New York City Debt Collection Defense Attorney

In New York, What Personal Property is Exempt from Creditors?

In New York, the law that governs property exempt from the satisfaction of money judgments is CPLR § 5205.

Below is a general list of what personal property is exempt from the reach of your creditors. These exemptions reflect public policy to provide for your reasonable living requirements regardless of the size or number of money judgment(s) entered against you. The law balances the interests of creditors seeking to collect on debts and the need to protect the basic needs and rights of judgment debtors.

This post is more concerned with exemptions outside of a bankruptcy context. While The Langel Firm tries to keep you out of bankruptcy, sometimes your debt is so crushing that you'll need a fresh start that bankruptcy could provide. The below is not entirely exhaustive; other statutes may provide additional exemptions. You should consult an attorney if you have a question about exempt property.

Knowledge of these exemptions is immediately useable in the context of bank restraints. If you need help, complete this intake form.

Recent Improvements to New York Exemption Laws

  • 90% of your income for personal services within the last 60 days is exempt;
  • $3,000.00 protected if any direct deposits from identifiable exempt sources (i.e., social security, unemployment, pension; see below) were made within the last 45 days;
  • Increased protections to child support, spousal support, alimony, or maintenance; and
  • Increases in exemption amounts every three years to account for inflation and
  • An increasing portion of the equity in your home is exempt.

See the below chart: Source: Current Dollar Amount of Payments Statutorily Exempt from Enforcement of Judgments

Source: Current Dollar Amount of Payments Statutorily Exempt from Enforcement of Judgments 

Compared to other states' exemption laws, New York is pretty generous in protecting judgment debtor's assets. See our prior blog (New York Gets a "B" Grade from NCLC in its New Report on State Exemption Laws).

A general list of exemptions:

  • Income (unless the court deems it unnecessary for reasonable living requirements);
  • 90% of wages within the last 60 days;
  • 90% of trust income, including annuities, custodial accounts, IRAs, and insurance contracts;
  • 100% of Maintenance and child support payments awarded by the court;
  • Pay and bounty for members of armed forces; and
  • Security deposits for rent and utilities.

Statutory list of exemptions:

  • social security, including retirement, survivors' and disability benefits;
  • supplemental security income or child support payments;
  • veterans administration benefits;
  • public assistance;
  • workers' compensation;
  • unemployment insurance;
  • public or private pensions;
  • Covid-19 Stimulus Relief;
  • railroad retirement, and
  • black lung benefits.

Personal property exemptions:

  • Stoves;
  • religious texts;
  • family books;
  • domestic animals;
  • most household goods;
  • jewelry (up to $1,000);
  • tools (up to $3,000);
  • one vehicle (up to $4,000 in value; if disabled, up to $10,000) unless the debt is for a family obligation
  • $1,000 cash if no homestead exemption claimed; trust property of which you are beneficiary (if created by someone else);
  • Medical and dental accessions;
  • Animals that assist with personal disability;
  • Right to accelerate life insurance policy; and
  • Certain college tuition savings trust fund monies.

If you're suffering a bank restraint, call us to ascertain your rights. Here's some information about how to combat it.

Bank exemptions-The Langel Firm-Intake Form