Maine Bankruptcy Laws

Complete state of Maine bankruptcy exemptions laws which protect a debtor’s property when personal bankruptcy is filed.

Title 14:

§4422. Exempt property
The following property is exempt from attachment and execution, except to the extent that it has been fraudulently conveyed by the debtor.

1. Residence. The exemption of a debtor’s residence is subject to this subsection.
A. Except as provided in paragraph B, the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $47,500 in value, in real or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor, except that if minor dependents of the debtor have their principal place of residence with the debtor, the debtor’s aggregate interest may not exceed $95,000 and except that if the debtor’s interest is held jointly with any other person or persons, the exemption may not exceed in value the lesser of $47,500 or the product of the debtor’s fractional share times $95,000.

B. The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $95,000 in value, in property described in paragraph A, if the debtor or a dependent of the debtor is either a person 60 years of age or older or a person physically or mentally disabled and because of such disability is unable to engage in substantial gainful employment and whose disability has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death; except that if the debtor’s interest is held jointly with any other person or persons, the exemption may not exceed in value the lesser of $95,000 or the product of the fractional share of the debtor’s interest times $190,000. This paragraph does not apply to liens obtained prior to its effective date or to judgments based on torts involving other than ordinary negligence on the part of the debtor.

C. That portion of the proceeds from any sale of property which is exempt under this section shall be exempt for a period of 6 months from the date of receipt of such proceeds for purposes of reinvesting in a residence within that period.

2. Motor vehicle. The debtor’s interest, not to exceed $5,000 in value, in one motor vehicle.

3. Clothing; furniture; appliances; and similar items. The debtor’s interest, not to exceed $200 in value in any particular item, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops or musical instruments, that are held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.

4. Jewelry. The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $750 in value, in jewelry held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor and the debtor’s interest in a wedding ring and an engagement ring.

5. Tools of the trade. The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $5,000 in value, in any implements, professional books or tools of the trade of the debtor or the trade of a dependent of the debtor, including, but not limited to, power tools, materials and stock designed and procured by the debtor and necessary for carrying on the debtor’s trade or business and intended to be used or wrought in that trade or business.

6. Furnaces, stoves and fuel. The debtor’s interest in the following items held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor:
A. One cooking stove;
B. All furnaces or stoves used for heating; and
C. All cooking and heating fuel not to exceed 10 cords of wood, 5 tons of coal, 1,000 gallons of petroleum products or its equivalent.

7. Food, produce and animals. The debtor’s interest in the following items held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor:
A. All food provisions, whether raised or purchased, reasonably necessary for 6 months; B. All seeds, fertilizers, feed and other material reasonably necessary to raise and harvest food through one growing season; and
C. All tools and equipment reasonably necessary for raising and harvesting food.

8. Farm equipment. The debtor’s interest in one of every type of farm implement reasonably necessary for the debtor to raise and harvest agricultural products commercially, including any personal property incidental to its maintenance and operation.

9. Fishing boat. The debtor’s interest in one boat, not exceeding 5 tons burden, used by the debtor primarily for commercial fishing.

10. Life insurance contract. Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract.

11. Life insurance dividends, interest and loan value. The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed in value $4,000 less any amount of property of the estate tranferred in the manner specified in the United States Code, Title 11, Section 542(d), in any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan value of, any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor under which the insured is the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is dependent.

12. Health aids. Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.

13. Disability benefits; pensions. The debtor’s right to receive the following:

A. A social security benefit, unemployment compensation or a federal, state or local public assistance benefit, including, but not limited to, the federal earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit;
B. A veterans’ benefit;
C. A disability, illness or unemployment benefit;
D. Alimony, support or separate maintenance, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;
E. A payment or account under a stock bonus, pension, profitsharing, annuity or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age or length of service, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor, unless: (1) The plan or contract was established by or under the auspices of an insider that employed the debtor at the time the debtor’s rights under the plan or contract arose; (2) The payment is on account of age or length of service; and (3) The plan or contract does not qualify under the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408 or 409; or
F. A payment or account under an individual retirement account or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age or length of service to the sum of $15,000 or to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor, whichever is greater.

