Montana State Bankruptcy Exemptions


70-32-104 Limitation on value

(1) A homestead may not exceed $ 100,000 in value. In a proceeding instituted to determine the value of the homestead, the assessed value of the land with included appurtenances, if any, and of the dwelling house as it appears on the last-completed assessment roll preceding the institution of the proceeding is prima facie evidence of the value of the property claimed as a homestead.

(2) If a claimant who is an owner of an undivided interest in real property claims a homestead exemption, the claimant is limited to an exemption amount proportional to the claimant's undivided interest.

25-13-608 Property exempt without limitation -- exceptions.

(1) A judgment debtor is entitled to exemption from execution of the following:

(a) professionally prescribed health aids for the judgment debtor or a dependent of the judgment debtor;

(b) benefits the judgment debtor has received or is entitled to receive under federal social security or local public assistance legislation, except as provided in subsection (2);

(c) veterans' benefits, except as provided in subsection (2);

(d) disability or illness benefits, except as provided in subsection (2);

(e) except as provided in subsection (2), individual retirement accounts, as defined in 26 U.S.C. 408(a), to the extent of deductible contributions made before the suit resulting in judgment was filed and the earnings on those contributions, and Roth individual retirement accounts, as defined in 26 U.S.C. 408A, to the extent of qualified contributions made before the suit resulting in judgment was filed and the earnings on those contributions;

(f) benefits paid or payable for medical, surgical, or hospital care to the extent they are used or will be used to pay for the care;

(g) maintenance and child support;

(h) a burial plot for the judgment debtor and the debtor's family;

(i) benefits or payments paid or payable from a retirement system or plan within Title 19, chapters 3, 5 through 9, and 13, as provided by 19-2-1004; and

(j) benefits or payments paid or payable from a retirement system or plan within Title 19, chapter 20, as provided by 19-20-706.

(2) Veterans' and social security legislation benefits based upon remuneration for employment, disability benefits, and assets of individual retirement accounts are not exempt from execution if the debt for which execution is levied is for:

(a) child support; or

(b) maintenance to be paid to a spouse or former spouse.

25-13-609 Personal property exempt subject to value limitations.

A judgment debtor is entitled to exemption from execution of the following:

(1) the judgment debtor's interest, not to exceed $ 4,500 in aggregate value, to the extent of a value not exceeding $ 600 in any item of property, in household furnishings and goods, appliances, jewelry, wearing apparel, books, firearms and other sporting goods, animals, feed, crops, and musical instruments;

(2) the judgment debtor's interest, not to exceed $ 2,500 in value, in one motor vehicle;

(3) the judgment debtor's interest, not to exceed $ 3,000 in aggregate value, in any implements, professional books, and tools, of the trade of the judgment debtor or a dependent of the judgment debtor; and

(4) the judgment debtor's interest, not to exceed $ 4,000 in value, in any unmatured life insurance contracts owned by the judgment debtor.

25-13-610 Tracing exempt personal property.

(1) If money or other property exempt under 25-13-608 and 25-13-609 has been sold or has been lost, damaged, or destroyed and the judgment debtor has been indemnified for it, he is entitled for 6 months to an exemption of proceeds that are traceable (for example, in a bank or savings account).

(2) Earnings exempt under 25-13-614 remain exempt for 45 days after receipt by and while in the possession of the judgment debtor in a form into which the exempt earnings are traceable (for example, in a bank or savings account).

(3) Proceeds are traceable under this section by application of the principles of first-in first-out, last-in first-out, or any other reasonable basis for tracing selected by the judgment debtor.

25-13-613 Property necessary to carry out governmental functions.

(1) In addition to the property mentioned in 25-13-609(1), there shall be exempt to all judgment debtors the following property:

(a) all fire engines, hooks, and ladders, with the cart, trucks, and carriages, hose, buckets, implements, and apparatus thereto appertaining, and all furniture and uniforms of any fire company or department organized under any laws of this state;

(b) all arms, uniforms, and accouterments required by law to be kept by any person and one gun to be selected by the debtor;

(c) all courthouses, jails, public offices, and buildings, lots, grounds, and personal property, the fixtures, furniture, books, papers, and appurtenances belonging and pertaining to the courthouse, jail, and public offices belonging to any county of this state; and

(d) all cemeteries, public squares, parks, and places, public buildings, town halls, public markets, buildings for the use of fire departments and military organizations, and the lots and grounds thereto belonging and appertaining owned or held by any town or incorporated city or dedicated by such city or town to health, ornament, or public use or for the use of any fire or military company organized under the laws of the state.

