Only in this gambling haven of a state would you expect to find something known as the Nevada Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy. As a bankruptcy attorney in Las Vegas, I can tell you what this is and how it can be used to your benefit.
First, let's take a look at the concept of exemptions in bankruptcy proceedings. An exemption is the cash or personal property that won't be taken from you to satisfy what you owe your creditors. Things like your house, car, personal possessions, and work tools or equipment can be protected up to a certain dollar value. But anything over that amount can be forfeited to your bankruptcy trustee.
The wildcard exemption is the monetary amount that can be applied toward protecting any of your assets not otherwise protected through other exemptions.
The wildcard exemption amount in Nevada used to be $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for couples. Here's how you might use that amount: while one motor vehicle is already exempt from seizure if you had a second car you could lose it. However, if it's worth $2,000 and you file for bankruptcy as a married couple, you could apply the wildcard full amount to the vehicle to keep it.
Or if you had $7,000 worth of personal possessions you could use your general exemption of $5,000 for personal property, plus your wildcard amount of $2,000, and protect all of your property. You can also split the total wildcard exemption amount to cover multiple properties.
One problem with the old wildcard was that the amount was so low that it could easily trip you up. For instance, if you filed for bankruptcy before filing your taxes, you might afterward receive a refund that was more than your wildcard exemption could protect, and have the money seized by your bankruptcy trustee. So your lawyer would have to do everything possible to try to file for bankruptcy after you'd received your refund and you spent it.
Another problem was firearms. You could only save one under your standard exemptions and you'd have to use your wildcard exemption to protect a second gun. But, as collectors know, it's easy to accumulate arms worth well north of $1,000.
The good news is that in November 2017 the Nevada Wildcard Exemption went up to $10,000 and $20,000 for couples. This more generous exemption will allow us to help you protect more of your possessions and assets during bankruptcy.
It will go farther toward protecting tax refunds, gun collections, second motor vehicles or other personal assets that might have been at risk during bankruptcy proceedings.
As a bankruptcy attorney Las Vegas, I can help you get the most out of the wildcard exemption. Call me as soon as you even consider the possibility of filing so that I can go to work on your behalf.