South Carolina Bankruptcy Laws : South Carolina State Exemptions

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

SECTION 15-41-30. Property exempt from attachment, levy, and sale.

(A) The following real and personal property of a debtor domiciled in this State is exempt from attachment, levy, and sale under any mesne or final process issued by a court or bankruptcy proceeding:

(1) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value, in real property 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 the aggregate value of multiple homestead exemptions allowable with respect to a single living unit may not exceed one hundred thousand dollars. If there are multiple owners of such a living unit exempt as a homestead, the value of the exemption of each individual owner may not exceed his fractional portion of one hundred thousand dollars.
(2) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed five thousand dollars in value, in one motor vehicle.
(3) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed four thousand dollars in aggregate value 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) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed one thousand dollars in value, in jewelry held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(5) The debtor’s aggregate interest in cash and other liquid assets to the extent of a value not exceeding five thousand dollars, except that this exemption is available only to an individual who does not claim a homestead exemption. The term “liquid assets” includes deposits, securities, notes, drafts, unpaid earnings not otherwise exempt, accrued vacation pay, refunds, prepayments, and other receivables.
(6) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars in value, in any implements, professional books, or tools of the trade of the debtor or the trade of a dependent of the debtor.
(7) The debtor’s aggregate interest in any property, not to exceed five thousand dollars in value of an unused exemption amount to which the debtor is entitled pursuant to subsection (A), items (1) through (6).
(8) Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract.
(9) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed in value four thousand dollars less any amount of property of the estate transferred in the manner specified in Section 542(d) of the Bankruptcy Code of 1978, 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 a dependent.
(10) Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(11) The debtor’s right to receive or property that is traceable to:

(a) a social security benefit, unemployment compensation, or a local public assistance benefit;
(b) a veteran’s benefit;
(c) a disability benefit, except as provided in Section 15-41-33, or an illness or unemployment benefit;
(d) alimony, support, or separate maintenance; or
(e) a payment under a stock bonus, pension, profit sharing, annuity, or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service, unless:

(i) 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;
(ii) the payment is on account of age or length of service; and
(iii) the plan or contract does not qualify under Sections 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), or 409 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), or 409).

(12) The debtor’s right to receive or property that is traceable to:

(a) an award under a crime victim’s reparation law;
(b) a payment on account of the bodily injury of the debtor or of the wrongful death or bodily injury of another individual of whom the debtor was or is a dependent; or
(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 that individual’s death, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.

(13) The debtor’s right to receive individual retirement accounts as described in Sections 408(a) and 408A of the Internal Revenue Code, individual retirement annuities as described in Section 408(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, and accounts established as part of a trust described in Section 408(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor. A claimed exemption may be reduced or eliminated by the amount of a fraudulent conveyance into the individual retirement account or other plan. For purposes of this item, “Internal Revenue Code” has the meaning provided in Section 12-6-40(A).
(14) The debtor’s interest in a pension plan qualified under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended.

(B) Beginning on July 1, 2008, and each even-numbered year thereafter, each dollar amount in subsection (A), items (1) through (14), immediately before July first, must be adjusted to reflect the change in the Southeastern Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers, as published by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the most recent year ending immediately before January first preceding July first, and to round to the nearest twenty-five dollars, the dollar amount that represents this change. No later than March first of each even-numbered year, the Economic Research Section of the Office of Research and Statistics of the State Budget and Control Board shall publish in the State Register the dollar amounts that will become effective on July first of each even-numbered year.

