April 5, 2017
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina, the South Carolina bankruptcy exemptions can help you keep some or all of your property. Exemptions also help determine how much money you'll pay in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Below you'll find exemptions frequently used in both types of South Carolina bankruptcies.
(Learn how bankruptcy exemptions work in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.)
Some states allow you to choose between the state exemptions and a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions. In South Carolina, however, you do not have this choice; you must use the South Carolina bankruptcy exemptions.
Although you can’t use the federal exemptions in South Carolina, you can use any of the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions to supplement the state exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect property such as federal retirement accounts and veterans’ benefits.
Below are some of the most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions. The statute citations, unless otherwise noted, are to the South Carolina Code of Laws. The listed exemption amounts were adjusted for inflation in 2016. They're expected to change again on July 1, 2018.
In South Carolina, you can exempt equity in your home, condo, mobile home, co-op, or some other type of real estate that you use as a residence in an amount up to $59,100. If you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy, you can double the exemption, bringing it to $118,200. § 15-41-30(A)(1) (Learn more in The South Carolina Homestead Exemption.)
In South Carolina, you can exempt the following types of personal property. §§ 15-41-30(A)(1)-(8)
In South Carolina, you can exempt up to $5,900 of equity in a car, van, motorcycle, truck, SUV, or some other type of motor vehicle. (To learn more, see The South Carolina Motor Vehicle Exemption.)
Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans). 11 U.S.C. § 522.
IRAS and Roth IRAs. (The amount you can claim is adjusted every three years. For the most recent figure, see Your Retirement Account in Bankruptcy.) 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n); § 15-41-30(A)(13)
Erisa-qualified benefits; your share of a pension plan fund. § 5-41-30(10)(E), (14)
Firefighters. § 9-13-230
General assembly members. § 9-9-180
Judges, solicitors. § 9-8-190
Police officers. § 9-11-270
Public employees. § 9-1-1680
General relief; Aid to the elderly, blind, or disabled. § 43-5-190
Local public assistance. § 15-41-30(A)(11)
Social Security. § 15-41-30(A)(11)
Unemployment compensation. § 15-41-30(A)(11)
Veteran’s benefits. § 15-41-30(A)(11)
Workers' compensation. § 42-9-360
Implements, books, and other tools of your trade or profession, up to $1,775 § 15-41-30(A)(6)
The following life and other insurance are exempt:
Alimony and child support. § 15-41-30(A)(11)(d)
Property of a business partnership. § 33-41-720
In South Carolina, you can use unused exemption amounts to exempt up to $5,900 of any type of property. § 15-41-30(A)(7)
This list includes some of the more commonly used South Carolina bankruptcy exemptions. There might be others. In addition, South Carolina periodically updates its exemption amounts and sometimes adds new exemptions. To find the most current laws, visit the Code of Laws of South Carolina portion of the South Carolina legislature’s website. Be forewarned, however, that the exemptions are found in various parts of the code. To save time and ensure you’ve got the correct information, consider consulting with a South Carolina bankruptcy attorney.