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Need help with exemptions, please.

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Delaware
Delaware allows NO federal exemptions. However, I think I'm allowed $25000 in personal property, but I can't figure out how to decipher the code. Also, do I use Schedule C for all exemptions? How about social security or retirement income?
Many thanks - all help appreciated!


Senior Member
Now that was a real helpful reply :rolleyes:

Delaware exemptions are as follows:
* Homestead • None, however, real property held by married couples may be exempt against debts owed by one spouse. See Personal Property.
* Insurance • Fraternal benefit society benefits. All life insurance/group and health insurance policies exempt; also $350/mo. in annuities.
* Miscellaneous
* Business Partnership Property
* Pensions and Retirement Benefits
* Various public employees, pensions and retirement
* Personal Property $5,000 in any property.
* Clothing and jewelry;
* burial place;
* church pew;
pianos, organs, sewing machines; school books, family Bible, family pictures & family library.
* State Public Benefits and aid to the blind is Exempt.
* Unemployment Compensation. Worker's Compensation.
* Tools of trade All tools/implements/fixtures necessary to carry on debtor's trade or business are exempt; $75 in New Castle and Sussex Counties; $50 in Kent County.
* Wages • 85% of earned but unpaid wages exempt
* Wild Card • $500 of any personal property, if head of family
I don't know where you got the $25K number from, because there is no homestead exemption specifically, just the $5000 exemption for ALL property, including your home.

However, if your property is held as tenancy by entirety, then it is completely protected:
Tenancies by the entirety exempt without limitation as to debts of one spouse. [In re Hovatter, 25 B.R. 123 (D. Del. 1982)]; otherwise Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, §4901 says all real estate is subject to execution:
Schedule C is used for ALL of your exemptions.

Pensions and retirement benefits are 100% exempt. If you've got cash in the bank, make sure you list it on your exemptions. Since you are filing so late in the year, you can expect the Trustee to want some or all of your tax refund next year if you get one. You may be able to exempt 9/12's of it if you have enough of the $5K total left over.


Junior Member
Thanks to LadyNRed

I've noticed that all of your replies are with helpful intent, and I, for one, am grateful and thank you for your help.
Re - Delaware exemptions. Almost everyone here that I viewed using the PACER system at the fed courthouse is using Del Code Ann Tit 10 sec 4914(b), [http://www.delcode.state.de.us/title10/c049/sc01/index.htm] which, as I read it, permits $25,000 in gross exemptions for ready assets. {this editor cuts out part of url - missing part is - title10/c049/sc01 -- }
It does not seem to cover social security nor pensions.
Actually, I don't see that Schedule C covers these - just saleable assets.
So--- my first question is --- am I reading 4914 correctly? That my first $25,000 in tangible assets are exempt from collection?
And my second --- is it necessary to take any steps to protect social security income and, if so, what are they?
Many thanks! --
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Senior Member
Ok, thanks for the link. It appears that NEITHER of the 2 sites I rely on for exemption info is correct. However, I also noticed that the DE code was updated July 2005, so those sites may not have picked up the changes yet.

You are correct, you have 25K in exemptions available to you for ALL your property.

§ 4914. Exemptions in bankruptcy and insolvency.

(b) In any federal bankruptcy or state insolvency proceeding, an individual debtor domiciled in Delaware shall be authorized to exempt from the bankruptcy or insolvency estate, in addition to the exemptions made in this subsection and in § 4915 of this title, property having an aggregate fair market value of not more than $25,000.

(c) In any federal bankruptcy or state insolvency proceeding, an individual debtor and/or such individual's spouse domiciled in Delaware shall be authorized to exempt from the bankruptcy or insolvency estate, in addition to the exemptions made in subsection (b) hereof and in § 4915 of this title, the following:

(1) Equity in real property or equity in a manufactured home (as defined in Chapter 70 of Title 25) which constitutes a debtors principal residence in an aggregate amount not to exceed $50,000, and

(2) A vehicle and/or tools of the trade necessary for purposes of employment in an amount not to exceed $15,000 each.

(d) This section shall apply separately with respect to each debtor in a joint case but not to exceed $25,000 each in value in personal property, a total not to exceed $50,000 in value in a principal residence in an individual or a joint case, and $15,000 each in subsection (c) of this section vehicle and $15,000 each in subsection (c) of this section tools of the trade. (63 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 131, §§ 1, 2.)

The DE code DOES provide for pensions and, I'm sure, social security in section 4915:

§ 4915. Exemption of retirement plans.

(a) In addition to the exemptions provided in §§ 4902 and 4903 of this title, there shall be exempt from execution or attachment process assets held or amounts payable under any retirement plan.

(f) "Retirement plan" means any retirement or profit sharing plan that is qualified under § 401, § 403, § 408, § 408A, § 409, § 414 or § 457 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 ›26 U.S.C. § 401, § 403, § 408, § 408A, § 409, § 414 or § 457|, as amended.
As long as your pension is an ERISA-qualified retirement plan, its safe. I'd be willing to bet that Social Security is in one of those IRS sections.

You put EVERY exemption on Schedule C, whether its cash or a couch, it goes on that schedule. :)


Junior Member
Yo Ladynred - mucho gracias

Thanks much - hope the link proves of use in the future. I'll be filing either later today or early tomorrow, so we'll soon(?) know how it all works. I guess 'pro se' means something like 'by myself', i.e., no atty - and that's what I opted for --- whole thing looks easy, and the clerks at fed court were extremely helpful with phone support - just wouldn't touch anything like a legal opinion or legal advice.
Another subtle change here in Delaware (and elsewhere??) -- filiing fee goes up $100 on (I think) the 20th of Sept. File now, if you can!
Thanks again - :)
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