If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey, you can protect some or all of your property with New Jersey’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in New Jersey also play a role in a monthly Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment. Read on to learn about property covered by New Jersey’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, see Bankruptcy Exemptions.
New Jersey is one of the few states that allow debtors to choose between state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. Bankruptcy filers can examine both sets and elect the exemptions that better protect their assets, but they can't mix and match between the two exemption schemes.
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under New Jersey law:
All cemetery property is 100% exempt. In addition, lands held for burial purposes by a cemetery company, charitable religious or fraternal organization and the trust funds and securities and income of any cemetery property are 100% exempt. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 8A:5-9, 8A:5-10, 8A:5-11.
A debtor’s crime victims’ compensation is 100% exempt but does not include expenses resulting from the injury that is the basis for the claim. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:4B-18.
New Jersey does not have a homestead exemption. However, the survivorship interest of a spouse in property held as tenancy by the entirety is exempt from creditors of the other spouse. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(8).
For more details about how to protect your homestead or residential property in New Jersey, see The New Jersey Homestead Exemption.
A debtor may exempt the following insurance benefits:
N.J. Stat. Ann. § § 17:18-12, 17B:24-6, 17B:24-7, 17B:24-8, 17B:24-9.
New Jersey does not have a specific motor vehicle exemption. You may, however, exempt up to $1,000 in equity in your car or another vehicle by using the general personal property exemption.
To learn more about exempting equity in your car in New Jersey Motor, see The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
Public employees’ pensions are 100% exempt. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 43:15A-53. Also exempt are pensions for teachers, judiciary members, prison employees, alcohol control officers, city employees, county workers, probation officers, court interpreters, police officers, and firefighters. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 18A:66-51, 18:13-112.53, 18A:66-116, 18:5-80, 43:6A-41, 43:7-13, 43:8A-20, 43:10-14, 43:13-9, 43:13-22.60, 43:10-18.22, 43:10-18.71, 43:10-57, 43:10-105, 43:13-37.5, 43:13-44, 43:15A-53, 43:18-12, 43:19-17, 43:16-7, 43:16A-17, 53:5A-45.
You may exempt the following personal property:
N.J. Stat. Ann. § § 2A:17-19, 2A:26-4, 38A:4-8.
Old age assistance is 100% exempt. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 44:7-35.
Tenancy by the entirety is not exempt but is subject to rights of the non-debtor spouse. See King v. Greene, 30 N.J. 395, 153 A.3d 49 (1959).
Unemployment compensation is 100% exempt. N.J. Stat. Ann. § § 43:21-15, 43:21-53.
You may exempt up to $1,000 of any personal property, stocks, or corporate interests. N.J. Stat. Ann. § § 2A:17-19. (To learn more, see The New Jersey Wildcard Exemption.)
Workers’ compensation is 100% exempt. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 34:15-29.
New Jersey’s exemption amounts are adjusted periodically. To make sure you have the most recent figures, be sure to check for any updates at the official website of the New Jersey Legislature at www.njleg.state.nj.us. (Go to "Laws and Constitution" in the left-hand column and click on "Statutes.")
For more information on how to research and find the latest exemption amounts, see our Legal Research Center.