EXEMPTIONS UNDER VIRGINIA LAW
This is a non-exhaustive list of the exemptions under Virginia law. This list is a list of the items that you get to keep, unless you pledged them as collateral (for example a car loan).
Poor debtor’s exemptions pursuant to Virginia Code section 34-26.
1- Family Bible regardless of value. This used to be more valuable when it contained the family tree in the jacket liner.
2- Wedding and engagement rings, regardless of value.
3- Family portraits and heirlooms up to $5,000 in value.
4- Burial plot or pre-paid funeral needs up to $5,000 in value.
5- Clothing valued up to $1,000.00
6- Household furnishings (pots, pans, beds, dressers, refrigerator, etc) up to $5,000.00
7- One firearm valued up to $3,000.00.
8- Pets, but not animals for commercial purposes. Show dogs are not pets, but a dog to play with is a pet. It is unclear if a hunting dog is a pet, but that would probably be related to the sources of income of the debtor.
9- Medically prescribed health aids. CPAP machines and other equipment can be valuable, but cannot be taken by creditors.
10- Tools of the trade for your chosen trade, up to $10,000.00. This can include vehicles and books.
11- One motor vehicle up to $6,000.00 in value.
Retirement accounts are exempt, as long as they are qualified retirement accounts. Examples of qualified retirement accounts are 401k, 403b, IRA/ROTH, Federal TSP, Virginia VRS, some profit sharing plans, most “pension” accounts, and certain other retirement accounts.
Your wages are partially exempt. Only 25% of your wages are subject to attachment. There are exceptions to this rule, mostly for taxes and child support, but there are other situations that could arise.
Additionally, there is a “wild card” exemption in Virginia, called the “Homestead deed” exemption, as provided for in Virginia Code Section 34-4. The Homestead deed is a misnomer, or improperly named exemption, it is more accurately called the “wild card exemption of money that you get to apply to anything you want, including homes, cars, cash, etc.”
The “wild card” exemption is $5,000.00 per person. This is limited to the lifetime of the person, so if you claim $5,000 in cash exempt today, and seek to claim a further exemption under the “wild card”, you cannot. We see this problem particularly in people who have attempted to protect themselves, and claimed several “Homestead Deeds”, and then seek to file for Bankruptcy and protect their assets, including cash, or other items. Having used up their “wild card” exemptions under Virginia law. In those cases, we recommend a Chapter 13,
It is important to note that in each case, the value where described is the value at auction. The reason is that if the item is liquidated, that is the amount that will be recovered by the trustee.
KCLS LIMITS THE GEOGRAPHY IN WHICH WE TAKE CASES.
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Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.
5310 Markel Rd.
Richmond, VA 23230