Missouri Bankruptcy Laws

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

Missouri State Exemptions: Property exempt from attachment–benefits from certain employee plans, exception–bankruptcy proceeding, fraudulent transfers, exception–construction of section.

513.430.

1. The following property shall be exempt from attachment and execution to the extent of any person’s interest therein:

(1) Household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops or musical instruments that are held primarily for personal, family or household use of such person or a dependent of such person, not to exceed three thousand dollars in value in the aggregate;
(2) A wedding ring not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars in value and other jewelry held primarily for the personal, family or household use of such person or a dependent of such person, not to exceed five hundred dollars in value in the aggregate;
(3) Any other property of any kind, not to exceed in value six hundred dollars in the aggregate;
(4) Any implements or professional books or tools of the trade of such person or the trade of a dependent of such person not to exceed three thousand dollars in value in the aggregate;
(5) Any motor vehicle in the aggregate, not to exceed three thousand dollars in value;
(6) Any mobile home used as the principal residence but not on or attached to real property in which the debtor has a fee interest, not to exceed five thousand dollars in value;
(7) Any one or more unmatured life insurance contracts owned by such person, other than a credit life insurance contract;
(8) The amount of any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan value of, any one or more unmatured life insurance contracts owned by such person under which the insured is such person or an individual of whom such person is a dependent; provided, however, that if proceedings under Title 11 of the United States Code are commenced by or against such person, the amount exempt in such proceedings shall not exceed in value one hundred fifty thousand dollars in the aggregate less any amount of property of such person transferred by the life insurance company or fraternal benefit society to itself in good faith if such transfer is to pay a premium or to carry out a non-forfeiture insurance option and is required to be so transferred automatically under a life insurance contract with such company or society that was entered into before commencement of such proceedings. No amount of any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan value of, any such life insurance contracts shall be exempt from any claim for child support. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, no such amount shall be exempt in such proceedings under any such insurance contract which was purchased by such person within one year prior to the commencement of such proceedings;
(9) Professionally prescribed health aids for such person or a dependent of such person;
(10) Such person’s right to receive:

(a) A Social Security benefit, unemployment compensation or a local public assistance benefit;
(b) A veteran’s benefit;
(c) A disability, illness or unemployment benefit;
(d) Alimony, support or separate maintenance, not to exceed seven hundred fifty dollars a month;
(e) Any payment under a stock bonus plan, pension plan, disability or death benefit plan, profit-sharing plan, nonpublic retirement plan or any plan described, defined, or established pursuant to section 456.072, RSMo, the person’s right to a participant account in any deferred compensation program offered by the state of Missouri or any of its political subdivisions, or 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 such person and any dependent of such person unless:

a. Such plan or contract was established by or under the auspices of an insider that employed such person at the time such person’s rights under such plan or contract arose;
b. Such payment is on account of age or length of service; and
c. Such plan or contract does not qualify under Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, 408A or 409 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (26 U.S.C. 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, 408A or 409);
except that any such payment to any person shall be subject to attachment or execution pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order, as defined by Section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, issued by a court in any proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation or a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of marital property at the time of the original judgment of dissolution;

(f) Any money or assets, payable to a participant or beneficiary from, or any interest of any participant or beneficiary in, a retirement plan or profit-sharing plan that is qualified under Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, 408A or 409 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, except as provided in this paragraph. Any plan or arrangement described in this paragraph shall not be exempt from the claim of an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order; however, the interest of any and all alternate payees under a qualified domestic relations order shall be exempt from any and all claims of any creditor, other than the state of Missouri through its division of family services. As used in this paragraph, the terms “alternate payee” and “qualified domestic relations order” have the meaning given to them in Section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
If proceedings under Title 11 of the United States Code are commenced by or against such person, no amount of funds shall be exempt in such proceedings under any such plan, contract, or trust which is fraudulent as defined in section 456.630, RSMo, and for the period such person participated within three years prior to the commencement of such proceedings. For the purposes of this section, when the fraudulently conveyed funds are recovered and after, such funds shall be deducted and then treated as though the funds had never been contributed to the plan, contract, or trust;

(11) The debtor’s right to receive, or property that is traceable to, 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.

2. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to exempt from attachment or execution for a valid judicial or administrative order for the payment of child support or maintenance any money or assets, payable to a participant or beneficiary from, or any interest of any participant or beneficiary in, a retirement plan which is qualified pursuant to Section 408A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Other property exempt–provisions–exceptions.
513.440. Each head of a family may select and hold, exempt from execution, any other property, real, personal or mixed, or debts and wages, not exceeding in value the amount of one thousand two hundred fifty dollars plus three hundred fifty dollars for each of such person’s unmarried dependent children under the age of eighteen years or dependent as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, determined to be disabled by the Social Security Administration, except ten percent of any debt, income, salary or wages due such head of a family.
Homestead defined–exempt from execution–spouses debarred from selling, when.
513.475.

1. The homestead of every person, consisting of a dwelling house and appurtenances, and the land used in connection therewith, not exceeding the value of fifteen thousand dollars, which is or shall be used by such person as a homestead, shall, together with the rents, issues and products thereof, be exempt from attachment and execution. The exemption allowed under this section shall not be allowed for more than one owner of any homestead if one owner claims the entire amount allowed under this subsection; but, if more than one owner of any homestead claims an exemption under this section, the exemption allowed to each of such owners shall not exceed, in the aggregate, the total exemption allowed under this subsection as to any one homestead.
2. Either spouse separately shall be debarred from and incapable of selling, mortgaging or alienating the homestead in any manner whatever, and every such sale, mortgage or alienation is hereby declared null and void; provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent the husband and wife from jointly conveying, mortgaging, alienating or in any other manner disposing of such homestead, or any part thereof.

Persons exempted from summons as garnishee, when–amount to be withheld from wages, how computed–earnings defined–penalty.
525.030.