(2) No article, however, or species of property mentioned in this section is exempt from execution issued upon a judgment recovered for its price or upon a judgment of foreclosure of a mortgage lien thereon, and no person not a bona fide resident of this state shall have the benefit of these exemptions.

25-13-614 Earnings of judgment debtor.

(1) Earnings of a judgment debtor that are not subject to garnishment as provided in this section are exempt.

(2) Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4), the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of a judgment debtor for any workweek that is subjected to garnishment may not exceed the lesser of:

(a) the amount by which his disposable earnings for the week exceed 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage in effect at the time the earnings are payable; or

(b) 25% of his disposable earnings for that week.

(3) The restrictions of subsection (2) do not apply in the case of an order or judgment for the maintenance or support of any person, issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or pursuant to an administrative procedure that is established by state law, affords substantial due process, and is subject to judicial review.

(4) (a) The maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of a judgment debtor for any workweek that is subject to garnishment to enforce an order described in subsection (3) may not exceed:

(i) 50% of the judgment debtor's disposable earnings for that week if he is supporting his spouse or dependent child (other than a spouse or child for whom the order is issued); or

(ii) 60% of the judgment debtor's disposable earnings for that week if he is not supporting a spouse or dependent child described in subsection (4)(a)(i).

(b) However, the amount stated in subsection (4)(a)(i) may be 55% and the amount stated in subsection (4)(a)(ii) may be 65% if such earnings are being garnished to enforce an order for maintenance or support for a period prior to the 12-week period that ends with the beginning of such workweek.

(5) For the purposes of this section, the definitions of earnings, disposable earnings, and garnishment are as set forth in 15 U.S.C. 1672.

31-2-106 Exempt property -- bankruptcy proceeding.

An individual may not exempt from the property of the estate in any bankruptcy proceeding the property specified in 11 U.S.C. 522(d). An individual may exempt from the property of the estate in any bankruptcy proceeding:

(1) that property exempt from execution of judgment as provided in 19-2-1004, 19-18-612, 19-19-504, 19-20-706, 19-21-212, Title 25, chapter 13, part 6, 33-7-522, 33-15-512 through 33-15-514, 39-51-3105, 39-71-743, 39-73-110, 53-2-607, 53-9-129, Title 70, chapter 32, and 80-2-245;

(2) the individual's right to receive unemployment compensation and unemployment benefits; and

(3) the individual's right to receive benefits from or interest in a private or governmental retirement, pension, stock bonus, profit-sharing, annuity, or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service, excluding that portion of contributions made by the individual within 1 year before the filing of the petition in bankruptcy that exceeds 15% of the individual's gross income for that 1-year period, unless:

(a) the plan or contract was established by or under the auspices of an insider that employed the individual at the time the individual's rights under the plan or contract arose;

(b) the benefit is paid on account of age or length of service; and

(c) the plan or contract does not qualify under section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, or 409 of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 401(a), 403(b), 408, or 409.

33-15-511 Exemption from execution of life insurance proceeds.

(1) If a policy of insurance, whether heretofore or hereafter issued, is effected by any person on his own life or on another life in favor of a person other than himself or, except in cases of transfer with intent to defraud creditors, if a policy of life insurance is assigned or in any way made payable to any such person, the lawful beneficiary or assignee thereof, other than the insured or the person so effecting such insurance or executors or administrators of such insured or the person so effecting such insurance, shall be entitled to its proceeds and avails against the creditors and representatives of the insured and of the person effecting the same, whether or not the right to change the beneficiary is reserved or permitted and whether or not the policy is made payable to the person whose life is insured if the beneficiary or assignee shall predecease such person; except that, subject to the statute of limitations, the amount of any premiums for such insurance paid with intent to defraud creditors with interest thereon shall enure to their benefit from the proceeds of the policy, but the insurer issuing the policy shall be discharged of all liability thereof by payment of its proceeds in accordance with its terms, unless before such payment the insurer shall have received written notice at its home office, by or in behalf of a creditor, of a claim to recover for transfer made or premiums paid with intent to defraud creditors, with specifications of the amount so claimed.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, a policy shall also be deemed to be payable to a person other than the insured if and to the extent that a facility-of-payment clause or similar clause in the policy permits the insurer to discharge its obligation after the death of the individual insured by paying the death benefits to a person as permitted by such clause.

33-15-512 Exemption from execution of proceeds of group life -- exception.

