Pennsylvania State Bankruptcy Laws

What Are The Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Exemptions?

PennsylvaniaPennsylvania law protects all or a portion of your property from being seized by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are generally allowed to keep all of your assets and property. Certain exceptions may apply, so it’s wise to consult with a Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney to find which of your assets will be protected in a bankruptcy filed in Pennsylvania. In general, the major Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions include:

Real Estate (the Homestead Exemption)
There is no specific homestead exemption in Pennsylvania. (See Federal exemptions) There is a $300 exemption in property of any kind.
There is no specific automobile exemption in Pennsylvania.
Other Property
100 percent of clothing, books, bibles, sewing machines, and veteran’s benefits. In Pennsylvania, you have the choice of electing the federal exemption statutes rather than the Pennsylvania state exemptions. Consult with a Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney for more details.
View the complete list of Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions

Please remember that this page provides general information only, and is not intended to provide legal advice. The information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified bankruptcy attorney. If you need legal assistance, consult an attorney.

Which state’s exemption laws apply in your bankruptcy?

PennsylvaniaGenerally, the laws of the state in which you lived for the 730 days (2 years) prior to filing a bankruptcy petition will apply in your bankruptcy.

If you have not lived in the same state for the 2 years immediately prior to filing your bankruptcy petition, the laws of the state in which you lived for the majority of the 180-day period preceding the 2-year period will likely apply.

If application of the preceding general rules renders you ineligible for exemptions under any state’s laws, you may be allowed to choose the federal exemptions applicable in your bankruptcy.

Is Pennsylvania a Community Property State?

No, Pennsylvania is not a community property state. Because it is not a community property state, you will be responsible for your spouse’s debts only if you voluntarily assumed those debts by, for example, co-signing on a loan given to your spouse. In a non-community property state, one spouse can file for bankruptcy and be eligible to eliminate all of their unsecured debts without the involvement of the other spouse.

How did your senator vote on the new bankruptcy laws?

Following years of intense lobbying by creditors, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). How did your Senators vote on these largely pro-creditor provisions?

Santorum (R-PA) – YEA
Specter (R-PA) – YEA

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Court Locations:

Robert N.C. Nix, Sr. Federal Courthouse
900 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone: 215-408-2800

The Madison Building
400 Washington Street
Reading, PA 19601
Telephone: 610-320-5255

Ronald Reagan Federal Building
228 Walnut Street Rm 320
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 901-2800

274 Max Rosenn U.S. Courthouse
197 South Main Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
(570) 826-6450

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
5414 U.S. Steel Tower

600 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
U.S. Courthouse

Room B160
17 South Park Row
Erie, PA 16501

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Penn Traffic Building

Johnstown, PA 15901

Note: You may not have to actually go to one of the above bankruptcy courts. Trustees often conduct your meeting at a local venue.

Although bankruptcy is federal law, the bankruptcy courts in each jurisdiction have local rules that must be followed. A local bankruptcy attorney will be familiar with the specific rules in your area.

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Attorney Locations:

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Natalie Conatser

Author: Natalie Conatser

Natalie is a finance professor who writes all about finance as a blog contributor. She is a board certified accountant and also knows a thing or two about debt and avoiding bankruptcy. Natalie plans on touring the US to speak about personal finance.

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