Some property is totally exempt from debt collections (unless you have put the property up as collateral). This means the creditor can’t take this property. “Equity” means the amount of the value of your property which is available to you, after accounting for any existing liens. These items are exempt:
If you don’t own a home, you can apply this exemption to a burial plot.
Equity in one vehicle up to $7,500.
Equity in “tools of the trade” of up to $5,000.
Your clothing up to $200 in value for each item.
Equity in household furniture, appliances, and other household goods up to $200 for each item.
Jewelry up to $750 in total value, and your wedding and engagement rings.
Life insurance contracts (and up to $4000 in any accrued dividends, interest, or loan value in such contracts).
Certain farm equipment if you are a farmer.
A fishing boat if you fish commercially.
Certain amounts of heating fuel and cord wood.
Your furnace, heating stoves and one cook stove.
Prescribed health aids.
A supply of food, seed, and gardening tools.
You may also claim a $400.00 exemption on any property whether or not otherwise exempt.
If you have not used all of your home equity exemption (the first item on this list), you may use up to $6,000.00 of the unused portion to protect your clothing, household goods, tools of trade, or personal injury award.
From your weekly income or paycheck, this amount is protected from debt collection:
3/4 of your take home pay, whichever is more.
Important Note: Different rules apply to some special categories of debt, like child support.
These sources of income are exempt from debt collection:
Social Security & SSI
Maine State Retirement Benefits
Alimony or support necessary for support of debtor or dependents
Other forms of public aid
Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit
Some other kinds of income are exempt, like: income from certain pension funds and retirement plans, certain life insurance payments, and certain types of damage awards. Get legal advice if you have questions about this kind of income.
Important Note: If your exempt property, income, or earnings are taken by order of the court, seek legal advice immediately. You can call Pine Tree Legal Assistance for help.