14. Legal awards; life insurance benefits. The debtor’s right to receive or property that is traceable to the following:

A. An award under a crime victim’s reparation law;

B. A payment on account of the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;

C. A payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent on the date of the individual’s death, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;

D. A payment, not to exceed $12,500, on account of personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent; or

E. A payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.

15. Other property. The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed in value $400, in any property, whether or not otherwise exempt under this section.

16. Unused residence exemption. The debtor’s interest, equal to any unused amount of the exemption provided under subsection 1 but not exceeding $6,000, in any property exempt under subsections 3 and 5 and subsection 14, paragraph D.

Title 3:
§703. Legal process and assignment (Legislators)

The right of a person to a retirement allowance, the retirement allowance itself, the refund of a person’s accumulated contributions, any death benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to a person under this chapter and the money in the various funds created by this chapter are not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process and are unassignable except that:
1. Retirement allowance available for child support. A member’s retirement allowance is available to satisfy a child support obligation that is otherwise enforceable by execution, garnishment, attachment, assignment or other process;
2. Accumulated contributions available for child support. A member’s accumulated contributions, which are refundable under sections 805-A and 805-B, are available to satisfy a child support obligation that is otherwise enforceable by execution, garnishment, attachment, assignment or other process; and
3. Qualified domestic relations order. The rights and benefits of a member or retiree under this chapter are subject to the rights of or assignment to an alternate payee, as defined in Title 5, section 17001, subsection 3-B, under a qualified domestic relations order in accordance with Title 5, section 17059.
Title 4:
§1203. Legal process and assignment (Judges)

The right of a person to a retirement allowance, the retirement allowance itself, the refund of a person’s accumulated contributions, any death benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to a person under this chapter and the money in the various funds created by this chapter are not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process and are unassignable except that:
1. Retirement allowance available for child support. A member’s retirement allowance is available to satisfy a child support obligation that is otherwise enforceable by execution, garnishment, attachment, assignment or other process;
2. Accumulated contributions available for child support. A member’s accumulated contributions, which are refundable under sections 1305-A and 1305-B, are available to satisfy a child support obligation that is otherwise enforceable by execution, garnishment, attachment, assignment or other process; and
3. Qualified domestic relations order. The rights and benefits of a member or retiree under this chapter are subject to the rights of or assignment to an alternate payee, as defined in Title 5, section 17001, subsection 3-B, under a qualified domestic relations order in accordance with Title 5, section 17059.
Title 5:
§17054. Legal process and assignment (State Employees)

The right of a person to a retirement allowance, the retirement allowance itself, the refund of a person’s accumulated contributions, any death benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to any person under this Part and the money in the various funds created by this Part may not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process and shall be unassignable except that:
1. Retirement allowance available for child support. A member’s retirement allowance is available to satisfy any child support obligation that is otherwise enforceable by execution, garnishment, attachment, assignment or other process;
2. Accumulated contributions available for child support. A member’s accumulated contributions, which are refundable under sections 17705-A, 17706-A, 18306-A and 18307-A, are available to satisfy any child support obligation that is otherwise enforceable by execution, garnishment, attachment, assignment or other process; 3. Recovery of overpayments by the retirement system. Any amounts due the retirement system as the result of overpayment or erroneous payment of benefits, an excess refund of contributions or overpayment or erroneous payment of life insurance benefits may be recovered from an individual’s contributions, any benefits or life insurance benefits payable under this Part to the individual or the beneficiary of the individual or any combination of contributions and benefits. If the overpayment or excess refund of contributions resulted from a mistake of or incorrect information provided by an employee of the retirement system, or a mistake of the retiree or the recipient of the benefit or life insurance benefit, a penalty or interest may not be assessed by the retirement system . In all cases of recovery of overpayments through the reduction of a retirement benefit, whether with or without the assessment of interest by the retirement system, the recovery practices must be reasonable and consider the personal economic stability of the retiree in the establishment of the recovery schedule. The executive director may also take action to recover those amounts due from any amounts payable to the individual by any other state agency or by an action in a court of competent jurisdiction. Whenever the executive director makes a decision to recover any amounts under this subsection, that decision is subject to appeal under section 17451. Employers are responsible for enrolling employees in the correct retirement plan. The retirement system shall provide training, education and information to assist employers in the correct enrollment of employees. If an employee is enrolled in the incorrect retirement plan by the employer through no fault of the employee, the employee may not lose any retirement benefits. The State is not responsible for the employer contribution when the employer is a school district, municipality or county and those contributions and assessed interest, if applicable, must be paid to the retirement system by the school district, municipality or county; and
4. Qualified domestic relations order. The rights of a member, retiree, beneficiary or other payee under this Part are subject to the rights of or assignment to an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order in accordance with section 17059.

