This topic collects a few bizarre rulings that go against established precedent to state that state "bankruptcy-only" exemption laws are unconstitutional. These cases fly in the face of many many years of established federal law and will probably eventually be overturned.
A collection of various cases on a variety of exemption issues in various states, and federal limits on exemptions.
Can be a confusing topic. Here are some cases that are good at explaining it.
The Supreme Court in Schwab v Reillly stated that, if you are claiming exempt property at specific dollar amounts, you should indicate to the trustee if you believe that dollar amount renders the asset fully exempt, by adding the phrase "100% of FMV" to the dollar amount exempted.
This puts the trustee on notice of your position and if he/she does not agree, they must object then, rather than wait to see if the asset appreciates. This prevents the trustee from sitting on property (e.g. a house) to see if the value will go up. For example, an underwater house could be listed as having a exempt equity of "$1 100%FMV"
If the trustee does not object to the debtor's assertion as to the asset's value within the time allotted by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4003(b)(1), the the exemption is deemed correct whether or not there is a colorable statutory basis for the exemptions. Taylor v. Freeland & Kronz, 503 U.S. 638, 644, 112 S.Ct. 1644, 1648 (1992).
See In re Massey, Case No. 11-41059-MSH, (Bankr.D.Mass 2011).
If the debtor does not put "100% of FMV" after the stated exempt amount, the issue of whether the asset is fully exempt remains an open issue, which the trustee can challenge later, on the ground that the debtor's asserted value of the exempt amount was not an assertion as it was 100% exempt. See, Schwab v Reilly, 130 S.Ct. 2652 (Supreme Court 2010).
While IRAs are clearly exempt, there has been a split in caselaw on the issue of whether inherited IRAs are also exempt. Cases seem to be trending to say that inherited IRAs they ARE exempt. One case saying otherwise was reversed by the Fifth Circuit in March 2012. (In re Chilton) Meanwhile, a recent 2013 decision from the 7th Circuit (In re Clark) has held that they are not exempt.
"Most of the courts that have analyzed this issue have concluded that inherited IRAs are "retirement funds" as that phrase is used in section 522(d)(12). Nessa, 426 B.R. at 314; In re Kuchta, 434 B.R. 837, 843-44 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 2010); In re Tabor, 433 B.R. 469, 476 (Bankr. M.D. Pa. 2010); In re Thiem, 443 B.R. 832, 843-44 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2011); In re Weilhammer, No. 09-15148-LT7, 2010 WL 3431465, at *4-*6 (Bankr. S.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2010); In re Stephenson, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142360, at *7-*8. These courts have noted that the statute does not explicitly limit "retirement funds" to retirement funds that belong to the debtor. See, e.g., Nessa, 426 B.R. at 314. Accordingly, they have reasoned that "retirement funds" can include the funds that others had originally set aside for their retirement, as with inherited IRAs. Id." In re Chilton
See also: http://www.ncbrc.org/tag/inherited-iras/
"The line of cases that deny exemptions in inherited IRAs commonly conclude that inherited IRAs are (1) fundamentally different from a traditional IRA under the IRC and (2) lack a retirement purpose. These courts determined that an inherited IRA is (1) subject to an entirely different set of rules upon the use, distribution and taxation of the funds, and (2) no longer for used for retirement purposes but is "a liquid asset which may be accessed by [the debtor] at his discretion withhout penalty, and which he must take as income within a relatively short period of time without regard for his retirement needs." In re Sims, 241 B.R. 467, 470 (Bankr.N.D.Okla. 1999) (Oklahoma law); see also In re Chilton, 426 B.R. 612 (Bankr.E.D.Tex.2010) (§ 522(d)(12)); In re Ard, 435 B.R. 719 (Bankr.M.D.Fla.2010) (Florida law and citing case law for § 522(d)(12), and citing Robertson v. Deeb, 16 So.3d 936 (Ct.App.2 Dist.2009)) (non-spousal inherited IRA not exempt from garnishment); In re Klipsch, 435 B.R. 586 (Bankr.S.D.Ind.2010) (Indiana law); In re Jarboe, 365 B.R. 717 (Bankr.S.D.Tex.2007) (Texas law); In re Taylor, 2006 WL 1275400, at *2 (Bankr. C.D.Ill.2006) (Illinois law); In re Navarre, 332 B.R. 24 (Bankr.M.D.Ala.2004) (Alabama law).
" In re Thiem 433 BR 823 (disagreeing with cited cases).
A collection of various cases on whether wage garnishment laws create an exemption in bankruptcy.
Some courts have held that state wage garnishment laws do not create an exemption in bankruptcy. Many courts have also found that the federal non-bankruptcy prohibition on for wage garnishment also does not create an exemption in bankruptcy. See, e.g. IN RE BLOOMSTEIN, Case No. 09-11241-JNF., Bankr. Court, D. Massachusetts 2010("15 U.S.C. § 1673 restrains the seizure of wages but does not establish an exemption applicable to bankruptcy cases"); Smith v. Frazier, 421 B.R. 513 (S.D. Ill. 2009); In re Riendeau, 293 B.R. 832 (D. Vt. 2002), aff'd, 336 F.3d 78 (2d Cir. 2003).