Virginia Bankruptcy Laws : Virginia State Exemptions
Complete state of Virginia bankruptcy exemptions laws which protect a debtor’s property when personal bankruptcy is filed.
Every householder shall be entitled, in addition to the property or estate exempt under §§ 23-38.81, 34-26, 34-27, 34-29, and 64.1-151.3, to hold exempt from creditor process arising out of a debt, real and personal property, or either, to be selected by the householder, including money and debts due the householder not exceeding $5,000 in value or, if the householder is 65 years of age or older, not exceeding $10,000 in value. In addition, upon a showing that a householder supports dependents, the householder shall be entitled to hold exempt from creditor process real and personal property, or either, selected by the householder, including money or monetary obligations or liabilities due the householder, not exceeding $500 in value for each dependent.
For the purposes of this section, “dependent” means an individual who derives support primarily from the householder and who does not have assets sufficient to support himself, but in no case shall an individual be the dependent of more than one householder.
Every veteran residing in this Commonwealth having a service connected disability of forty percent or more, as rated by the Veterans Administration of the United States, shall be entitled, in addition to the property or estate which he is entitled to hold exempt from creditor process under §§ 34-4, 34-26, 34-27, 34-29, and 64.1-151.3, to hold exempt from creditor process his real and personal property, or either, to be selected by him by the writings required by §§ 34-6 and 34-14, including money and debts due him, not exceeding $ 10,000 in value.
If the householder does not set apart any real estate as before provided, or if what he does or has so set apart is not of the total value which he is entitled to hold exempt, he may, in addition to the property or estate which he is entitled to hold exempt under §§ 34-26, 34-27, 34-29, and 64.1-151.3, in the first case select and set apart by the writing required by § 34-14 to be held by him as exempt under §§ 34-4 and 34-4.1, so much of his personal estate as shall not exceed the total value which he is entitled to hold exempt and, in the latter case, personal estate, the value of which, when added to the value of the real estate set apart, does not exceed such total value.
The rents and profits of the property set apart shall be exempt in the same manner as the corpus of such property and if the whole real and personal estate set apart be not of greater value than the amount the householder is entitled to exempt at the time it is so set apart, the exemption thereof shall not be affected by any increase in its value afterwards, unless such increase consists of permanent improvements placed upon real estate set apart by means derived from some source other than exempt property.
The estate or property in which proceeds of sale are invested, or which may be acquired in exchange, under any of the preceding sections of this chapter, shall be held exempt in like manner and to the like extent as the estate sold or exchanged was held. But such estate or property when acquired in exchange or otherwise than by investment under an order of court, or unless when set apart by a court, shall be set apart, if real estate, by such a writing as is prescribed by § 34-6; if personal estate, by such a writing as is prescribed by § 34-14; and such writing shall be recorded as provided by the same sections, respectively. In addition to the requirements of such sections, the writing shall state from what source the estate was derived and with what means acquired. When such estate is invested or set apart under an order of court, a copy of the order and of any report of a commissioner or other officer making the investment thereunder, if confirmed, and a copy of the order of confirmation, duly certified by the clerk of the court, shall be recorded in the deed book of the county or city wherein the writing, if the estate had been set apart by a writing, is required to be recorded.
§ 34-29. Maximum portion of disposable earnings subject to garnishment.
(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (b1), the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek which is subjected to garnishment may not exceed the lesser of the following amounts:
(2) The amount by which his disposable earnings for that week exceed 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by § 206 (a) (1) of Title 29 of the United States Code in effect at the time earnings are payable. In the case of earnings for any pay period other than a week, the State Commissioner of Labor and Industry shall by regulation prescribe a multiple of the federal minimum hourly wage equivalent in effect to that set forth in this section.
(b) The restrictions of subsection (a) do not apply in the case of:
(2) Any order of any court of bankruptcy under Chapter XIII of the Bankruptcy Act.
(3) Any debt due for any state or federal tax.
(b1) The maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek which is subject to garnishment to enforce any order for the support of any person shall not exceed:
(2) If such individual is supporting a spouse or dependent child other than the spouse or child with respect to whose support such order was issued, 50 percent of such individual’s disposable earnings for that week. The 50 percent specified in subdivision (b1) (2) shall be 55 percent and the 60 percent specified in subdivision (b1) (1) shall be 65 percent if and to the extent that such earnings are subject to garnishment to enforce an order for support for a period which is more than 12 weeks prior to the beginning of such workweek.
(c) No court of the Commonwealth and no state agency or officer may make, execute, or enforce any order or process in violation of this section. The exemptions allowed herein shall be granted to any person so entitled without any further proceedings.
(d) For the purposes of this section:
(2) The term “disposable earnings” means that part of the earnings of any individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amounts required by law to be withheld, and
(3) The term “garnishment” means any legal or equitable procedure through which the earnings of any individual are required to be withheld for payment of any debt.