1. No sheriff or other officer charged with the collection of money shall, prior to the return day of an execution or other process upon which the same may be made, be liable to be summoned as garnishee; nor shall any county collector, county treasurer or municipal corporation, or any officer thereof, or any administrator or executor of an estate, prior to an order of distribution, or for payment of legacies, or the allowance of a demand found to be due by his estate, be liable to be summoned as garnishee; nor shall any person be so charged by reason of his having drawn, accepted, made or endorsed any promissory note, bill of exchange, draft or other security, in its nature negotiable, unless it be shown at the hearing that such note, bill or other security was the property of the defendant when the garnishee was summoned, and continued so to be until it became due.
2. The maximum part of the aggregate earnings of any individual for any workweek, after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld, which is subjected to garnishment may not exceed (a) twenty-five percentum, or, (b) the amount by which his aggregate earnings for that week, after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required to be withheld by law, exceed thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in effect at the time the earnings are payable, or, (c) if the employee is the head of a family and a resident of this state, ten percentum, whichever is less.
The restrictions on the maximum earnings subjected to garnishment do not apply in the case of any order of any court for the support of any person, any order of any court of bankruptcy under chapter XIII of the Bankruptcy Act or any debt due for any state or federal tax.
For pay periods longer than one week, the provisions of subsection 2(a) and (c) of this section shall apply to the maximum earnings subjected to garnishment for all workweeks compensated, and under subsection 2(b) of this section, the “multiple” of the federal minimum hourly wage equivalent to that applicable to the earnings subject to garnishment for one week shall be represented by the following formula: The number of workweeks or fractions thereof (x) x 30 x the applicable federal minimum wage. For the purpose of this formula, a calendar month shall be considered to consist of 4 1/3 workweeks, a semimonthly period to consist of 2 1/6 weeks. The “multiple” for any other pay period longer than one week shall be computed in a manner consistent herewith.
The restrictions on the maximum amount of earnings subjected to garnishment shall also be applicable to all proceedings involving the sequestration of wages of employees of all political subdivisions.
The term “earnings” as used herein means compensation paid or payable for personal services, whether denominated as wages, salary, commission, bonus, or otherwise, and includes periodic payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program.
3. In any proceeding of garnishment or sequestration of wages under the provisions of sections 525.010 to 525.480, the maximum part of the aggregate earnings of any individual in any workweek which shall be subject to garnishment or sequestration pursuant to the provisions of subsection 2 of this section shall be construed to constitute all wages or earnings of the defendant in the garnishee’s possession or charge or to be owing by him to the defendant in that week.
4. No notice, summons, or writ of garnishment, or sequestration of wages issued or served under sections 525.010 to 525.480 shall attach or purport to attach any wages in excess of the amounts prescribed in subsection 2 of this section and each such notice, summons, or writ shall have clearly and legibly reproduced thereon the provisions of subsections 2, 5 and 6 of this section.
5. No employer may discharge any employee by reason of the fact that his earnings have been subjected to garnishment or sequestration for any one indebtedness.
6. Whoever willfully violates the provisions of subsection 5 of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Benefits from pension plan exempt from state taxes, execution, garnishment, attachment, and are unassignable, exception.
71.207. Whenever any municipality has established pension plans for the pensioning of the salaried employees of such city and the surviving spouses and minor children of deceased employees, the right of any person to a benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of such pension plan and the funds created under such pension plan are exempt from any tax of the state of Missouri and are not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever and are unassignable unless specifically so provided in such plan.
Exemption from tax and execution. (Police Relief and Pensions)
86.190. The right of any person to a pension, annuity or retirement allowance, to the return of contributions, the pension, annuity or retirement allowance itself, any optional benefit or death benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of sections 86.010 to 86.193 and the moneys in the various funds created under sections 86.010 to 86.193 are hereby exempt from any tax of the state of Missouri and shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever and shall be unassignable except as in sections 86.010 to 86.193 specifically provided.
Benefits exempt from taxes and execution–not assignable, exception, child support or maintenance. (Police Relief and Pensions)
86.353. The right of any person to a benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of sections 86.200 to 86.366 and the moneys created pursuant to sections 86.200 to 86.366 are not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever and are unassignable except as in sections 86.200 to 86.366 specifically provided. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this section shall prevent the board of trustees from honoring the terms of a court order requiring the retirement system to pay all or any portion of the retirement benefit otherwise payable to a retired or disabled member to a third party to satisfy the member’s obligation to pay child support or maintenance. Any relief association created pursuant to section 86.500 shall be exempt from the tax imposed by sections 143.011 to 143.1013, RSMo.
Retirement benefits not subject to execution, garnishment, or attachment–exceptions–funds exempt from taxation. (Police Relief and Pensions)
86.1430. The right of any person to pension or pensions, to the return of contributions, disability or death benefits, or any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of sections 86.1310 to 86.1640 and the moneys in the various funds created under sections 86.1310 to 86.1640 shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, or any other process whatsoever and shall be unassignable except as specifically provided in sections 86.1310 to 86.1640, and except for court orders or assignments approved by a court to provide support for family members or a former spouse of any person entitled to benefits under sections 86.1310 to 86.1640. The moneys in the various funds created under sections 86.1310 to 86.1640 are hereby exempt from any tax of the state of Missouri or of any municipality or political subdivision thereof. A revocable request or authorization by a member or a beneficiary to withhold and apply for the requester’s convenience some portion or all of a benefit payment shall not be deemed an assignment prohibited under this section provided that any such request shall remain revocable at all times except as to payments or withholdings effected prior to any such revocation. The retirement system may, but shall not be obligated to, comply with any such request.
Fund exempt from execution. (Firefighters’ Retirement)
87.090. No portion of said pension fund shall, before or after its order of distribution by the board of trustees to the persons entitled thereto, be held, seized, taken, subjected to or detained or levied on by virtue of any attachment, execution, injunction, writ, interlocutory or other order or decree, or any process or proceeding whatever issued out of or by any court of this state for the payment or satisfaction, in whole or in part, of any debt, damages, claim, demand or judgment against the beneficiary of said fund; but the said fund shall be held and distributed for the purpose of sections 87.010 to 87.105, and for no other purpose whatever.
Benefits exempt from taxes and civil process. (Firefighters’ Retirement)
87.365. The right of any person to a benefit, any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of sections 87.120 to 87.370 and the moneys in the various funds created under sections 87.120 to 87.370 are hereby exempt from any tax of the state of Missouri and shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever and shall be unassignable except as in sections 87.120 to 87.370 specifically provided.
Funds exempt from garnishment or other legal process. (Firefighters’ Retirement).
87.485. No portion of said pension fund shall, before or after its order of distribution by the board of trustees to the persons entitled thereto, and before the actual payment thereof to such persons, be held, seized, taken, subjected to, or detained or levied on by virtue of any attachment, execution, injunction, writ, interlocutory or other order or decree, or any process or proceeding whatever issued out of or by any court of this state for the payment or satisfaction, in whole or in part, of any debt, damages, claim, demand or judgment against the beneficiary of said funds; but the said funds shall be held and distributed for the purposes of sections 87.380 to 87.490, and for no other purpose whatever.

