What is exempt property?

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exempt property collections

What is exempt property?

Not all property is subject to execution and levy. Due to the special nature of certain property, state law often provides exemptions to execution and levy. Some examples of exempt property include:

homestead property (typically a certain value of the equity of a personal residence used by a judgment debtor as his/her primary dwelling is exempt, further, a homestead makes a certain amount set by state law as exempt from execution);

a certain value of an automobile (such as $1,000);

household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals or musical instruments used primarily for personal, family or household purposes up to a certain value (such as $200);

jewelry up to a certain value (such as $500);

implements, professional books or tools of the trade of the debtor up to a certain value (such as $750);

unmatured life insurance or the dividend, interest or loan value of an unmatured life insurance contract up to a certain value (such as $4,000);

social security benefits, unemployment compensation, public assistance benefit, or veteran’s benefit;

payments pursuant to stock bonus, pension, profit sharing, annuity or individual retirement account.

It is important to note that not all exempt property is wholly exempt; there are many exceptions to exemptions provided under state law.

If a levy is performed against exempt property, a judgment debtor can file a claim of exemption with the court and seek a hearing on the matter. The Levying Officer must wait until the court has made a determination of the claim of exemption before taking any further action with respect to the property taken into custody pursuant to a levy. If the exemption is upheld, the property is returned to the judgment debtor. If the exemption is denied, the Levying Officer will be able to proceed with the public sale and subsequent delivery of the proceeds to the judgment creditor.
(Reviewed 11.10.08)

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