I’m just wild about the “wildcard” bankruptcy exemption!  In case you don’t know, when you file for bankruptcy, you are allowed to protect a certain amount of property that you need to work and maintain a basic standard of living — such as your car, household possessions, clothing, and tools.  But sometimes you have other valuable property that is not considered to be a necessity of life, but which would be difficult or heart breaking for you to part with — a family heirloom or a valuable collection (comic books, anyone?) for example.  The “wildcard” exemption can step in and save those things for you that would otherwise be sold to pay back your creditors.

The “wildcard” exemption is part of the federal bankruptcy exemption scheme as well as many state exemption schemes; which one you can use depends upon where you live and which scheme you and your attorney choose to follow.  The federal “wildcard” exemption is currently $1,250 plus up to $11,850 of any unused portion of the federal homestead exemption (more about that later in another blog post).  So if you have no equity in a home to protect, your “wildcard” exemption can be as high as $13,100.  And you can use that to protect anything not otherwise protected — money in bank account, jewelry, a non exempt portion of a car, tools, or even that comic book collection!

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