(1) A policy of group life insurance or the proceeds thereof payable to the individual insured or to the beneficiary thereunder shall not be liable, either before or after payment, to be applied by any legal or equitable process to pay any debt or liability of such insured individual or his beneficiary or of any other person having a right under the policy. The proceeds thereof, when not made payable to a named beneficiary or to a third person pursuant to a facility-of-payment clause, shall not constitute a part of the estate of the individual insured for the payment of his debts.

(2) This section shall not apply to group life insurance issued pursuant to parts 10, 11, and 12 of chapter 20 to a creditor covering his debtors, to the extent that such proceeds are applied to payment of the obligation for the purpose of which the insurance was so issued.

33-15-513 Exemption from execution of proceeds of disability insurance.

The proceeds or avails of all contracts of disability insurance and of provisions providing benefits on account of the insured's disability which are supplemental to life insurance or annuity contracts heretofore or hereafter effected shall be exempt from all liability for any debt of the insured and from any debt of the beneficiary existing at the time the proceeds are made available for his use.

33-15-514 Exemption from execution of proceeds of annuity contracts -- assignability of rights.

(1) The benefits, rights, privileges, and options which under any annuity contract heretofore or hereafter issued are due or prospectively due the annuitant shall not be subject to execution, nor shall the annuitant be compelled to exercise any such rights, powers, or options, nor shall creditors be allowed to interfere with or terminate the contract, except:

(a) as to amounts paid for or as premium on any such annuity with intent to defraud creditors, with interest thereon, and of which the creditor has given the insurer written notice at its home office prior to the making of the payments to the annuitant out of which the creditor seeks to recover. Any such notice shall specify the amount claimed or such facts as will enable the insurer to ascertain such amount and shall set forth such facts as will enable the insurer to ascertain the annuity contract, the annuitant, and the payments sought to be avoided on the ground of fraud.

(b) the total exemption of benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant periodically or at stated times under all annuity contracts under which he is an annuitant shall not at any time exceed $ 250 per month for the length of time represented by such installments and that such periodic payments in excess of $ 350 per month shall be subject to garnishee execution;

(c) if the total benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant under all annuity contracts under which he is an annuitant shall at any time exceed payment at the rate of $ 350 per month, then the court may order such annuitant to pay to a judgment creditor or apply on the judgment, in installments, such portion of such excess benefits as to the court may appear just and proper, after due regard for the reasonable requirements of the judgment debtor and his family, if dependent upon him, as well as any payments required to be made by the annuitant to other creditors under prior court orders.

(2) If the contract so provides, the benefits, rights, privileges, or options accruing under such contract to a beneficiary or assignee shall not be transferable or subject to commutation, and if the benefits are payable periodically or at stated times, the same exemptions contained herein for the annuitant shall apply with respect to such beneficiary or assignee.

(3) An annuity contract within the meaning of this section shall be any obligation to pay certain sums at stated times during life or lives or for a specified term or terms, issued for a valuable consideration, regardless of whether or not such sums are payable to one or more persons, jointly or otherwise, but does not include payments under life insurance contracts at stated times during life or lives or for a specified term or terms.

33-7-522 Benefits not attachable.

Money or other benefits, charity, relief, or aid to be paid, provided, or rendered by a society is not liable to attachment, garnishment, or other process and may not be seized, taken, appropriated, or applied by any legal or equitable process or operation of law to pay any debt or liability of a member, a beneficiary, or any other person who may have a right to the benefit, either before or after payment by the society.

53-2-607 Assistance not assignable or subject to legal process -- exceptions.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this title, assistance granted to a needy person under this title is not transferable or assignable at law or in equity and none of the money paid or payable under this title is subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.

(2) Money paid or payable under this title to a person or entity who is not a needy person but who receives the money for providing goods or services to a needy person is subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process.

39-71-743 Assignment or attachment of payments.

(1) Payments under this chapter may not be assignable, subject to attachment or garnishment, or held liable in any way for debts, except:

(a) as provided in 71-3-1118;

(b) a portion of any lump-sum award or periodic payment to pay a monetary obligation for current or past-due child support, subject to the limitations in subsection (2), whenever the support obligation is established by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by order rendered in an administrative process authorized by state law; or

(c) as provided in 53-2-612 or 53-2-613 for medical benefits paid pursuant to chapter 71 or 72 of this title.

(2) Payments under this chapter are subject to assignment, attachment, or garnishment for child support as follows:

(a) for any periodic payment, an amount up to the percentage amount established in the guidelines promulgated by the department of public health and human services pursuant to 40-5-209; or

(b) for any lump-sum award, an amount up to that portion of the award that is approved for payment on the basis of a past-due child support obligation.

