Massachusetts Exemption Notes

You can choose the federal exemptions in Massachusetts, however the state  Homestead is quite generous $125,000 "automatic" homestead and $500,000 for "declared" homesteads. Joint filers cannot double.
Massachusetts is also one of those states that specifies that you can keep "2 cows, 12 sheep, 2 swine, 4 tons of hay."

And,  on a more practical note, you can exempt up to $15,000 of household property, and a motor vehicle equity up to $7500 which is quite generous compared to the national average.

And in addition to the $1000 wildcard exemption, you can use up to $4000 of the unused homestead or vehicle exemption for any other property. All in all, Massachusetts does a good job protecting debtors who file for bankruptcy.

Massachusetts Exemptions Discussed On The Web

Both UpSolve and Nolo have discussions of Massachusetts bankruptcy exemptions.


Can I use the §522(d) Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Massachusetts?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.



Automatic homestead $125,000; Declared homestead $500,000 for property you occupy or intend to occupy (including mobile home); (co-owners may not double) (special rules if over 62 or disabled, may double to 1,000,00).

Motor Vehicle

$7,500; $15,000 if used by elderly or disabled debtor


up to $1,000 plus up to $5,000 unused about of exemptions for automobile, household furnishings, and tools of trade

Personal Property

Beds & bedding; heating unit; clothing
Bibles & books to $500 total; sewing machine/computer/TV to $300
Boats to $1,500
Cash for fuel, heat, water, or light to $500 per month
Cash to $2,500/month for rent, in lieu of homestead
2 cows, 12 sheep, 2 swine, 4 tons of hay
Food or cash for food to $600
Jewelry to $1,225
Household furnishings to $15,000;
Trust company, bank, or credit union deposits to $2,500
Tools of trade to $5,000
Materials, stock of trade $5,000

See Also:
  • Homestead

  • Homestead [US] Real property, including co-op or mobile home, or burial plot to $27,900; unused portion of homestead to $13,950 may be applied to any property
  • Tenancy by Entirety

  • Tenancy by Entirety [US] Tenancy by entirety is exempt only if debtor chooses State & Non-bankruptcy exemptions.
  • Insurance — Life, Disability

  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Disability, illness, or unemployment benefits
  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Life insurance payments from policy for person you depended on, needed for support
  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Life insurance policy loan value, in accured dividends or interest, to $14,875
  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Unamtured life insurance contract, except credit insurance policy
  • Pensions & Retirement Savings

  • Pensions & Retirement Savings [US] All types of retirement funds and accounts that tax-exempt under IRC section 401, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a) ; IRAs & Roth IRAs limited to $1,512,350 (excluding rollover contributions); limitation can be overidden by judge.
  • Personal Property

  • Personal Property [US] Animals, crops, clothing, appliances, books, furnishings, household goods, musical instruments to $700 per item, $14,875 total
  • Personal Property [US] Health aids
  • Personal Property [US] Jewelry to $1,875
  • Personal Property [US] Lost earnings payments
  • Personal Property [US] Motor vehicle to $4,450
  • Personal Property [US] Personal injury recoveries to $27,900 (not to include pain & suffering or pecuniary loss)
  • Personal Property [US] Wrongful death recoveries for person you depended on
  • Public Benefits

  • Public Benefits [US] Crime victims' compensation
  • Public Benefits [US] Social Security
  • Public Benefits [US] Unemployment compensation
  • Public Benefits [US] Veteran's benefits
  • Tools of Trade

  • Tools of Trade [US] Implements, books, & tools of trade to $2,800
  • Wages

  • Wages [US] None
  • Wild Card

  • Wild Card [US] $1,475 of any property
  • Wild Card [US] Up to $13,950 of unused homestead exemption amount, for any property.
  • Miscellaneous

  • Miscellaneous [US] Alimony, child support needed for support

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