Vermont Bankruptcy Laws : Vermont State Exemptions

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

(Title 27) § 101. Definition; exemption from attachment and execution
The homestead of a natural person consisting of a dwelling house, outbuildings and the land used in connection therewith, not exceeding $125,000.00 in value, and owned and used or kept by such person as a homestead together with the rents, issues, profits, and products thereof, shall be exempt from attachment and execution except as hereinafter provided.

(Title 12) § 3170. Exemptions; issuance of order

(a) No order approving the issuance of trustee process against earnings shall be entered against a judgment debtor who was, within the two-month period preceding the hearing provided in section 3169 of this title, a recipient of assistance from the Vermont department for children and families or the office of Vermont health access. The judgment debtor must establish this exemption at the time of hearing.
(b) The earnings of a judgment debtor shall be exempt as follows:

(1) seventy-five percent of the debtor’s weekly disposable earnings, or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater; or
(2) if the judgment debt arose from a consumer credit transaction, as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. section 1602 and implementing regulations of the Federal Reserve Board, 85 percent of the debtor’s weekly disposable earnings, or 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater; or
(3) if the court finds that the weekly expenses reasonably incurred by the debtor for his or her maintenance and that of dependents exceed the amounts exempted by subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, such greater amount of earnings as the court shall order.

(c) After hearing, the court shall enter an appropriate order, which may provide for repetitive withholding from earnings, and which may, upon motion, be modified from time to time. The order shall state that section 3172 of this title prohibits discharge of the employee subject to the order because of the exercise of trustee process against the employee.
(d) Any waiver of the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be void.

(Title 12) § 2740. Goods and chattels; exemptions from
The goods or chattels of a debtor may be taken and sold on execution, except the following articles, which shall be exempt from attachment and execution, unless turned out to the officer to be taken on the attachment or execution, by the debtor:

(1) the debtor’s interest, not to exceed $2,500.00 in aggregate value, in a motor vehicle or motor vehicles;
(2) the debtor’s interest, not to exceed $5,000.00 in aggregate value, in professional or trade books or tools of the profession or trade of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor;
(3) a wedding ring;
(4) the debtor’s interest, not to exceed $500.00 in aggregate value, in other jewelry held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor;
(5) the debtor’s interest, not to exceed $2,500.00 in aggregate value, in household furnishings, goods or appliances, books, wearing apparel, 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;
(6) growing crops, not to exceed $5,000.00 in aggregate value;
(7) the debtor’s aggregate interest in any property, not to exceed $400.00 in value, plus up to $7,000.00 of any unused amount of the exemptions provided under subdivisions (1), (2), (4), (5) and (6) of this section;
(8) one cooking stove, appliances needed for heating, one refrigerator, one freezer, one water heater, sewing machines;
(9) ten cords of firewood, five tons of coals or 500 gallons of oil;
(10) 500 gallons of bottled gas;
(11) one cow, two goats, 10 sheep, 10 chickens, and feed sufficient to keep the cow, goats, sheep or chickens through one winter;
(12) three swarms of bees and their hives with their produce in honey;
(13) one yoke of oxen or steers or two horses kept and used for team work;
(14) two harnesses, two halters, two chains, one plow, and one ox yoke;
(15) the debtor’s interest, not to exceed $700.00 in value, in bank deposits or deposit accounts of the debtor;
(16) the debtor’s interest in self-directed retirement accounts of the debtor, including all pensions, all proceeds of and payments under annuity policies or plans, all individual retirement accounts, all Keogh plans, all simplified employee pension plans, and all other plans qualified under sections 401, 403, 408, 408A or 457 of the Internal Revenue Code. However, an individual retirement account, Keogh plan, simplified employee pension plan, or other qualified plan, except a Roth IRA, is only exempt to the extent that contributions thereto were deductible or excludable from federal income taxation at the time of contribution, plus interest, dividends or other earnings that have accrued on those contributions, plus any growth in value of the assets held in the plan or account and acquired with those contributions. A Roth IRA is exempt to the extent that contributions thereto did not exceed the contribution limits set forth in section 408A of the Internal Revenue Code, plus interest, dividends or other earnings on the Roth IRA from such contributions, plus any growth in value of the assets held in the Roth IRA acquired with those contributions. No contribution to a self-directed plan or account shall be exempt if made less than one calendar year from the date of filing for bankruptcy, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Exemptions under this subdivision shall not exceed $5,000.00 for the purpose of attachment of assets by the office of child support pursuant to 15 V.S.A. § 799;
(17) professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor;
(18) any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract;
(19) property traceable to or the debtor’s right to receive, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependents of the debtor:

