The Wyoming Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy

The Wyoming motor vehicle exemption helps determine whether you can keep your car, truck, van, or other vehicle if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

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The Wyoming motor vehicle exemption helps determine whether you can keep your car, truck, van, or other vehicle if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here you’ll find information about the Wyoming car exemption: how much it is, what types of vehicles it covers, how it works for married couples, how to find the applicable statute, and more.

(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 Motor Vehicle Exemption and Your Car

Wyoming’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 Wyoming’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 Wyoming’s Motor Vehicle Exemption

In Wyoming, you can exempt up to $5,000 in equity in your car or other vehicle.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Exemption

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

Can Married Couples Double Wyoming’s Motor Vehicle Exemption?

Some states allow married couples filing a joint bankruptcy petition to double the listed exemption amounts. The Wyoming statute explicitly states that you can protect certain property you own. This means that your spouse may not be able to double the exemption if not considered a legal owner of your motor vehicle. If your spouse’s name does not appear on your vehicle title, consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you can double your motor vehicle exemption.

What Vehicles and Insurance Are Covered by the Motor Vehicle Exemption?

In Wyoming, you can use this exemption to protect one car, truck, van, or other qualifying motor vehicle that you own.

Other Information About Wyoming’s Vehicle Exemption

In Wyoming, you can protect up to $4,000 of equity in “tools of the trade,” meaning property you use to carry on your trade or business. If you use your vehicle to carry on your profession, for example, a delivery truck, you can protect additional value under this exemption. However, using your vehicle to commute to and from work will generally not qualify the vehicle as a tool of the trade.

Checking Wyoming’s Exemption Laws

You can find Wyoming’s motor vehicle exemption at Wyo. Stat. Section 1-20-106.

You can find the Wyoming statutes on the website of the Wyoming Legislative Service Office at legisweb.state.wy.us. To learn how to find state statutes, see Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.

by: , Attorney

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