Bankruptcy: New Hampshire
Filing bankruptcy in New Hampshire gives honest debtors an opportunity to recover from debt and repays creditors to the extent that a debtor’s property value or earnings permit. 5,507 bankruptcies were filed in New Hampshire in 2010, ranking New Hampshire 29th in the country for the number of bankruptcy filings per capita. 80% of New Hampshire’s bankruptcy petitions in 2010 sought protection under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Filing Bankruptcy in New Hampshire
Federal law regulates bankruptcy proceedings in New Hampshire, and as such, all bankruptcy cases are filed in the US Bankruptcy Courts located in Manchester. Although federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy proceedings, New Hampshire law permits petitioners to use the exemptions found in the U.S. bankruptcy code or the exemptions provided under New Hampshire law. The exemption systems cannot be mixed and matched. With the guidance of a bankruptcy attorney New Hampshire petitioners can gain a full understanding of what personal property the systems permit the petitioner to keep in bankruptcy, and what must be sold.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, New Hampshire
Chapter 7 bankruptcies in New Hampshire are the most common bankruptcy petition filed. Chapter 7 is best suited to petitioners who do not have major assets such as investments or significant equity in a home, for the reason that a Bankruptcy Trustee may liquidate personal property that is not protected by New Hampshire’s bankruptcy exemptions. Liquidation is the process by which a court-appointed Trustee converts personal assets to cash to distribute among creditors. New Hampshire’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy law allows petitioners to keep some essential property and these exempt assets cannot be claimed by creditors looking for repayment.
The vast majority of Chapter 7 cases are “no-asset” cases where no property is taken.
New Hampshire Bankruptcy Exemptions
New Hampshire bankruptcy law assigns specific property exemptions that enable debtors to keep some personal property and assets so bankruptcy proceedings do not leave them destitute. Bankruptcy in New Hampshire lets petitioners choose exemptions from either the federal list or the state list, but not both.
Due to changing exemption amounts, those planning to file bankruptcy may first wish to speak with a New Hampshire bankruptcy attorney to learn which exemptions are applicable to their current financial situation. New Hampshire bankruptcy exemptions include:
New Hampshire Homestead Exemption
- $100,000 total: Real property or manufactured housing (and the land it is on if you own it)
New Hampshire Personal Property Exemption
- Beds, bedding and cooking utensils
- $400 total: Food and fuel
- $3,500 total: Furniture
- $500 total: Jewelry
- $4,000 total: Motor vehicle
- $800 total: Bibles and books
- $300 total: Domestic fowl
- Cooking and heating stoves, refrigerator
- Sewing machine
- 1 cow, 6 sheep and their fleece, 4 tons of hay
- 1 hog or pig or its meat (if slaughtered)
- Deposits in any account designated a Payroll Account
- Proceeds for lost or destroyed exempt property
- Church pew and burial plot, lot
New Hampshire Tools of the Trade Exemption
- $5,000 total: Tools of your occupation
- Uniforms, arms and equipment of military member
- Yoke of oxen or horse needed for farming or teaming
New Hampshire Wage Garnishment Exemption
- 50 times the federal minimum hourly wage per week
- Earned but unpaid wages of spouse
New Hampshire Public Benefits Exemption
- Aid to blind, aged, disabled; public assistance
- Workers’ and Unemployment compensation
New Hampshire Insurance Exemption
- $5,000 total: Homeowners’ insurance proceeds
- Firefighters’ aid insurance
- Fraternal benefit society benefits
- Life insurance proceeds, but not cash value
New Hampshire Pensions and Retirement Savings Exemption
- Federally created pension (only benefits building up)
- Firefighters and Police Officers
New Hampshire Miscellaneous Exemption
- Wages of minor child
- Jury, witness fees
- Property of business partnership
New Hampshire Wild Card Exemption
- $1,000 total: Any property
- $7,000 total: Unused portion of bibles, books, food, fuel, furniture, jewelry, motor vehicle and tools of trade exemptions
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, New Hampshire
In 2010, 20% of petitioners filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Hampshire. Filing for protection under Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Hampshire involves gaining the assistance of a court-appointed Trustee to restructure the petitioner’s debts and implement a 3-5 year repayment plan, using the debtor’s future earnings to repay creditors. Chapter 13 petitioners in New Hampshire keep most – or all – of their property.
How to File Bankruptcy in New Hampshire
Qualifying for key property exemptions should be a chief deciding factor when bankruptcy protection is on the table as a solution for one’s financial problems. The most favorable outcome would be having major assets protected and major debts discharged. A New Hampshire bankruptcy attorney can explain bankruptcy exemption restrictions and provide guidance on the benefits and drawbacks of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Attorney: New Hampshire
The bankruptcy process can be upsetting and complex for many. A New Hampshire bankruptcy attorney can guide petitioners through bankruptcy exemption procedures and provide expert counsel on the suitable bankruptcy options for their financial situation.