Completing Schedule C of the Bankruptcy Petition

On Schedule C of the bankruptcy petition, you list all of the property you claim is exempt.

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When you fill out your bankruptcy papers, one of the required forms is Schedule C – Property Claimed as Exempt. On this form, you list all of your property and assets that are legally exempt.

(To learn about the other forms you must file, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.)

How to Get Schedule C?

You can find the most recent version of Schedule C on the U.S. Court’s website at www.uscourts.gov. To learn more about getting the official and other forms, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.

What is Exempt Property and Why Is It Important?

Bankruptcy law declares certain types of property up to certain amounts as “exempt.” If property is exempt, you get to keep it in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Exemptions also matter for Chapter 13 bankruptcy – they play a role in how much you must repay unsecured creditors. The amount can make a difference in whether your plan is confirmable or not. Correctly claiming all of your exemptions on Schedule C is a very important part of completing your bankruptcy forms.

The good news is that in many bankruptcies filed by individuals, all—or virtually all—of the debtor’s property is exempt.

(To learn more about how exemptions work, which property is exempt, what exemptions you can use, and more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)

Deciding Which Property to Claim as Exempt

Determining whether you want to use your state or the federal exemption system (if your state gives you that choice) and how to claim exemptions so that you can either keep the property you really need or maximize the amount of property you keep may require some strategizing. Get a good self-help bankruptcy book or consult with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

How to Complete Schedule C

Here’s the information you’ll need to provide on Schedule C:

Designating which exemption system you are using. In the first section, you have to check one of two boxes. Your choice informs the court whether you will use the federal exemption system (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(2)) or your state exemption system (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)). Not every state allows you to choose between the federal state system, in fact most require you to use the state exemptions. Because of residency requirements, some filers won’t qualify to use any state’s system. If that happens, you can use the federal exemptions. To learn more about which exemptions you can use, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?

Claiming a homestead exemption in excess of $155,675. Check this box if all of the following apply:

  • you are using state exemptions that provide a homestead exemption greater than $155,675
  • you have more than $155,675 of equity in your home, and
  • you acquired your home at least 40 months before you filed for bankruptcy.

In certain situations, your homestead exemption may be capped at $155,675. To learn more see, The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy.

Description of property. In the first column of Schedule C, you must describe each item of property or each asset that you are claiming as fully or partially exempt.

Specify Law Providing Each Exemption. In the second column of Schedule C, you provide the statute citation which gives you the legal right to exempt that item of property. To learn more about finding your state or the federal exemptions, see Bankruptcy Exemptions.

Value of Claimed Exemption. This is where you put the dollar amount of the exemption you are claiming. Bankruptcy law allows married couples to double all exemptions unless the state expressly prohibits it. That means that each of you can claim the entire amount of each exemption, if you are both filing and your state permits it. In some situations, you might not use the full amount of an exemption (for example, if you are applying only a portion of a wildcard exemption to the item). If that’s the case, list only the amount you are claiming as exempt.

Current Value of Property Without Deducting Exemption. In the last column of Schedule C, you enter the current replacement value of the property you are claiming as exempt.

This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire bankruptcy process, learn about the applicable federal and state laws, and determine how those laws will affect your particular situation before you complete the bankruptcy forms. If you want to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, use a good do-it-yourself book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to ensure you make well informed decisions about your bankruptcy case.

by: , J.D.

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