Title 22:

§3180. Inalienability of aid (Public Assistance)
All rights to aid shall be absolutely inalienable by any assignment, execution, pledge or otherwise, and shall not pass, in case of insolvency or bankruptcy, to any trustee, assignee or creditor.

§3766. Inalienability of assistance (Welfare for Needy Families)
All rights to public assistance are absolutely inalienable by any assignment, sale, execution, pledge or otherwise and may not pass, in case of insolvency or bankruptcy, to any trustee, assignee or creditor.

Title 24A:

§2428. Exemption of proceeds — life, endowment, annuity, accident contracts
1. Certain policies of insurance shall be exempt from claims of creditors, and the rights of beneficiaries and assignees thereof shall be protected, as set forth.
2. Except in cases of transfers with intent to defraud creditors, if a contract of life, endowment, annuity or accident insurance, whether heretofore or hereafter issued, is effected by any person on his own life or on another life, in favor of a person other than himself or is assigned or in any way made payable to any other person, the lawful beneficiary or assignee thereof, other than the insured or the person so effecting such contract of insurance or executors or administrators of such insured or of the person so effecting such contract of insurance, shall be entitled to its proceeds and avails against the creditors and representatives of the insured and of the person effecting the same, whether or not the right to change the beneficiary is reserved or permitted and whether or not the contract of insurance is made payable to the person whose life is insured or to the executor or administrator of such person if the beneficiary or assignee shall predecease such person, and such proceeds and avails shall be exempt from all liability for any debt of the beneficiary existing at the time the proceeds and avails is made available for his use. Subject to the statutes of limitations, the amount of any premiums for such contract of insurance paid with intent to defraud creditors, with interest thereon, shall inure to the benefit of the creditors from the proceeds of the contract of insurance; but the insurer issuing the contract shall be discharged of all liability thereon by payment of its proceeds in accordance with its terms, unless before such payment the insurer shall have received written notice, by or in behalf of a creditor with specifications of the amount claimed along with such facts as will assist the insurer to ascertain the particular policy, of a claim to recover for transfer made or premiums paid with intent to defraud creditors, and unless such insurer shall have been served with trustee process for the cash surrender value of any such contract of insurance as required by law prior to making payment of the proceeds in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance.
3. For the purpose of subsection 2, a contract of insurance shall also be deemed to be payable to a person other than the insured if and to the extent that a facility-of-payment clause or similar clause in the contract permits the insurer to discharge its obligation after the death of the individual insured by paying the death benefits to a person as permitted by such clause.