(A) Social Security benefits;
(B) veteran’s benefits;
(C) disability or illness benefits;
(D) alimony, support or separate maintenance;
(E) compensation awarded under a crime victim’s reparation law;
(F) compensation for personal bodily injury, pain and suffering or actual pecuniary loss of the debtor or an individual on whom the debtor is dependent;
(G) compensation for the wrongful death of an individual on whom the debtor was dependent;
(H) payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual on whom the debtor was dependent on the date of that individual’s death;
(I) compensation for loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual on whom the debtor was or is dependent;
(J) payments under a pension, annuity, profit-sharing, stock bonus, or similar plan or contract on account of death, disability, illness, or retirement from or termination of employment.
(Title 3) § 476. Exemption of member’s interest; assignment (State Employees)
A member’s annuity, pension, or retirement allowance under this subchapter and the member’s assets in the retirement system, shall not be exempt from taxation, including income tax, but shall be exempt from the operation of any laws relating to bankruptcy or insolvency and shall not be attached or taken upon execution or other process of any court. No assignment by a member of any part of such assets to which the member is or may be entitled, or of any interest in such assets, shall be valid, except to the extent permitted by this subchapter.
(Title 8) § 3705. Spendthrift provisions; creditors of beneficiary
When a contract of annuity, a policy of insurance, or other contract of a life insurance company authorized to do business in this state is entered into with any person for the benefit of another, and such contract so provides, a beneficiary entitled to any of the proceeds retained thereunder by such company or to interest thereon shall not be permitted to commute, anticipate, encumber, alienate, or assign the principal or interest thereon, or any part thereof, nor, if such contract so provides, shall any part of such principal or interest be subject to the claims of creditors of any such beneficiary, nor be in any way subject to such beneficiary’s debts, contracts, or engagements, or to any judicial process to levy upon or attach such proceeds for payment of such claims or demands. Contracts so providing shall be valid and enforceable.

(Title 8) § 3706. Exemption of proceeds-Life insurance

(a) If a policy of insurance, whether heretofore or hereafter issued, is effected by any person on his or her own life, or on another life, in favor of a person other than himself or herself, or, except in cases of transfer with intent to defraud creditors, if a policy of life insurance is assigned or in any way made payable to any such person, the lawful beneficiary or assignee thereof, other than the insured or the person so effecting such insurance or executors or administrators of such insured or the person so effecting such 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 policy is made payable to the person whose life is insured 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 policy is made available for his or her use: Provided, that subject to the statute of limitations, the amount of any premiums for such insurance paid with intent to defraud creditors, with interest thereon, shall inure to their benefit from the proceeds of the policy; but the insurer issuing the policy 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 at its home office, by or in behalf of a creditor, of a claim to recover for transfer made or premiums paid with intent to defraud creditors, with specification of the amount claimed along with such facts as will assist the insurer to identify the particular policy.
(b) For the purposes of subsection (a) of this section, a policy 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 policy 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.
(Title 8) § 3707. -Disability benefits
Except as may otherwise be expressly provided by the policy or contract, the proceeds or avails of all policies or contracts 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 or her use.