SECTION 9-1-1680. Exemption from taxation and legal process; exceptions; assignment. (Public Employees)
Except as provided in Section 9-18-10, and related sections, Article 11, Chapter 17, Title 63 and Section 8-1-115 and subject to the doctrine of constructive trust ex maleficio, and subject to income tax levies imposed pursuant to state or federal law and distributions made pursuant to the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006, the right of a person to an annuity or a retirement allowance or to the return of contributions, an annuity, or retirement allowance itself, any optional benefit, or any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of this chapter, and the monies of the system created under the provisions of this chapter or any private retirement system operated by a municipality, are exempted from any state or municipal tax, except the taxes imposed pursuant to Chapters 6 and 16 of Title 12, and exempted from levy and sale, garnishment, attachment, or any other process and are unassignable except as specifically otherwise provided in this chapter. This section does not apply to any authorized deduction from a retirement allowance.
SECTION 9-8-190. Exemption of retirement allowance and certain other rights from taxation and legal process; exceptions; assignment. (Judges)
Except as provided in Section 9-18-10, and related sections, Article 11, Chapter 17, Title 63 and Section 8-1-115 and subject to the doctrine of constructive trust ex maleficio, and subject to income tax levies imposed pursuant to state or federal law and distributions made pursuant to the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006, the right of a person to a retirement allowance or to the return of contributions, a retirement allowance itself, any optional allowance or payment on death or any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of this chapter, and the monies of the system are exempted from state or municipal tax, except the taxes imposed pursuant to Chapters 6 and 16 of Title 12, and exempted from levy and sale, garnishment, attachment, or any other process and are unassignable except as otherwise provided in this chapter. This section does not apply to any authorized deduction from a retirement allowance.
SECTION 9-9-180. Exemption of retirement allowance and certain other rights from taxation and legal process; exceptions; assignment. (General Assembly Members)
Except as provided in Section 9-18-10, and related sections, Article 11, Chapter 17, Title 63 and Section 8-1-115 and subject to the doctrine of constructive trust ex maleficio, and subject to income tax levies imposed pursuant to state or federal law and distributions made pursuant to the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006, the right of a person to a retirement allowance or to the return of contributions, a retirement allowance itself, any optional allowance or payment on death or any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of this chapter, and the monies of the system are exempted from any state or municipal tax, except the taxes imposed pursuant to Chapters 6 and 16 of Title 12, and exempted from levy and sale, garnishment, attachment, or any other process and are unassignable except as specifically otherwise provided in this chapter. This section does not apply to any authorized deduction from a retirement allowance.
SECTION 9-11-270. Allowances and other rights exempt from taxation and legal process; exceptions; assignment. (Police Officers)
Except as provided in Section 9-18-10 and related sections, Article 11, Chapter 17, Title 63 and Section 8-1-115 and subject to the doctrine of constructive trust ex maleficio, and subject to income tax levies imposed pursuant to state or federal law and distributions made pursuant to the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006, the right of a person to retirement allowance or to the return of contributions, a retirement allowance itself, any optional or death benefit, or any other right accrued or accruing to a person under the provisions of this chapter, and the monies of the system are exempted from any state or municipal tax, except the taxes imposed pursuant to Chapters 6 and 16 of Title 12, and exempted from levy and sale, garnishment, attachment, or any other process, and are unassignable except as specifically otherwise provided in this chapter. This section does not apply to any authorized deduction from a retirement allowance.
SECTION 9-13-230. Fund and payments shall not be subject to execution or other legal process.
No portion of any such pension fund shall, either before or after an order for its distribution by the board to such disabled and pensioned members of the fire department, be held, taken, subjected to or retained or levied on by virtue of any attachment, execution, injunction, writ, interlocutory or other order or decree or any process or proceeding whatsoever issued out of or by any court in this State for the payment or satisfaction in whole or in part of any debt, damage, claim, demand or judgment against any member, but such fund shall be sacredly held, kept, secured and distributed for the purpose of pensioning the persons, or the payment of funeral expenses, as named in this chapter, and for no other purpose whatsoever.

SECTION 33-41-720. Nature of right in specific partnership property.

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

(a) a partner, subject to the provisions of this chapter 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,
(b) 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,
(c) a partner’s right in specific partnership property is not subject to attachment or execution, except on a claim against the partnership and 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,
(d) on the death of a partner his right in specific partnership property vests in the surviving partner or partners, except when the deceased was the last surviving partner in which case his right in such property vests in his legal representative; but 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 and
(e) a partner’s right in specific partnership property is not subject to dower, curtesy or allowances to widows, heirs or next of kin.
SECTION 38-38-330. Attachment, garnishment or seizure of benefits.
Money or other benefit, charity, relief, or aid to be paid, provided, or rendered by a society is not liable to attachment, garnishment, or other process, nor may it be seized, taken, appropriated, or applied by legal or equitable process or operation of law to pay a debt or liability of a member or beneficiary or another person who may have a right to it, either before or after payment by the society.

SECTION 38-63-40. Life insurance proceeds for insured’s spouse, children, or dependents exempt from claims of insured’s creditors; exceptions; certain other proceeds exempt from claims of beneficiary’s or insured’s creditors.

