What can I keep if I have not lived in MS for 2 years?

If you moved to Mississippi within 730 days prior to the filing of a bankruptcy petition, then you have to look at where you lived during the 180 days (approximately 6 months) prior to the date that is 730 days (approximately 2 years) before the filing date.  The state that you lived in more than any other during that 6 months period controls what exemptions you use.

Some states allow federal exemptions for anyone, and most of the states that limit the use of federal exemptions still allow you to claim federal exemptions if you are not a resident of that state.  If you now live in Mississippi, then you are not a resident of the prior state any more, thus in the vast majority of cases, you can use the exemption scheme of the prior state in which you resided or you can use federal exemptions to claim the items that you can keep.

There are a few states, including California, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri and Nebraska as of the date that this entry was made, that do not allow the use of federal exemptions at all.  Thus, if you have moved from one of those states in the past two years, then you may be required to use the specific state exemptions allowed in that state.  Although California prohibits anyone from using Federal exemptions, a debtor is given two series of statutes to chose from in determining what to exempt.  One series of statutes mirrors the federal exemption statutes.  It is important to obtain the advise of a qualified bankruptcy attorney about this issue if a person has moved to the state where he/she is filing a bankruptcy within the past 2 years as the state from which he/she has moved may have changed the laws of that state since this entry was posted on this site.

The most commonly used FEDERAL EXEMPTIONS LAWS under 11 U.S.C. § 522 are:

Please note that the dollar amounts change every three years in April. The dollar amounts shown here became effective on April 1, 2013.  We may not have updated the dollar limits for each provision.  Thus, a review of § 522 of the Bankruptcy Code should be made before filing a bankruptcy case.

Retirement funds to the extent that those funds are in a fund or account that is exempt from taxation under section 401, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. (Note: this exemption applies in all states in all cases and was added by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005.)

In each of the following exemptions, the amounts can be doubled if a husband and wife are filing jointly, or in the alternative, each of them can claim up to the total of the allowed exemption. Example, a husband can claim one vehicle as exempt under 522(d)(2) and his wife can claim a second vehicle as exempt under that statute.

(1) Up to $22,975.00 in value, in real property (land and home) or personal property (most commonly a mobile home, but this could be an RV or a boat if the item is the debtor’s residence) that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor. 11 U.S.C. 522(d)(1)

(2) Up to $3,225.00 in value, in one motor vehicle. 11 U.S.C. 522(d)(2) It is not uncommon for a debtor to have equity in a vehicle that exceeds $3675.00. However, the excess value can be claimed exempt under the Wild Card exemption set out below.

(3) Up to $575.00 in value in any particular item or $12,250.00 in aggregate value, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments, that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor. Most items owned by a debtor such as furniture and appliances will be worth less than $525.00 as used items and it is extremely rare for debtors to own more than $10,775.00 in total value (or $21,550.00 total value for a husband and wife filing jointly). 11 U.S.C. §522(d)(3)

(4) Up to $1,550.00 in value, in jewelry held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor. 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(4) (See Wild Card exemption if jewelry values exceed $1,350.00.)

(5) Wild Card exemption: Up to $1,225 .00 in value plus up to $11,500.00 of any unused amount of the exemption provided under paragraph (1) of this subsection. This means that if you have not used the full amount of the exemption allowed for your residence, then you can use up to $11,500.00 of that exemption as a wild card exemption plus the $1,225.00 that everyone is allowed. Example: If a single bankruptcy filer lives in a home worth $100,000.00 with a $85,000.0 mortgage, then he/she will use $15,000.00 of the $22,975.00 exemption for his/her personal residence leaving $7,975.00 for the wild card. Then that person will have $7,975.00 plus $1,225.00 for a total of $9,200.00 in value to use on any item or items that he/she chooses.) 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(5)

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