§2429. Exemption of proceeds, health insurance
Except as may otherwise be expressly provided by the policy or contract, the proceeds or avails of all contracts of health insurance and of provisions providing benefits on account of the insured’s disability which are supplemental to life insurance or annuity contracts heretofore or hereafter effected shall be exempt from all liability for any debt of the insured, and from any debt of the beneficiary existing at the time the proceeds are made available for his use.
§2430. Exemption of proceeds, group insurance
1. A policy of group life insurance or group health insurance or the proceeds thereof payable to the individual insured or to the beneficiary thereunder, shall not be liable, either before or after payment, to be applied by any legal or equitable process to pay any debt or liability of such insured individual or his beneficiary or of any other person having a right under the policy.
2. This section shall not apply to group insurance issued pursuant to this Title to a creditor covering his debtors, to the extent that such proceeds are applied to payment of the obligation for the purpose of which the insurance was so issued.
§2431. Exemption of proceeds, individual annuity contracts; assignability of rights
1. The benefits, rights, privileges and options which under any individual annuity contract heretofore or hereafter issued are due or prospectively due the annuitant, shall not be subject to execution nor shall the annuitant be compelled to exercise any such rights, powers, or options, nor shall creditors be allowed to interfere with or terminate the contract, except:A. As to amounts paid for or as premium on any such annuity with intent to defraud creditors, with interest thereon, and of which the creditor has given the insurer written notice received at its home office prior to the making of the payment to the annuitant out of which the creditor seeks to recover. Any such notice shall specify the amount claimed or such facts as will enable the insurer to ascertain such amount, and shall set forth such facts as will enable the insurer to ascertain the annuity contract, the annuitant and the payment sought to be avoided on the ground of fraud.B. The total exemption of benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant periodically or at stated times under all annuity contracts under which he is an annuitant, shall not at any time exceed $450 per month for the length of time represented by such installments, and that such periodic payments in excess of $450 per month shall be subject to garnishee execution to the same extent as are wages and salaries.

C. If the total benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant under all annuity contracts under which he is an annuitant, shall at any time exceed payment at the rate of $450 per month, then the court may order such annuitant to pay to a judgment creditor or apply on the judgment, in installments, such portion of such excess benefits as to the court may appear just and proper, after due regard for the reasonable requirements of the judgment debtor and his family, if dependent upon him, as well as any payments required to be made by the annuitant to other creditors under prior court orders.

2. If the contract so provides, the benefits, rights, privileges or options accruing under such contract to a beneficiary or assignee shall not be transferable nor subject to commutation, and if the benefits are payable periodically or at stated times, the same exemptions and exceptions contained herein for the annuitant, shall apply with respect to such beneficiary or assignee.

§4118. Benefits not attachable
No money or other benefit, charity, relief or aid to be paid, provided or rendered by any society, shall be liable to attachment, garnishment or other process, or to be seized, taken, appropriated or applied by any legal or equitable process or operation of law to pay any debt or liability of a member or beneficiary, or any other person who may have a right thereunder, either before or after payment by the society.

Title 25:

§1612. Death benefit (FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, FIREFIGHTERS AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PERSONS WHO DIE WHILE IN THE LINE OF DUTY)

5. Execution or attachment prohibited. A benefit paid under this section is not subject to execution or attachment.

Title 26:

§1411-H. Maintenance not assignable (Rehabilitation Act)
The right of a handicapped or disadvantaged individual to maintenance under this article is not transferable or assignable at law or in equity and none of the money paid or payable or rights existing under this article are subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process or to the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency law.

Title 39A:

§106. Invalidity of waiver of rights; claims not assignable (Workers’ Compensation)
No agreement by an employee, unless approved by the board or by the Commissioner of Labor, to waive the employee’s rights to compensation under this Act is valid. No claims for compensation under this Act are assignable or subject to attachment or liable in any way for debt, except for the enforcement of a current support obligation or support arrears pursuant to Title 19-A, chapter 65, subchapter II, article 3 or Title 19-A, chapter 65, subchapter III, or for reimbursement of general assistance pursuant to Title 22, section 4318.

Note: While this reference information is current as of August 2010, it may not reflect the most up-to-date exemption figures on official state of Maine bankruptcy court statutes.

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