Wisconsin Bankruptcy Exemptions

The State of Wisconsin has both federal and state bankruptcy exemptions available for those filing bankruptcy. A qualified Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney can help you evaluate your personal situation and determine which exemptions will help you keep more of your property and assets. Once you file bankruptcy, exempt property is protected from creditors and the bankruptcy estate.

There are some limits on certain exemptions, such as equity that you have in a home or in a vehicle. The difference between the cost of the item and the amount owed on it is the definition of equity. If the item is secured by a loan and payments are made on time, the equity is protected by your exemptions. A debtor must generally pay the trustee the value of the non-exempt property in order to keep the property. If you choose to keep the property, continual timely payments ensure protection of the property through bankruptcy.

Be aware that there are certain debts, which you will not be able to erase in bankruptcy. These are non-dischargeable debts.

This is a list of some of the available state exemptions in Wisconsin. A qualified Wisconsin bankruptcy lawyer in your area can help you determine which exemptions best fit your needs. They will be able to list and explain all of the state and federal exemptions.

The best way to determine which exemptions to utilize is to meet with a qualified and proven bankruptcy attorney who can evaluate your individual case and guide you through the process. Contact an attorney today.


Homestead: Property you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000; sale proceeds exempt for 2 years if you intend to purchase another home (husband and wife may not double)

Insurance: Fraternal benefit society benefits, Federal disability insurance benefits, Life insurance proceeds held in trust by insurer, if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary’s creditors, Life insurance proceeds for someone debtor depended on, needed for support, Un-matured life insurance contract (except credit insurance contract) if debtor owns contract and insured debtor or dependents, or someone debtor is dependent on, Un-matured life insurance contract’s accrued dividends, interest or loan value to $4,000 total, if debtor owns contract and insured is debtor, dependents or someone debtor depended on for support

Pensions: Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money-purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs and defined-benefit plans, Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person, Certain municipal employees, Firefighters, police officers who worked in city with population over 100,000, Military pensions, Public employees, Private or public retirement benefits

Miscellaneous: Alimony, child support needed for support, Property of business partnership

Personal Property: College savings accounts or tuition trust fund, Deposit accounts to $1,000, burial plot, tombstone, coffin Household goods and furnishings, clothing, keepsakes, jewelry, appliances, books, musical instruments, firearms, sporting goods, animals and other tangible personal property to $5,000 total, Fire and casualty proceeds for destroyed exempt property for 2 years from receiving, Motor vehicle to $1,200; unused portion of $5,000 personal property exemption may be added, Lost future earnings recoveries, needed for support, Personal injury recoveries to $25,000, Tenant’s lease or stock interest in housing co-op, to homestead amount, Wages used to purchase savings bonds, Wrongful death recoveries, needed for support

Public Benefits: Workers’ compensation, Veterans’ benefits, Unemployment compensation, Crime victims’ compensation, Social services payments

Tools of Trade: Equipment, inventory, farm products, books and tools of trade to $7,500

Wages: Wages of county jail prisoners, Wages of inmates under work-release plan, Wages of county work camp prisoners, 75% of weekly net income or 30 times the greater of the federal or state minimum hourly wage; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors

Wildcard: None

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