The Nevada Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy

With the Nevada motor vehicle exemption, you can protect $15,000 of equity in your car and more if you are married or your car is equipped to accommodate a disability.

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The Nevada motor vehicle exemption allows you to protect $15,000 of equity in your car, truck, van, or other vehicle if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy; more if you are married and filing jointly or if your car is equipped for a disability.

Read on to learn more about the Nevada car exemption.

(For more information about exemptions, including how they work and which ones you can use, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area. For information specific to the motor vehicle exemption, see our Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy area.)

The Nevada Motor Vehicle Exemption and Your Car

Nevada’s motor vehicle exemption plays a large role in determining whether or not the bankruptcy trustee can take your vehicle to repay your unsecured creditors.  If the equity in your car is less than Nevada’s car exemption, then the trustee cannot sell it. If the equity in your car is significantly more than the applicable exemption amount, the trustee is likely to sell your car to repay your unsecured creditors. For details, see The Motor Vehicle Exemption: Can You Keep Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? 

Keep in mind that even if your car is safe from the bankruptcy trustee, the lender may be able to repossess your car during or after bankruptcy. To learn more, see Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and If You Are Behind on Your Car Payments, Can Chapter 7 Help?

The Amount of Nevada’s Motor Vehicle Exemption

In Nevada, you can exempt up to $15,000 in equity in your car or other vehicle.  If you are disabled and your vehicle is equipped or modified for your disability, then you can exempt an unlimited amount of equity in your vehicle.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Exemption

Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions instead of state exemptions, but Nevada is not one of these states.  

Using Nevada’s Wildcard Exemption to Protect Your Car

If the equity in your car is more than $15,000, you may be able to cover the extra equity by using a wildcard exemption. Nevada has a wildcard exemption of $1,000 that can be used to exempt any type of property.  This wildcard exemption can be added on top of the motor vehicle exemption.

So if you own a car free and clear worth $16,000 you can combine your $15,000 motor vehicle exemption with the $1,000 wildcard exemption to exempt the entire value and keep your car.

Can Married Couples Double Nevada's Motor Vehicle Exemption?

Some states allow married couples filing a joint bankruptcy petition to double the listed exemption amounts. In Nevada, if you are a married couple filing a joint bankruptcy, the motor vehicle exemption is doubled to $30,000.  Similarly, your wildcard exemption is also doubled.

(To learn about the advantages and disadvantages of joint bankruptcy filings, see Nolo's section on Bankruptcy Options for Married Couples).

What Vehicles Are Covered by the Motor Vehicle Exemption?

The motor vehicle exemption covers your car, truck, van, or other vehicle but you can only exempt one motor vehicle.

Checking Nevada’s Exemption Laws

You can find Nevada’s motor vehicle exemption at Nevada Revised Statutes Annotated § 21.090 (1)(f),(p).

You can find the Nevada statutes on the website of the Nevada Legislature at www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-021.html#NRS021Sec090. To learn how to find state statutes, see Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.

When the Nevada Exemption Amounts Are Updated

The exemption laws in Nevada change periodically. Check the latest exemption amounts before filing bankruptcy to ensure you can protect all your property.

by: , Attorney

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