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How Much Can I Claim in Bankruptcy Exemptions in Wisconsin?

Facing overwhelming debt can be a stressful and frightening experience. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin, one of your primary concerns might be protecting your assets. Wisconsin, like all states, offers bankruptcy exemptions that allow you to shield certain valuable items from liquidation during the bankruptcy process. This blog post will explain the specifics of Wisconsin’s bankruptcy exemptions, helping you understand how much you can claim and keep hold of.

Types of Bankruptcy Exemptions in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin provides two sets of exemptions you can choose from:

  • Wisconsin Exemptions: These exemptions are specific to the state and offer protection for various categories of property.
  • Federal Exemptions: The federal bankruptcy code also offers a set of exemptions. You can choose to utilize these exemptions instead of the Wisconsin ones, but generally, the state exemptions provide more generous coverage.

Here’s a breakdown of the key Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions:

  • Homestead Exemption: This exemption shields a portion of the equity you have in your primary residence. The exemption amount is $75,000 for a single filer and doubles to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  • Motor Vehicle Exemption: You can exempt up to $4,000 of equity in a motor vehicle. Married couples filing together can double this amount to $8,000. It’s important to note that the equity refers to the fair market value of the vehicle minus any outstanding loan amount.
  • Wild Card Exemption: Wisconsin offers a “wild card exemption” that allows you to protect up to $12,000 of your personal property. This exemption can be used for various household items like furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, and jewelry. The unused portion of this exemption can also be applied towards your motor vehicle if its equity value exceeds the dedicated motor vehicle exemption.
  • Other Exemptions: Wisconsin offers additional exemptions for specific categories of property, including:
    • Up to $5,000 of equity in savings accounts and checking accounts (doubles to $10,000 for married couples filing jointly)
    • Up to $50,000 of personal injury awards
    • Tools of the trade used for your profession (up to a specific value)
    • Certain types of retirement savings accounts (with limitations)

Choosing the Right Exemptions in Wisconsin:

When filing for bankruptcy, your attorney will advise you on the best course of action regarding exemptions. Generally, it’s recommended to choose the exemption set that offers the most protection for your assets. Consider the value of your property and which set of exemptions will best shield your belongings from liquidation.

Important Exemption Considerations:

  • Exemptions Apply Only to Equity: It’s crucial to remember that exemptions only protect the equity you have in your property, not the total value. For example, if your car is worth $10,000 and you still owe $8,000 on a loan, the exemption would only shield the remaining $2,000 of equity.
  • Exemptions Have Limits: The exemption amounts mentioned above are maximums. The actual value you can claim might be lower depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
  • Consult with a Bankruptcy Attorney: Bankruptcy laws are complex, and navigating the exemption process can be challenging. Consulting with a qualified Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney is essential. They can assess your financial situation, explain the exemptions in detail, and help you develop a strategy to maximize your asset protection.


Wisconsin’s bankruptcy exemptions offer valuable protection for your assets during a bankruptcy filing. By understanding the types of exemptions available and their corresponding limits, you can make informed decisions about which ones to utilize.

Feel free to reach out below and we can discuss your options.

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