of military member
34-27
34-26
44-96
Wages Minimum 75% of earned but unpaid wages, pension payments; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors 34-29
Wild Card

Unused portion of homestead, of any personal property

$2000 of any property for disabled veterans (you must be a householder)

34-13

34-4.1
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