West Virginia Bankruptcy Laws : West Virginia State Exemptions

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

§ 38-10-4. Exemptions of property in bankruptcy proceedings.
Pursuant to the provisions of 11 U.S.C. §522(b)(1), this state specifically does not authorize debtors who are domiciled in this state to exempt the property specified under the provisions of 11 U.S.C. §522(d). Any person who files a petition under the federal bankruptcy law may exempt from property of the estate in a bankruptcy proceeding the following property:

(a) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed twenty-five 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: Provided, That when the debtor is a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state under article three or article fourteen, chapter thirty of this code, and has commenced a bankruptcy proceeding in part due to a verdict or judgment entered in a medical professional liability action, if the physician has current medical malpractice insurance in the amount of at least one million dollars for each occurrence, the debtor physician’s interest that is exempt under this subsection may exceed twenty-five thousand dollars in value but may not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars per household.
(b) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed two thousand four hundred dollars in value, in one motor vehicle.
(c) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed four hundred dollars in value in any particular item, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops or musical instruments that are held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor: Provided, That the total amount of personal property exempted under this subsection may not exceed eight thousand dollars.
(d) The debtor’s 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.
(e) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed in value eight hundred dollars plus any unused amount of the exemption provided under subsection (a) of this section in any property.
(f) The debtor’s 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.
(g) Any unmeasured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract.
(h) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed in value eight thousand dollars less any amount of property of the estate transferred in the manner specified in 11 U.S.C. §542(d), in any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan value of, any unmeasured life insurance contract owned by the debtor under which the insured is the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent.
(i) Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(j) The debtor’s right to receive:

(1) A social security benefit, unemployment compensation or a local public assistance benefit;
(2) A veterans’ benefit;
(3) A disability, illness or unemployment benefit;
(4) Alimony, support or separate maintenance, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;
(5) 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, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor, and funds on deposit in an individual retirement account (IRA), including a simplified employee pension (SEP) regardless of the amount of funds, unless:

(A) 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;
(B) The payment is on account of age or length of service;
(C) The plan or contract does not qualify under Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408 or 409 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and
(D) With respect to an individual retirement account, including a simplified employee pension, the amount is subject to the excise tax on excess contributions under Section 4973 and/or Section 4979 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any successor provisions, regardless of whether the tax is paid.

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

(1) An award under a crime victim’s reparation law;
(2) 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;
(3) A payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent on the date of the individual’s death, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;
(4) A payment, not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars on account of personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent;
(5) A payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor;
(6) Payments made to the prepaid tuition trust fund or to the savings plan trust fund, including earnings, in accordance with article thirty, chapter eighteen of this code on behalf of any beneficiary.
§ 38-5A-3. Application for suggestee execution against salary or wages; extent of lien and continuing levy; exemption; priority among suggestee executions.
A judgment creditor may apply to the court in which the judgment was recovered or a court having jurisdiction of the same, without notice to the judgment debtor, for a suggestee execution against any money due or to become due within one year after the issuance of such execution to the judgment debtor as salary or wages arising out of any private employment. If satisfactory proof shall be made, by affidavit or otherwise, of such facts and the fact that the amount due or to become due as salary or wages after the deduction of all state and federal taxes exceeds in any week thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage then in effect, the court, if not a court of record, or if a court of record, the clerk thereof, shall issue a suggestee execution against the salary or wages of the judgment debtor and upon presentation of such execution by the officer to whom delivered for collection to the person or persons from which such salary or wages are due and owing or thereafter may become due and owing to the judgment debtor, the execution and the expenses thereof shall become a lien and continuing levy upon the salary or wages due or to become due to the judgment debtor within one year after the issuance of the same, unless sooner vacated or modified as hereinafter provided, to an amount equal to twenty per centum thereof and no more, but in no event shall the payments in satisfaction of such an execution reduce the amount payable to the judgment debtor to an amount per week that is less than thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage then in effect. Only one such execution shall be satisfied, at one time, except that in the event two or more such executions have been served and satisfaction of the one having priority is completed without exhausting the amount of the salary or wages then due and payable that is subject to suggestion under this article the balance of such amount shall be paid in satisfaction, in the order of their priority, of junior suggestee executions against such salary or wages theretofore served.
§ 5-10-46. Right to benefits not subject to execution, etc.; assignments prohibited; deductions for group insurance; setoffs for fraud; exception for certain domestic relations orders. (Public Employees)
The right of a person to any benefit provided for in this article shall not be subject to execution, attachment, garnishment, the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency laws, or other process whatsoever, nor shall any assignment thereof be enforceable in any court except that the benefits or contributions under this system shall be subject to “qualified domestic relations orders” as that term is defined in Section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code as applicable to governmental plans: Provided, That should a member be covered by a group insurance or prepayment plan participated in by a participating public employer, and should he or she be permitted to, and elect to, continue such coverage as a retirant, he or she may authorize the board of trustees to have deducted from his or her annuity the payments required of him or her to continue coverage under such group insurance or prepayment plan: Provided, however, That a participating public employer shall have the right of setoff for any claim arising from embezzlement by, or fraud of, a member, retirant or beneficiary.
§ 9-5-1. Exemption of grants from certain taxes and claims.
Grants of all classes of welfare assistance received under the provisions of this chapter shall be exempted from the collection of taxes except sales taxes, from levy of execution, garnishment, suggestion, and any other legal process.
§ 18-7A-30. Exemption from taxation, garnishment and other process; exception for qualified domestic relations order. (Teachers)
The moneys in the various funds and the right of a member to a retirement allowance, to the return of contributions, or to any benefit under the provisions of this article, are hereby exempt from municipal tax; shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment or any other process whatsoever except that any benefits or contributions under this system shall be subject to “qualified domestic relations orders” as that term is defined in Section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Code with respect to governmental plans; and shall be unassignable except as is provided in this article.
§ 23-4-18. Mode of paying benefits generally; exemptions of compensation from legal process. (Workers’ Compensation)
Except as provided by this section, compensation shall be paid only to the employees or their dependents and is exempt from all claims of creditors and from any attachment, execution or assignment other than compensation to counsel for legal services, under the provisions of, and subject to the limitations contained in section sixteen, article five of this chapter, and other than for the enforcement of orders for child or spousal support entered pursuant to the provisions of chapter forty-eight of this code. Payments may be made in the periodic installments determined by the commission in each case, but in no event less frequently than semimonthly for any temporary award and monthly for any permanent award. Payments for permanent disability shall be paid on or before the third day of the month in which they are due. In all cases where compensation is awarded or increased, the amount of compensation shall be calculated and paid from the date of disability.
§ 33-6-28. Group life insurance proceeds exempt from creditors
(a) A policy of group life insurance or the proceeds thereof payable to the individual insured or to the beneficiary thereunder, shall not be liable, either before or after payment, to be applied by any legal or equitable process to pay any liability of any person having a right under the policy.
(b) This section shall not apply to group life insurance issued to a creditor covering his debtors, to the extent that such proceeds are applied to payment of the obligation for the purpose for which the insurance was so issued.
§ 33-23-21. Benefits not liable to process.
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.

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 West Virginia bankruptcy court statutes.

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