If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Hampshire, you can protect some or all of your property with New Hampshire’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in New Hampshire also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about the property you can protect with New Hampshire’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
New Hampshire Allows Debtors to Choose Between State and Federal Exemptions
New Hampshire is one of the states that allow debtors to choose between the New Hampshire exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means that you may examine both sets of exemptions and choose the exemptions that better protect your assets.
You must select either the New Hampshire exemptions or the federal exemptions, but you may not pick and choose from both. If you choose to use the New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions, you may also use any of the applicable federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect items such as federal retirement accounts and military and veterans’ benefits.
Married Couples May Double New Hampshire Exemptions
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in New Hampshire may double the exemption amounts. This means that each spouse may claim the full exemption amount for any property in which the spouse has ownership interest. For example, if both you and your spouse own a car and you file a joint bankruptcy, you can double the amount of the applicable exemption to protect that car’s value.
Common New Hampshire Exemptions
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under New Hampshire law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated.
Homestead or Residential Property
The homestead exemption protects up to $100,000 of equity in your homestead, including manufactured homes, which you own and in which you live. If you live in a manufactured home that sits upon land owned by someone else, you may not use your homestead exemption to protect the land. Spouses may double the homestead exemption. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §480:1
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in New Hampshire, see The New Hampshire Homestead Exemption.
You may exempt the following personal property:
Clothing and beds and bedding for your family’s use, up to $3,500 worth of furniture, stove, refrigerator, sewing machine, up to $400 worth of fuel, military equipment and uniforms, books for your family’s use, and one pew in a place of worship.
One hog and one pig, six sheep, one cow, one oxen yoke, up to four tons of hay, up to $300 of fowl, one burial lot, up to $500 of jewelry,
In New Hampshire, you can exempt up to $4,000 of equity in one automobile. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §511:2
To learn more about the New Hampshire Motor Vehicle exemption, visit The New Hampshire Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
Retirement Accounts and Benefits
Tax-exempt retirement accounts, qualified under the Internal Revenue Code, including, but not limited to an IRA, 401(k), educational IRAs, pension, Keogh plan, 403(a) and 403(b) annuity, and state deferred compensation plan. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §511:2
Public employees. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100A:26
Police Officers. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §103:18
Firefighters. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §102:23
Public assistance. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §167:25
Workers’ compensation. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §281A:52
Unemployment compensation. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §282A:159
Tools of the Trade
Up to $5,000 in tools used in your occupation. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §511:2
Homeowner’s insurance proceeds up to $5,000. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §512:21
Life insurance proceeds (not cash surrender value). N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §408:1, 2
Firefighter’s aid insurance N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §402:69
Up to $1,000 in any property, plus up to $7,000 of value in unused exemptions in fuel, books, furniture, tools of the trade, vehicle, and jewelry. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §511:2 (To learn more, see The New Hampshire Wildcard Exemption.)
Confirming the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Exemptions
This list includes some of the more commonly used New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions, but there are other exemptions available to protect specific property. Additionally, New Hampshire updates its exemptions periodically. You can verify the current exemption amounts at the website of the New Hampshire General Court. To learn how to do this, see Nolo’s Legal Research Center.