Law creates vested rights–benefits exempt from taxes and executions–exception, subject to child support and spousal maintenance. (State Officers and Employees)
104.250.

1. All premium payments and deferred compensation provided for under sections 104.320 to 104.540 are hereby made obligations of the state of Missouri. No alteration, amendment, or repeal of sections 104.320 to 104.540 shall affect the then-existing rights of members and beneficiaries, but shall be effective only as to rights which would otherwise accrue hereunder as a result of services rendered by an employee after such alteration, amendment, or repeal.
2. Any annuity, benefits, funds, property, or rights created by, or accruing or paid to, any person under the provisions of sections 104.320 to 104.540 shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, writ of sequestration, or any other process or claim whatsoever, and shall be unassignable, except with regard to the collection of child support or maintenance, and except that a beneficiary may assign life insurance proceeds. Any retired member of the system may request the executive director of the system, in writing, to withhold and pay on his behalf to the proper person, from each of his monthly retirement benefit payments, if the payment is large enough, the contribution due from the retired member to any group providing state-sponsored life or medical insurance and to the Missouri state employees charitable campaign.
3. The executive director of the system shall, when requested in writing by a retired member, withhold and pay over the funds authorized in subsection 2 of this section until such time as the request to do so is revoked by the death or written revocation of the retired member.
Funds not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment. (Teachers)
169.090. Neither the funds belonging to the retirement system nor any benefit accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of sections 169.010 to 169.130 shall be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever, nor shall they be assignable, except in a proceeding instituted for spousal maintenance or child support and as in sections 169.010 to 169.130 specifically provided.
Cemetery not subject to execution, dower or partition–exception.
214.190. Lands or property, set apart as burial grounds, either for public or private use, and so recorded in the recorder’s office of the county where such lands are situated, or any burial ground that may have been used as such for ten years shall not be subject to sale on execution, to dower, nor to compulsory partition; provided, that the lands so appropriated and set apart as a private burial ground shall not exceed one acre in area or one hundred dollars in value; and provided further, that nothing contained in this section shall be so construed as to exempt any such burial ground or cemetery property from being liable for special assessments for street improvements, when such assessment is levied by an incorporated city in this state.

Compensation to have priority–not assignable–exceptions. (Workers’ Compensation)
287.260.

1. The compensation payable under this chapter, whether or not it has been awarded or is due, shall not be assignable, shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, and execution, shall not be subject to setoff or counterclaim, or be in any way liable for any debt and in case of the insolvency of an employer or his insurer, or the levy of an attachment or an execution against an employer or insurer shall be entitled to the same preference and priority as claims for wages, without limit as to time or amount, except that if written notice is given to the division or the commission of the nature and extent thereof, the division or the commission may allow as lien on the compensation, reasonable attorney’s fees for services in connection with the proceedings for compensation if the services are found to be necessary and may order the amount thereof paid to the attorney in a lump sum or in installments. All attorney’s fees for services in connection with this chapter shall be subject to regulation by the division or the commission and shall be limited to such charges as are fair and reasonable and the division or the commission shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine all disputes concerning the same.

2. Notwithstanding subsection 1 of this section, the compensation payable under this chapter other than compensation for medical expenses and therapy under section 287.141, shall be assignable for the purpose of satisfying child support obligations, shall be subject to attachment, garnishment and execution for the purpose of collecting and satisfying unpaid and delinquent child support obligations, and shall be subject to the lien provided for in section 454.517, RSMo. Section 452.140, RSMo, shall apply to limit property exemptions available in an action to collect child support under this subsection.

Void agreements–offenses, penalties–deductions of support obligations and uncollected overissuance of food stamps–offset for overpayment of benefits by other states, when–definitions. (Unemployment Compensation)
288.380.

