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Maryland Homestead Exemption

Salisbury Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys

Protect Your Home: Maryland’s Homestead Exemption

Without effective legal counsel, debtors seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief could lose valuable property that could have been preserved. Bankruptcy exemptions, when claimed effectively, can help you preserve certain assets. Additionally, under Maryland’s new homestead exemption law, debtors can protect a significant amount of equity in their home.

Our firm has helped our clients discharge hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer and business debt.

It is critical that your bankruptcy lawyer understands the allowed bankruptcy exemptions, and how to effectively classify your property—otherwise, property may be lost that otherwise could have been protected. Salisbury Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys You Can Count On

Many Western Shore bankruptcy lawyers claim to have the necessary bankruptcy experience to represent your interests when filing for bankruptcy. However,
The Law Firm of Shaw & Crowson, P.A., has provided bankruptcy services to individuals and businesses in Salisbury and throughout the Eastern Shore since 1993—prior to the area’s economic turbulence, and prior to the 2005 changes in bankruptcy law. In fact, attorney Ann Shaw, founder of our firm, has been practicing in bankruptcy law since 1981 and has been a prominent figure in facilitating changes in Maryland laws that protect the rights and interests of debtors.

Changing the Law ∙ Protecting Your Home

In addition to her involvement in changing Maryland’s bankruptcy asset exemptions—allowing debtors to claim twice the amount of their assets as exempt—Ann Shaw actively pursued changes in the law to enable debtors to protect additional equity in their home when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or when calculating a Chapter 13 plan. Together with the late Alexander Gordon IV and the Eastern Shore Bankruptcy Bar Association, Ann Shaw worked diligently to get a homestead exemption passed into law in Maryland.

After compiling a comparison of Maryland’s exemptions to those of all other states, Ms. Shaw and other members of the Eastern Shore Bar Association wrote and presented before the Maryland legislature Homeless Alone—arguing in favor of a Maryland Bankruptcy Exemption. Attorney Ann Shaw actively participated in presenting the legal aspects of the Homestead Exemption and state-by-state comparisons, in presenting
Homeless Alone and in the drafting of the new Maryland Homestead Exemption Bill. Ms. Shaw was among the advocates who testified before the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee in favor of the new homestead exemption.

Maryland Homestead Exemption—Effective October 1, 2010

In addition to the prior asset exemptions permitted in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, the owner of owner-occupied residential real property may exempt the amount of equity equal to the allowed federal homestead exemption.

Amount of Exemption: $21,625. However, this amount may increase if the amount of the federal exemption increases.

Limitations on the Homestead Exemption

In order to fully preserve your interests, it is essential that all aspects of the Homestead Exemption Law be complied with. The Homestead Exemption:

  • Can only be claimed once every eight years (Under current federal law, an individual can only be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing once every eight years.)
  • Cannot be claimed by both husband and wife in the same proceeding (essentially doubling the amount of equity claimed as exempt)
  • Cannot have been claimed on the same property by a spouse, child, child’s spouse, parent, sibling or grandparent in the past eight years

Effect of Maryland’s Homestead Exemption

Before the new Homestead Exemption, the amount of equity a debtor could preserve in his or her home was very limited. Equity in the debtor’s home could only be claimed as exempt under the general Maryland asset exemptions—in which all other assets were included and capped. With the new exemption, a debtor can protect over $21,000.00 in equity in his or her home, in addition to other asset exemptions.

For example, a debtor can claim an exemption of $1,000 for household goods, $6,000 for cash or property of any kind and $6,000 for personal property. There are also other asset specific exemptions, for such things as tools used in a trade or profession and personal injury awards.

Hire the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

It is important to understand the allowed exemptions and how to appropriately classify a debtor’s assets in order to maximize exemptions. If an exemption is not properly claimed, it will be lost—and the debtor might loose property that he or she would otherwise have the right to keep. Don’t jeopardize losing important assets and equity by hiring a bankruptcy lawyer who is unfamiliar with the new laws.

For effective bankruptcy representation from an established, reputable and trustworthy law firm, contact our office.

Contact Experienced Eastern Shore Bankruptcy Law Attorneys

Don’t commit to the time and expense of driving all the way to the Western Shore.
Contact us with questions regarding bankruptcy law and protecting your home under the new bankruptcy homestead exemption law. We offer truly convenient legal services; we are located one block from the Salisbury courthouse. To contact an attorney for experienced legal service close to home, call 410-742-9171.