(e) Every assignment, sale, transfer, pledge or mortgage of the wages or salary of an individual which is exempted by this section, to the extent of the exemption provided by this section, shall be void and unenforceable by any process of law.
(f) No employer may discharge any employee by reason of the fact that his earnings have been subjected to garnishment for any one indebtedness.
(g) A depository wherein earnings have been deposited on behalf of and traceable to an individual shall not be required to determine the portion of such earnings which are subject to garnishment.
In addition to the exemptions provided in Chapter 2 (§ 34-4 et seq.) of this title, every householder shall be entitled to hold exempt from creditor process the following enumerated items:
1. The family Bible.
2. Family portraits and family heirlooms not to exceed $5,000 in value.
3. (i) A lot in a burial ground, and (ii) any preneed funeral contract not to exceed $5,000.
4. All wearing apparel of the householder not to exceed $1,000 in value.
5. All animals owned as pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, rabbits and other pets not kept or raised for sale or profit.
6. Medically prescribed health aids.
7. Tools, books, instruments, implements, equipment, and machines, including motor vehicles, vessels, and aircraft, which are necessary for use in the course of the householder’s occupation or trade not exceeding $10,000 in value, except that a perfected security interest on such personal property shall have priority over the claim of exemption under this section. A motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft used to commute to and from a place of occupation or trade and not otherwise necessary for use in the course of such occupation or trade shall not be exempt under this subdivision. “Occupation,” as used in this subdivision, includes enrollment in any public or private elementary, secondary, or career and technical education school or institution of higher education.
8. A motor vehicle, not held as exempt under subdivision 7, owned by the householder, not to exceed $2,000 in value, except that a perfected security interest on the motor vehicle shall have priority over the claim of exemption under this subdivision.
The value of an item claimed as exempt under this section shall be the fair market value of the item less any prior security interest.
The monetary limits, where provided, are applicable to the total value of property claimed as exempt under that subdivision.
The purchase of an item claimed as exempt under this section with nonexempt property in contemplation of bankruptcy or creditor process shall not be deemed to be in fraud of creditors.
No officer or other person shall levy or distrain upon, or attach, such articles, or otherwise seek to subject such articles to any lien or process. It shall not be required that a householder designate any property exempt under this section in a deed in order to secure such exemption.
If the householder be at the time actually engaged in the business of agriculture, there shall also be exempt from such levy or distress, while he is so engaged, to be selected by him or his agent, the following articles, or so many thereof as he may have, to wit: a pair of horses or mules unless he selects or has selected a horse or mule under § 34-26, in which case he shall be entitled to select under this section only one, with the necessary gearing, one wagon or cart, one tractor, not exceeding in value $3,000, two plows, one drag, one harvest cradle, one pitchfork, one rake, two iron wedges and fertilizer and fertilizer material not exceeding in value $1,000. It shall not be required that a householder designate any property exempt under this section in a deed in order to secure such exemption.
Except for liens created under Article 7.1 (§ 8.01-66.2 et seq.) of Title 8.01, Article 5 (§ 54.1-3932 et seq.) of Title 54.1, and Chapter 19 (§ 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2, all causes of action for personal injury or wrongful death and the proceeds derived from court award or settlement shall be exempt from creditor process against the injured person or statutory beneficiary as defined in Article 5 (§ 8.01-50 et seq.) of Title 8.01. It shall not be required that a householder designate any property exempt under this section in a deed in order to secure such exemption. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to affect any voluntary assignment of the proceeds or anticipated proceeds of a personal injury or wrongful death award or settlement as permitted by § 8.01-26.
§ 34-34. Certain retirement benefits exempt.
“Alternate payee” shall have the same meaning as provided under § 206 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In the case of a retirement plan that is not subject to ERISA, the term “alternate payee” means an individual who has an interest in a retirement plan pursuant to a judgment, decree, or order, including approval of a property settlement agreement, that would be described in § 206 (d) (3) (B) of ERISA if the retirement plan were subject to ERISA.
“Annual benefit” means an amount payable as an annuity for the lifetime of the individual who claims the exemption provided under this section, assuming that annuity payments will commence upon the individual’s attainment of age sixty-five or, if the individual attained age sixty-five on or before the exemption provided under this section is claimed, the individual’s age on the date that the exemption is claimed.
“Retirement plan” means a plan, account, or arrangement that is intended to satisfy the requirements of United States Internal Revenue Code §§ 401, 403 (a), 403 (b), 408, 408 A, 409 (as in effect prior to repeal by United States P.L. 98-369), or § 457. Whether a plan, account, or arrangement is intended to satisfy the requirements of one of the foregoing provisions shall be determined based on all of the relevant facts and circumstances including, but not limited to, the issuance of a favorable determination letter by the United States Internal Revenue Service, reports or returns filed with United States or state agencies, and communications from the plan sponsor to participants.
B. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the interest of an individual under a retirement plan shall be exempt from creditor process to the same extent permitted under federal bankruptcy law for such a plan. The exemption provided by this section shall be available whether such individual has an interest in the retirement plan as a participant, beneficiary, contingent annuitant, alternate payee, or otherwise.
C. The exemption provided under subsection B shall not apply to claims made against an individual by the alternate payee of such individual or to claims made against such individual by the Commonwealth in administrative actions pursuant to Chapter 19 (§ 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2 or any court process to enforce a child or child and spousal support obligation.
D. If two individuals who are married or were married are entitled to claim the exemption provided under subsection B of an interest under the same retirement plan or plans and such individuals are jointly subject to creditor process as to the same debt or obligation and the debt or obligation arose during the marriage, then the exemption provided under subsection B as to such debts or obligations shall not exceed, in the aggregate, the exemption permitted under federal bankruptcy law for such a plan. The exemption permitted under federal bankruptcy law shall be allocated among such persons in the same proportion as their respective interests in the retirement plan or plans.
E. The exemption provided under this section must be claimed within the time limits prescribed by § 34-17.
§ 19.2-368.12. Awards not subject to execution or attachment; apportionment; reductions. (Crime Victims’ Compensation)
B. If there are two or more persons entitled to an award as a result of the death of a person which is the direct result of a crime, the award shall be apportioned among the claimants.
C. In determining the amount of an award, the Commission shall determine whether, because of his conduct, the victim of such crime contributed to the infliction of his injury, and the Commission shall reduce the amount of the award or reject the claim altogether, in accordance with such determination; provided, however, that the Commission may disregard for this purpose the responsibility of the victim for his own injury where the record shows that such responsibility was attributable to efforts by the victim to prevent a crime or an attempted crime from occurring in his presence, or to apprehend a person who had committed a crime in his presence or had, in fact, committed a felony.
§ 23-38.81. Prepaid tuition contracts and savings trust agreements; terms; termination; etc.
The assignee or lawful beneficiary of an insurance policy shall be entitled to its proceeds against any claims of the creditors or representatives of the insured or the person effecting the policy, except in cases of transfer with intent to defraud creditors, subject to the following conditions:
2. The assignee of the policy, or the payee, if the policy is otherwise made payable to another, shall not be the insured, nor the person effecting the policy, nor the executors or administrators;
3. The right to change the beneficiary may or may not have been reserved or permitted;
4. The policy may be payable to the person whose life is insured if the beneficiary or assignee predeceases the insured; and
5. Subject to the statute of limitations, the amount of any premiums for such policy paid with the intent to defraud creditors, or paid under such circumstances as to be void under § 55-81, with the interest thereon, shall be to the benefit of the creditors from the proceeds of the policy.
No group life insurance policy, nor its proceeds, 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 any person insured under the policy, or his beneficiary, or any other person who has a right under the policy, either before or after payment. If the proceeds of a group life insurance policy are not made payable to a named beneficiary, the proceeds shall not constitute a part of the insured person’s estate for the payment of his debts.
The installment payments to the holder of any accident and sickness insurance policy or certificate shall not be subject to the lien of any attachment, garnishment proceeding, writ of fieri facias, or to levy or distress in any manner for any debt due by the holder of the policy or certificate.
The payments in weekly or monthly installments to the holder of any policy of industrial sick benefit insurance shall not be subject to the lien of any attachment, garnishment proceeding, writ of fieri facias, or to levy or distress in any manner, for any debt due by the holder of the policy.
Any money, other benefit, charity, relief or aid to be paid, provided or rendered by any company shall not be liable to attachment, garnishment or other process, or 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, his beneficiary, or any other person who may have a right thereunder, either before or after payment.
No beneficiary shall have or obtain any vested interest in a benefit until the benefit has become due and payable upon the death of the member. No certificate of membership in any burial society, nor any interest or rights in the certificate shall be assigned unless the assignment is to a person authorized by § 38.2-4019 to be named as a beneficiary except for the purpose of funding or paying for a preneed funeral contract as defined in § 54.1-2800, notwithstanding the provisions of § 38.2-4022, and so long as such assignment is revocable by the assignor. No money or other benefit provided by any burial society shall be liable to attachment, garnishment or other process, or 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 to the benefit, either before or after payment.
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.
The uniforms, arms and equipment required by law or regulations, of every commissioned and warrant officer and every enlisted person of the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Defense Force and naval militia shall be exempt from sale under any execution, distress or other process for debt and taxes.
§ 50-73.108. Partner’s transferable interest subject to charging order.