(A) Proceeds and cash surrender values of life insurance payable to a beneficiary other than the insured’s estate in which such proceeds and cash surrender values are expressed to be for the primary benefit of the insured’s spouse, children, or dependents are exempt from creditors of the insured whether or not the right to change the beneficiary is reserved and whether or not the policy is payable to the insured if the beneficiary dies first except:

(1) if the insured has filed a petition in bankruptcy within two years of purchasing the insurance, such proceeds or cash surrender are only exempt as permitted by Section 15-41-30; or
(2) the amount of premiums paid and interest thereon with intent to defraud creditors;
(3) a creditor possessing a valid assignment from the policyowner may recover from either the cash surrender value or the proceeds of the life insurance policy the amount secured by the assignment with interest.

(B) Proceeds of life insurance or annuity contracts, by agreement, may be held by the insurer exempt from claims of the beneficiary’s creditors.
(C) Proceeds of group life insurance contracts are exempt from claims of the creditors of the insured.
(D) Benefits of accident and disability contracts are exempt from claims of the creditors of the insured.

SECTION 38-63-50. Spendthrift provisions in settlement agreements are valid.
When the proceeds of a life insurance policy becoming a claim by death of the insured are left with an insurance company under a trust or other agreement, the benefits accruing thereunder after the death of the insured are not transferable nor subject to computation or encumbrance nor to legal process, except in an action to recover for necessaries if the parties to the trust or other agreement so agree.
SECTION 38-65-90. Life insurance policy for insured’s spouse, children, or dependents not subject to claims of insured’s creditors.
The proceeds and cash surrender value of life insurance in the aggregate amount of not more than fifty thousand dollars upon the life of an individual, which has already been or may be taken out, in which it is expressed to be for the primary benefit of the insured’s spouse, children, or dependents inure to the use and benefit of the individual or individuals for whose use and benefit it is expressed to be taken out, and the sum or net amount of the insurance becoming due and payable by the terms of the policy is payable to the individual or individuals as stated in this section, free and discharged from the claims of the representatives of the insured or of any of the insured’s creditors or a person claiming by, through, or under him or them or any of them unless:

(1) the policy was obtained with the intent to defraud creditors; or
(2) the creditor or representative possesses a valid assignment of the cash surrender value of the policy from the policyholder on a separate form.

In these two instances, the creditor may recover from either the cash surrender value or the proceeds of the life insurance policy of the amount secured by the assignment.

SECTION 42-9-360. Assignments of compensation; exemptions from claims of creditors and taxes. (Workers’ Compensation)

(A) No claim for compensation under this title shall be assignable and all compensation and claims therefor shall be exempt from all claims of creditors and from taxes.
(B) It shall be unlawful for an authorized health care provider to actively pursue collection procedures against a workers’ compensation claimant prior to the final adjudication of the claimant’s claim. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the collection from and demand for collection from a workers’ compensation insurance carrier or self-insured employer. Violation of this section, after written notice to the provider from the claimant or his representative that adjudication is ongoing, shall result in a penalty of five hundred dollars payable to the workers’ compensation claimant.
(C) Any person who receives any fee or other consideration or any gratuity on account of services so rendered, unless the consideration or gratuity is approved by the commission or the court, or who makes it a business to solicit employment for a lawyer or for himself in respect of any claim or award for compensation is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must, for each offense, be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
(D) Payment to an authorized health care provider for services shall be made in a timely manner but no later than thirty days from the date the authorized health care provider tenders request for payment to the employer’s representative, unless the commission has received a request to review the medical bill.
SECTION 43-5-190. Payments to be exempt from taxes, levy or other process; payments to be inalienable and unassignable; bankruptcy. (General Relief; Aid to Aged, Blind, Disabled)
All amounts paid or payable as assistance shall be exempt from any tax levied by the State or any subdivision thereof, shall be exempt from levy and sale, attachment or any other process whatsoever, and shall be inalienable and unassignable in advance in any form and, in case of bankruptcy, shall not pass to the trustee or other person acting on behalf of the creditors of the recipient of assistance.
SECTION 59-2-140. SCCIP trust fund exempt from legal process, unassignable. (South Carolina College Investment Program)
The SCCIP trust fund, contributions to the SCCIP trust fund, and the right of a person to a refund of contributions or any other right accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of this chapter are exempt from attachment, garnishment, levy, and sale under any means or final process issued by any court or bankruptcy proceeding and are unassignable except as specifically otherwise provided in this chapter.

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 South Carolina bankruptcy court statutes.

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