Wyoming Homestead Exemption
Almost every state provides protection for equity in the family home, and many states have increased the amount of protection in recent years. Seven states offer unlimited protection. Most states are not as generous.
New Federal Residency Requirement
Under the new bankruptcy law, you must be have lived in the state for at least 40 months (three years and four months) before you can claim any homestead protection greater than $160,375. (If your state's exemption offers less than this amount, the law is irrelevant to you.) The law is poorly worded but seems to say that if you move from one home to another in the same state, you can claim that state's homestead protection.
Home Valuation tool
Just add your street address to get an estimate of the value of your house, and all others in your neighborhood. (Note: Does not serve all areas, and valuations are imperfect estimates only.)
Tenancy by Entirety Exemption
Tenancy by the Entirety (TBE) is a form of property ownership, based on traditional English common law, that is still recognized in about 1/2 of states and the most common form of martial property ownership in many of them.
It protects property that is jointly owned by a married couple as an "entirety" -- which is to say, as a single marital entity, not as individuals.
Tenancy by the Entirety (TBE) was originally conceived as a debt shield -- a way of protecting wives and children from being left homeless and penniless as a result of the debts of a husband. Under the English common law TBE doctrine, a husband could not sell property owned by "the entirety", or give it away, or pledge it as security for a loan without the consent of his wife.
Today, 25 states still recognize some form of tenancy by the entirety, but they differ on the extent to which the property is exempt.
Special notes about Wyoming Tenancy by the Entirety Exemptions: Wyoming recognizes TBE and deems it exempt during the joint lives of the tenants.
Wyoming Insurance exemptions
Virtually all states protect life insurance proceeds in some manner or another. Some restrict it to proceeds paid to a dependent. Many states also protect the cash-value or loan-value of insurance policies.
If a substantial amount of your assets are in life insurance, you may want to consult a professional to determine the extent to which those policies are exempt.
- Annuity contract proceeds to $350 per month
Wyo. Stat. § 26-15-132
- Disability benefits if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary's creditors
Wyo. Stat. § 26-15-130
- Fraternal benefit society benefits
Wyo. Stat. § 26-29-218
- Group life or disability policy or proceeds, cash surrender & loan values, premiums waived, and dividends
Wyo. Stat. § 26-15-131
- Individual life insurance policy proceeds, cash surrender & loan values, premiums waived, and dividends
Wyo. Stat. § 26-15-129
- Life insurance proceeds held by insurer, if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary's creditors
Wyo. Stat. § 26-15-133
Miscellaneous other exemptions for Wyoming
Wyoming Pensions & Retirement Savings Exemptions
The new federal bankruptcy law now automatically exempts a virtually all tax-exempt pensions and retirement savings accounts from bankruptcy, even if you are using state law exemptions. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C). (See Help Topic: Special Rules For Retirement Accounts.)
The law protects up to $1,283,025 of any pension or retirement fund that qualifies forspecial tax treatment under Internal Revenue Code sections 401,402, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a).
- Criminal investigators, highway officers
Wyo. Stat. § 9-3-620
- Firefighters' death benefits
Wyo. Stat. § 15-5-209
- Game & fish wardens
Wyo. Stat. § 9-3-620
- Police officers
Wyo. Stat. § 15-5-313 (c)
- Private or public retirement funds & accounts, including IRAs, Roth IRAs and SEP IRAs, and inherited accounts
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-110
- Public employees
Wyo. Stat. § 9-3-426
Wyoming Personal Property Exemptions
This category covers your car, your non-retirement bank accounts, and most of your other personal possessions, other than your house.
States vary widely on how generous they are in this area. Some exemptions may be for any combination of property up to an aggregate amount. Other exemptions apply only to specific items, such as jewelry.
Remember that an exemption will not protect your car from being repossessed by the holder of the car loan you used to purchase the vehicle if you pledged the vehicle as security for the loan. To keep the car, you will have to pursue other options such as 'redemption' or 'reaffirmation.' See the help topics and How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for more on this.
- Bedding, furniture, household articles, & food to $4,000 per person in the home
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-106 (a)(iii)
- Bible, schoolbooks, & pictures
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-106 (a)(i)
- Burial plot
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-106 (a)(ii)
- Clothing & wedding rings to $2,000
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-105
- Medical savings account contributions
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-111
- Motor vehicle to $5,000
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-106 (a)(iv)
- Prepaid funeral contracts
Wyo. Stat. § 26-32-102
Auto Valuation Tools:
Both of these websites offer interactive tools to determine the current value of your used car.
Wyoming Public Benefits Exemptions
Most states exempt public benefits, consistent with the notion that such benefits are intended as a safety net for the recipient.
- Crime victims' compensation
Wyo. Stat. § 1-40-113
- General assistance
Wyo. Stat. § 42-2-113 (b)
In re Trudeau, 237 B.R. 803 (10th Cir. BAP 1999) (EIC portion of tax refund was not “public assistance,” and could not be claimed as exempted under special Wyoming exemption for “public assistance and social services” provided to debtor)
- Unemployment compensation
Wyo. Stat. § 27-3-319
- Workers' compensation
Wyo. Stat. § 27-14-702
Wyoming Tools of Trade Exemptions
These are the things you use to make a living. An automobile or truck can be a tool of trade if you use it as such. Commuting to work doesn't count, but if driving is a necessary component of transacting your business, you can claim your vehicle is a tool of trade.
- Library & implements of profession to $4,000 or tools, motor vehicle, implements, team & stock in trade to $4,000
Wyo. Stat. § 1-20-106 (b)
Wyoming Wage Garnishment Laws
Most states have a wage garnishment law. In some states, wage garnishment laws can be used in bankruptcy as an exemption to protect income that you had coming due, but not yet received, as of the day you filed, for work you had already done -- so called "earned but unpaid wages".
In some states, the wage garnishment law protects not only wages owed to you, but also wages already in your possession and saved over time preferably holding it in a separate bank account. In other states wage garnishment laws do not protect wages once they are they are in your possession.
- Earnings of National Guard members
Wyo. Stat. § 19-9-401
- Minimum 75% of disposable weekly earnings or 30 times the federal hourly minimum wage, whichever is more
Wyo. Stat. § 1-15-511
Wyo. Stat. § 1-15-408
Wyo. Stat. § 40-14-505
In re Walsh, 96 P.3d 1 (Wyo. 2004)
- Wages of inmates in adult community corrections program
Wyo. Stat. § 7-18-114
- Wages of inmates in correctional industries program
Wyo. Stat. § 25-13-107
- Wages of inmates on work release
Wyo. Stat. § 7-16-308
Wyoming Wild Card Exemption
Most, but not all, states allow a so-called "wild-card" exemption that can apply to any property. The wild card exemption can be of particular help if one or more of your other exemptions falls short of protecting your equity. You may split your wild card exemption amount over multiple items and stack it atop other exemptions as needed to protect exposed equity.