11. (1) Any assignment, pledge, or encumbrance of any rights to benefits which are or may become due or payable pursuant to this chapter shall be void; and such rights to benefits shall be exempt from levy, execution, attachment, or any other remedy whatsoever provided for the collection of debt; and benefits received by any individual, so long as they are not mingled with other funds of the recipient, shall be exempt from any remedy whatsoever for the collection of all debts except debts incurred for necessaries furnished to such individual or the individual’s spouse or dependents during the time such individual was unemployed. Any waiver of any exemption provided for in this subsection shall be void; except that this section shall not apply to:
(a) Support obligations, as defined pursuant to paragraph (g) of subdivision (2) of this subsection, which are being enforced by a state or local support enforcement agency against any individual claiming unemployment compensation pursuant to this chapter; or
(b) Uncollected overissuances (as defined in Section 13(c)(1) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977) of food stamp coupons;

Nature of a partner’s right in specific partnership property.
358.250.

1. A partner is co-owner with his partners of specific partnership property holding as a tenant in partnership.
2. The incidents of this tenancy are such that:

(1) A partner, subject to the provisions of this law and to any agreement between the partners, has an equal right with his partners to possess specific partnership property for partnership purposes; but he has no right to possess such property for any other purpose without the consent of his partners.
(2) A partner’s right in specific partnership property is not assignable except in connection with the assignment of rights of all the partners in the same property.
(3) A partner’s right in specific partnership property is not subject to attachment or execution, except on a claim against the partnership. When partnership property is attached for a partnership debt the partners, or any of them, or the representatives of a deceased partner, cannot claim any right under the homestead or exemption laws.
(4) On the death of a partner his right in specific partnership property vests in the surviving partner or partners, except where the deceased was the last surviving partner, when his right in such property vests in his legal representative. Such surviving partner or partners, or the legal representative of the last surviving partner, has no right to possess the partnership property for any but a partnership purpose.
(5) A partner’s right in specific partnership property is not subject to dower, curtesy, or allowances to widows, heirs, or next of kin.
Proceeds not liable for debts. (Life Insurance)
377.090. The money or other benefit, charity, relief or aid to be paid, provided or rendered by any corporation authorized to do business under sections 377.010 to 377.190, shall not be liable to attachment or other process, and shall not be seized, taken, appropriated or applied by any legal or equitable process, nor by operation of law, to pay any debt or liability of a policy or certificate holder, or any beneficiary named in a policy or certificate.
Proceeds not liable for debts. (Life Insurance)
377.330. The money or other benefit, charity, relief or aid to be paid, provided or rendered by any corporation authorized to do business under sections 377.200 to 377.460, shall not be liable to attachment or other process, and shall not be seized, taken, appropriated or applied by any legal or equitable process, nor by operation of law, to pay any debt or liability of a policy or certificate holder, or of any beneficiary named in a policy or certificate.
Trust for benefit of employees–spendthrift trust, when–exempt from certain attachments, exception.
456.014. A trust created as part of a stock bonus plan, nonpublic pension plan, disability or death benefit plan, profit-sharing plan, or retirement plan, for the exclusive benefit of employees to which contributions are made by an employer, or participant, or both, for the purpose of distributing to such participant the earnings or the principal, or both earnings and principal of the fund so held in trust, shall be deemed to be a spendthrift trust if the plan or trust includes a provision restraining the assignment, alienation, or other voluntary or involuntary transfer of the interest of a participant in the trust. Prior to payment or delivery thereof to such participant by the plan trustee, such an interest of the participant shall be exempt from attachment or execution under the laws of this state, and such provision restraining the assignment, alienation, or other voluntary or involuntary transfer of the interest of a participant in the trust shall preclude any creditor of the participant from satisfying a claim from the assets or property of such a plan or trust before payment or delivery of such interest to the participant by the plan trustee, provided that the interest of any such participant shall be subject to attachment or execution pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order, as defined by Section 414(p) of the federal Internal Revenue Code, as amended, issued by a court in any proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation or a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of marital property at the time of the original judgment of dissolution.
Claims, filing and hearing, procedure, who may file–time limitation–amount of compensation, considerations–attorney’s fees–examination, report by physician, when–exemption from collection. (Crime Victims’ Compensation)
595.025.

6. Each and every payment shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment or any other remedy available to creditors for the collection of a debt.

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 Missouri bankruptcy court statutes.

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