B. A charging order constitutes a lien on the judgment debtor’s transferable interest in the partnership.
C. This chapter does not deprive a partner or a partner’s assignee of a right under exemption laws with respect to the judgment debtor’s interest in the partnership.
D. The entry of a charging order is the exclusive remedy by which a judgment creditor of a partner or of a partner’s transferee may satisfy a judgment out of the judgment debtor’s transferable interest in the partnership.
E. No creditor of a partner or of a partner’s assignee shall have any right to obtain possession of, or otherwise exercise legal or equitable remedies with respect to, the property of the partnership.
§ 51.1-124.4. Exemption of assets from taxation; exemption of benefits and assets from execution and assignment; trust funds; unclaimed property; eligible rollover distribution. (State Employees)
B. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary that would otherwise limit a distributee’s election, a distributee may elect, at the time and in the manner prescribed by the Board, to have any portion of an eligible rollover distribution paid directly to an eligible retirement plan specified by the distributee in a direct rollover. The terms “eligible rollover distribution,” “eligible retirement plan” and “distributee” have the meanings prescribed by § 401(a)(31) of the Internal Revenue Code (including as such section is amended or renumbered, or any successor provision thereto) and the regulations thereunder, as may be amended. In the event of a mandatory cash-out, as that term is defined under the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations thereunder applicable to governmental plans, greater than $1,000, if the member does not elect to have such distribution paid directly to an eligible retirement plan specified by the member in a direct rollover or to receive the distribution directly in accordance with this section, then the Board shall pay the distribution in a direct rollover to an individual retirement plan designated by the Board in accordance with subsection F of § 51.1-124.30.
§ 51.1-510. Insurance exempt from process.
B. From any insurance proceeds payable pursuant to this chapter to a retiree’s beneficiaries, the Board may deduct any overpayment of retirement allowance paid to such retiree.
The assets of any retirement system established pursuant to this article, or by a city or town charter, are hereby exempted from any state, county, or municipal tax. The assets of a retirement system, retirement allowances, and other benefits accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of this chapter, or under any city or town charter, shall not be subject to execution, attachment, garnishment, or any other process except for administrative actions pursuant to Chapter 19 (§ 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2 or any court process to enforce a child or child and spousal support obligation, nor shall any assignment thereof be enforceable in any court. However, retirement benefits and assets created under this title which are deemed to be marital property pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 20-89.1 et seq.) of Title 20 may be divided or transferred by the court by direct assignment to a spouse or former spouse pursuant to § 20-107.3.
Any assignment, pledge or encumbrance of any right to benefits which are or may become due or payable under this title shall be void except as provided in this section and in §§ 60.2-608, 60.2-608.1, 60.2-608.2, and 60.2-633. Such rights to benefits shall be exempt from levy, execution, attachment, garnishment or any other legal process provided for the collection of debt, even if the compensation is used for purchase of shares in a credit union, or deposited into an account with a financial institution or other organization accepting deposits and is thereby commingled with other funds, except debts incurred for necessaries furnished to such individual, his spouse or dependents during the time when such individual was unemployed. Any waiver of any exemption provided for in this section shall be void.
Upon an order of garnishment, attachment or other levy addressed to a financial institution in which the principal defendant claims to have exempt funds hereunder, the principal defendant may file an answer asserting the exemption hereunder. From the time of service of such garnishment, attachment or levy, the financial institution, until further order of the court, shall hold the amount subject to such garnishment, attachment or levy, or such lesser amount or sum as it may have, which amount shall be set forth in its answer. It shall hold such amount free of any person drawing against such funds whether by check against such account or otherwise. The financial institution shall be subject to such further order or subpoena for discovery of its records, for which it shall be entitled an order or agreement for compensation for the expense of such service, and in a case deemed appropriate to the court by such an order directing deposit of funds or further security prior to such records being ordered produced.
Except as provided in § 63.2-512, no public assistance given under this subtitle shall be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the money paid or payable as public assistance under this subtitle shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency laws.
§ 65.2-531. Assignments of compensation; exemption from creditors’ claims. (Workers’ Compensation)
B. Upon an order of garnishment, attachment or other levy addressed to a financial institution in which the principal defendant claims to have exempt funds hereunder, the principal defendant may file an answer asserting the exemption hereunder. From the time of service of such garnishment, attachment or levy, the financial institution, until further order of the court, shall hold the amount subject to such garnishment, attachment or levy, or such lesser amount or sum as it may have, which amount shall be set forth in its answer. It shall hold such amount free of any person drawing against such funds whether by check against such account or otherwise. The financial institution shall be subject to such further order or subpoena for discovery of its records, for which it shall be entitled an order or agreement for compensation for the expense of such service, and in a case deemed appropriate to the court by such an order directing deposit of funds or further security prior to such records being ordered produced.
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 Virginia bankruptcy court statutes.