(3) After determination that the claim is covered under the Workers' Compensation Act or Occupational Disease Act of Montana, the liability for payment of the claim is the responsibility of the appropriate workers' compensation insurer. Except as provided in 39-71-704(7), a fee or charge is not payable by the injured worker for treatment of injuries sustained if liability is accepted by the insurer.

39-51-3105 Assignment, pledge, or encumbrance of right to benefits void -- benefits exempt from levy, execution, attachment, or other remedy for collection of debt -- exception.

Any assignment, pledge, or encumbrance of any right to benefits that are or may become due or payable under this chapter is void, and the rights to benefits are exempt from levy, execution, attachment, or any other remedy provided for the collection of debt. Benefits received by an individual, as long as they are not mingled with other funds of the recipient, are exempt from any remedy for the collection of all debts except as provided in 39-51-2207, 39-51-2208, 39-51-3106, 39-51-3107, and 39-51-3206. Any waiver of an exemption provided for in this section is void.

39-73-110 Assistance not assignable or subject to legal process.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, assistance granted under this chapter is not transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the money paid or payable under this chapter is subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.

35-15-404 Share exempt from attachment and execution -- sale upon death of member.

(1) The share, not exceeding the par value of $ 500, of each member shall be exempt from seizure on attachment or sale under execution.

(2) Upon his death the share shall be sold by the association and the proceeds after deducting all liabilities to the association shall be delivered to his heirs.

35-20-217 Exemption from taxation and execution -- no road construction through cemetery.

The cemetery lands and property of any association formed pursuant to this chapter are exempt from all public taxes and assessments and not liable to be sold on execution or applied in payment of debts of any individual proprietors; but the proprietors of lots in such cemetery, their heirs or legal representatives may hold the same exempt therefrom so long as the same remain appropriated to the use of a cemetery, and during that time no street or road shall be laid through such cemetery or any part of the lands held by such association for the purpose aforesaid without the consent of the trustees of such association.

19-2-1004 Exemption from taxes and legal process.

Except as provided in 19-2-907 and 19-2-909, the right of a person to any benefit or payment from a retirement system or plan and the money in the system or plan's pension trust fund is not:

(1) subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, or any other process;

(2) subject to state, county, or municipal taxes except for:

(a) a benefit or annuity received in excess of $ 3,600 or adjusted by an amount determined pursuant to 15-30-111(2)(c)(ii); or

(b) a refund of a member's regular contributions picked up by an employer after June 30, 1985, as provided in 19-3-315, 19-5-402, 19-6-402, 19-7-403, 19-8-502, 19-9-710, or 19-13-601; or

(3) assignable except as specifically provided in this chapter.

19-20-706 Exemption from taxation and legal process.

Except as provided in 19-20-305 and 19-20-306, the retirement allowances or any other benefits accrued or accruing to any person under the provisions of the retirement system and the accumulated contributions and cash and securities in the various funds of the retirement system are:

(1) exempted from any state, county, or municipal tax of the state of Montana except for:

(a) a retirement allowance received in excess of $ 3,600 or adjusted by an amount determined pursuant to 15-30-111(2)(c)(ii); or

(b) a withdrawal paid under 19-20-603 of a member's contributions picked up by an employer after June 30, 1985, as provided in 19-20-602;

(2) not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment by trustee process or otherwise, in law or equity, or any other process; and

(3) unassignable except as specifically provided in this chapter.

35-10-505 Partner's transferable interest subject to charging order.

(1) On application by a judgment creditor of a partner or partner's transferee, a court having jurisdiction may charge the transferable interest of the debtor partner or transferee to satisfy the judgment. The court may appoint a receiver of the debtor's share of the distributions due or to become due to the debtor in respect of the partnership and make all other orders, directions, accounts, and inquiries the debtor might have made or which the circumstances of the case may require.

(2) A charging order constitutes a lien on the judgment debtor's transferable interest in the partnership. The court may order a foreclosure of the interest subject to the charging order at any time and upon conditions it considers appropriate. The purchaser at the foreclosure sale has the rights of a transferee.

(3) At any time before foreclosure, an interest charged may be redeemed:

(a) by the judgment debtor;

(b) with property other than partnership property, by one or more of the other partners; or

(c) with partnership property, by one or more of the other partners with the consent of all the partners whose interests are not so charged.

(4) This chapter does not deprive a partner of a right under the exemption laws with respect to the partner's interest in the partnership.

(5) This section provides the exclusive remedy by which a judgment creditor of a partner or partner's transferee may satisfy a judgment out of the judgment debtor's transferable interest in the partnership.

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