Otto and Steiner - home and car

Wisconsin residents filing for bankruptcy can protect some of their assets. Qualifying personal property in limited amounts cannot be used as repayment toward creditor claims. Laws refer to these amounts as exemptions.

Your home and personal vehicles are protected by Wisconsin exemption laws. These laws make sense since the purpose of bankruptcy is to give you a financial clean slate. This goal would be impossible to accomplish without a home or the ability to travel for work and school.

The first decision to make is whether you will use state or federal exemptions. Both offer their own set of laws, benefits, and drawbacks. Wisconsin is one of 20 states that offer this option. A Wisconsin bankruptcy lawyer is the best person to answer your specific questions or address your unique concerns.

Bankruptcy Exemptions for Your Home and Personal Vehicle in Wisconsin

If you choose the state exemption option, you will use the homestead and motor vehicle exemptions. Wisconsin exemptions on your home and car either meet or exceed federal limits. Each asset carries separate limits and rules that must be applied.

Wisconsin Homestead Exemptions

A main concern when filing for bankruptcy is whether you can keep your home. The good news is that Wisconsin has put exemptions in place on your property. The homestead exemption allows you to protect your home’s equity. The amount of homeowner’s equity you keep depends on your marital status:

  • Up to $75,000 for single individuals (exceeds federal limit)
  • Up to $150,000 for married couples (exceeds federal limit)

Wisconsin homestead exemptions protect land around your home. The maximum area exemption allows you to include up to 40 acres. The exemptions apply even if you sell the property. Your only duty is to buy another home within two years using the proceeds of the sale.

Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Exemptions

Wisconsin extends bankruptcy protection to your personal vehicle, as well. The motor vehicle exemption allows you to continue working while caring for yourself and others. The equity amount you can claim is a maximum of $4,000. This amount is the same as the federal limit.

You can claim any unused portion of the consumer goods exemption. Consumer goods include things like appliances, furniture, and tangible personal property. The bankruptcy exemption limit for consumer goods is $12,000 in Wisconsin. You may apply a portion or all of it to your car or truck.

You May Qualify for Other Asset Protections

Filing a personal bankruptcy does not mean that you are left with nothing. That would not be a good way for anyone to get back to a solid financial footing. Electing to use Wisconsin’s exemptions keep you in your home and on the road. Besides major assets, there are nearly 20 other property exemption categories from which you may benefit.

Take advantage of every qualifying exemption. They are available to promote your well-being. Consider speaking with one of our bankruptcy attorneys to learn more about your specific situation. You can call our office at (715) 832-2040 or by completing our contact form.

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We are pleased to serve clients throughout Western Wisconsin, including the following counties: Eau Claire, Chippewa, Dunn, Polk, Pepin, Buffalo, Barron, Clark, Jackson, Pierce, Rusk, and Trempealeau.

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“Lauren is an excellent Attorney who answers your questions when you need them answered and does not sugar coat her answer for fear it may be something you don't want to hear. If you have a question and you call its not days before she calls you back its as soon as she is done working with a client in her office or if she is in court she will call you and not wait days to do so. I found her and her staff very easy to work with and would definitely recommend her.”  2014 Divorce Client

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