Updated May 20, 2016
If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Wyoming, the Wyoming bankruptcy exemptions can help you keep some or all of your property (in Chapter 7) or reduce the total amount you must pay your unsecured creditors (in Chapter 13). (Learn how bankruptcy exemptions work in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.)
Below you can learn what property the Wyoming bankruptcy exemptions protect, whether you can use the federal exemptions in Wyoming, what happens to exemptions if you are married and filing jointly, and more.
Some states allow you to choose between using the state exemptions and a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions. In Wyoming, however, you do not have this choice; you must use the Wyoming bankruptcy exemptions.
Although you can’t use the federal exemptions in Wyoming, you may use any of the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect property such as federal retirement accounts and veterans’ benefits. You can use both the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemptions; you don’t have to choose between the two lists.
Unless otherwise stated, if you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy petition, you can double the amount of the Wyoming bankruptcy exemption if you both own the property. If only one spouse owns the property, then you cannot double the amount.
Below are some of the most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions. The statute citations, unless otherwise noted, are to the Wyoming Statutes Annotated.
In Wyoming, you can exempt up to $20,000 of equity in your home, including house trailers. §1-20-101, 102, 103, and 104. (Get more details in The Wyoming Homestead Exemption.)
In Wyoming, you can exempt the below personal property. Unless otherwise stated, these exemptions are all found in §1-20-105 and 106.
In Wyoming you can exempt up to $5,000 of equity in your car, truck, van, SUV, motorcycle, or other vehicle. §1-20-106(a)(iv) . (Learn more about the Wyoming motor vehicle exemption.)
In Wyoming, you can exempt up to $4,000 of either:
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 to $1,283,025. (This amount 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)). Inherited IRAs are also exempt (in most states they are not protected in bankruptcy).
Criminal investigators and highway officers. §9-3-620
Firefighters’ death benefits, §15-5-209
Game and fish wardens. §9-3-620
Police officers. §15-5-313(c)
Private or public retirement funds and accounts, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs. §1-20-110
Public employees. §9-3-426
Crime victims' compensation. §1-40-113
General assistance. §42-2-113(b)
Unemployment compensation. §27-3-319
Workers' compensation. §27-14-702
Annuity contract proceeds to $350 per month. §26-15-132
Disability benefits if the contract says you cannot use them to pay a beneficiary’s creditors. §26-15-130
Fraternal benefit society benefits. §26-29-218
Group life insurance or disability policy or proceeds, cash surrender and loan values, waived premiums, and dividends. §26-15-131
Individual life insurance policy proceeds, cash surrender and loan values, waived premiums, and dividends. §26-15-129
Life insurance proceeds held by the insurer if the contract says they cannot be used to pay the beneficiary’s creditors. §26-15-133
Liquor license and malt beverage permits. §12-4-604
You can exempt the following earnings:
Wyoming does not have a wildcard exemption.
This list includes some of the more commonly used Wyoming bankruptcy exemptions. There may be others. In addition, Wyoming periodically updates its exemption amounts and sometimes adds new exemptions. To find the most current laws, check out the Wyoming Statutes Annotated. 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 Wyoming bankruptcy attorney.