(Title 8) § 3708. -Group insurance

(a) A policy of group life insurance or group disability 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 process to pay any debt or liability of such insured individual or his or her beneficiary or of any other person having a right under the policy. The proceeds thereof, when not made payable to a named beneficiary or to a third person pursuant to a facility-of-payment clause, shall not constitute a part of the estate of the individual insured for the payment of his or her debts.
(b) This section shall not apply to group insurance issued to a creditor covering his or her debtors, to the extent that such proceeds are applied to payment of the obligation for the purpose of which the insurance was so issued.

(Title 8) § 3709. -Annuity contracts-Assignability of rights

(a) The benefits, rights, privileges and options which under any 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:

(1) As to considerations paid for any such annuity with intent to defraud creditors, with interest thereon, and of which the creditor has given the insurer written notice at its home office prior to the making of the payments 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 payments sought to be avoided on the ground of fraud.
(2) The total exemption of benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant periodically or at stated times under all annuity contracts under which he or she is an annuitant, shall not at any time exceed $350.00 per month for the length of time represented by such installments, and that such periodic payments in excess of $350.00 per month shall be subject to garnishee execution.
(3) If the total benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant under all annuity contracts under which he or she is an annuitant, shall at any time exceed payment at the rate of $350.00 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 or her family if dependent upon him or her, as well as any payments required to be made by the annuitant to other creditors under prior court orders.

(b) 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.

(Title 8) § 4086. Exemption from attachment and trustee process
So much of any benefits under all policies of health insurance as does not exceed $200.00 for each month during any period of disability covered thereby shall not be liable to attachment, trustee process or other process, or to be seized, taken, appropriated or applied by any legal or equitable process or by operation of law, either before or after payment of such benefits, to pay any debt or liabilities of the person insured under such policy. However, this exemption shall not apply where an action is brought to recover for necessaries contracted for during such period and the writ or bill of complaint contains a statement to that effect. When a policy provides for a lump sum payment because of a dismemberment or other loss insured, such payment shall be exempt from execution of the insured’s creditors.
(Title 8) § 4478. 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, trustee 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 16) § 1946. Exemption of member’s interest; assignment (Teachers)
That portion of the compensation of a member deducted or to be deducted under this chapter, the rights of a member or beneficiary to an annuity, pension, or retirement allowance hereunder, and all a member’s rights in the assets of the system, shall be exempt from taxation, including income tax, and from the operation of any laws relating to bankruptcy or insolvency, and shall not be attached or taken upon execution or other process of any court. No assignment by a member or beneficiary of any part of the assets to which he or she is or may be entitled, or of any right to or interest in the assets, shall be valid except as specifically provided in this chapter.
(Title 21) § 681. Claims not assignable (Workers’ Compensation)
Claims for compensation under the provisions of this chapter shall not be assignable. Compensation and claims therefor shall be exempt from all claims of creditors, except as provided in section 682 of this title.
(Title 21) § 1367. Benefits not subject to assignment or trustee process (Unemployment Compensation)
Benefits which are due or may become due under this chapter shall not be assignable before payment, but this provision shall not affect the survival thereof; and when awarded, adjudged, or paid shall be exempt from all claims of creditors, and from levy, execution, attachment and trustee process or other remedy now or hereafter provided for recovery or collection of debt. This exemption may not be waived.
(Title 24) § 5066. Exemption of member’s interest; assignment (Municipal Employees)
That portion of the salary or wages of a member deducted or to be deducted under this chapter, the right of a member to an annuity, pension, or retirement allowance hereunder, and all the member’s rights in the assets of the retirement system, shall be exempt from taxation, except income tax, and from the operation of any laws relating to bankruptcy or insolvency, and shall not be attached or taken upon execution or other process of any court. No assignment by a member of any part of the assets to which the member is or may be entitled, or of any right to or interest in those assets, shall be valid, except to the extent permitted by this chapter.
(Title 33) § 124. Inalienability of assistance payments (Aid to Blind, Aged, Disabled; General Assistance)
All rights to, and all moneys or orders granted to persons as assistance shall be inalienable by assignment, transfer, attachment, trustee process, execution or otherwise. In case of bankruptcy the assistance shall not pass to or through a trustee or other person acting on behalf of creditors.

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

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