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Wildcard shows largest difference between Oregon and federal laws

When a person files for bankruptcy, there is a different set of guidelines that must be followed depending on the situation. Those who owe debtors a certain amount of money may be able to keep certain goods they have purchased under federal and state exemptions to bankruptcy laws. Federal exemptions are changed every three years to account for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and these exemptions are only available to consumers during bankruptcy proceedings. The difference between state and federal laws in amounts allowed for exemptions is the most obvious with the Wildcard exemption used by many consumers during the bankruptcy process.

Oregon state law allows consumers an exemption of $400 under the Wildcard exemption, which can be used to cover assets like firearms that are not included in bankruptcy laws. The wildcard exemption can also be used to further enhance other exemptions used during the bankruptcy process.

Federal bankruptcy exemptions allow the consumer an amount of $1,225 combined with up to $11,500 of unused Homestead exemptions that can then be applied to another property. If the person is married, the amount used for an exemption then doubles to $25,450 for both people.

When a person in Oregon files for bankruptcy, they must choose between one set of exemptions, and are not allowed to use both. Those who are married must choose the same set of exemptions. Because bankruptcy laws may be confusing to the average citizen struggling from overwhelming debt and looking for a fresh financial start, it may be beneficial to consult an attorney before bankruptcy proceedings are started.

Source: NACBA, “Comparison between popular Oregon and federal exemptions

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