January 23, 2017
If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, you can protect some or all of your property with Mississippi’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Mississippi also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about what property is covered by Mississippi’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, how they work, and which ones you can use, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
Mississippi is what is called an “opt-out” state, meaning Mississippi has opted out of the federal exemption scheme. Therefore, in Mississippi, you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions when you file bankruptcy in Mississippi; you may only exempt property using the Mississippi exemptions.
Although you can’t use the federal exemptions in Mississippi, you may use any of the applicable federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect property such as federal retirement accounts and veterans’ benefits.
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Mississippi may double the exemption amount. This means that each spouse may claim the full exemption amount for any property in which the spouse has an ownership interest. For example, if both spouses own a car and they file jointly, they can double the personal property exemption to protect the car’s value. (Couples cannot double the homestead exemption.)
Below are some of the most common exemptions available under Mississippi state law. Unless otherwise noted, all references are to the Mississippi Code Annotated.
The homestead exemption protects equity in your home. In Mississippi, you can exempt up to $75,000 of equity in the real estate in which you live, as long as it's less than 160 acres. If you are over 60 years of age and married or widowed, you may claim the homestead exemption for a former residence. The Mississippi homestead exemption also protects proceeds from the sale of your home. You may also protect proceeds from insurance, condemnation, or the sale of the home in which you lived for 18 months. Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy can double the homestead exemption only if they live in separate residences. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-21
You may protect up to $30,000 of equity in a mobile or manufactured home in which you reside, but you cannot claim the homestead exemption in addition to the personal property exemption (below) to protect your mobile home. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(d)
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Mississippi, see The Mississippi Homestead Exemption.
Life insurance proceeds held by the insurer. Miss. Code Ann. § 83-7-5
Unlimited life insurance proceeds ($50,000 if procured less than one year before filing or paid to an executor or administrator) Miss. Code Ann. § § 85-3-1(b)(ii), 85-3-13
Disability benefits. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-11
Homeowners’ insurance proceeds up to $75,000 (plus $250 for personal property). Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-23
Fraternal benefit society benefits. Miss. Code Ann. § 83-29-39
Mississippi does not have a dedicated motor vehicle exemption, but you have up to $10,000 available to protect all of your personal or household property (see below), including your motor vehicles. To learn more about how to exempt your motor vehicle under Mississippi law, visit The Mississippi Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
Up to $10,000 in personal property (things other than real estate), such as motor vehicles, furniture, household goods, appliances, clothing, wedding rings, tools of the trade (items needed in your profession), books, health aids, crops, and pets. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(a)
Up to $10,000 in personal injury awards. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-17
Sale or insurance proceeds for exempt property. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(b)(ii)
U$5,000 in an earned income credit, federal or state tax refund. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(i), (j), (k)
Tax-exempt education savings plans. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(f)
Health savings account. § 85-3-1(g)
IRAs, Keoghs, and ERISA-qualified benefits deposited more than one year before filing. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(e)
Municipal employee benefits. Miss. Code Ann. § § 21-29-51, 21-29-257, 21-29-307
Teachers’ retirement benefits. Miss. Code Ann. § 25-11-201
Public officer and employees retirement benefits and deferred compensation. Miss. Code Ann. § § 25-13-31, 25-14-5
State employees’ retirement benefits. Miss. Code Ann. § 25-11-129
Assistance to the aged. Miss. Code Ann. § 43-9-19
Assistance to the disabled. Miss. Code Ann. § 43-29-15
Assistance to the blind. Miss. Code Ann. § 43-3-71
Workers’ compensation. Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-43
Unemployment compensation. Miss. Code Ann. § 71-5-539
Crime victims’ compensation. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-41-23(7)
Up to $50,000 of any property, if you are a Mississippi resident over 70 years of age. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1(h). (Learn more in The Mississippi Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy.)
Mississippi’s exemption amounts are adjusted periodically. To ensure that you have the most recent figures, be sure to check for any updates at the website of the Mississippi Secretary of State, which provides a link to the state statutes through LexisNexis.