In different card games, the rules might specify that certain cards are “wild,” meaning they can be used in various ways, not just in the way the face of the card normally dictates. For example, if “one-eyed jacks” are wild, that means the two jacks in each deck that only have one eye visible are wild and can be used as any card. They could be used as another ace, for example.
In bankruptcy, some states as well as the federal bankruptcy code, have provisions for wild card exemptions. These are exemptions that can be used on any asset, regardless of whether other exemptions apply. If a state has a wild card exemption of $5,000, for example, the debtor can apply all or part of the $5,000 to any of his assets. Suppose the debtor has a car worth $15,000 but the state exemption for vehicles is only $10,000. The debtor can claim the vehicle exemption and then apply the wild card exemption to protect the entire value of the car. Or the debtor could apply the wild card exemption to an asset that doesn’t have an exemption specific to it.
Utah, unfortunately, doesn’t have a wild card exemption. In Utah debtors are limited to those specific exemptions on designated types of property allowed by the Utah Exemptions Act and certain other laws. When filing bankruptcy, the exemptions that are available to you are all that stand between you and the trustee taking all your property. If you have questions about exemptions or any other aspect of bankruptcy law, contact us by clicking here or calling (801) 413-3708.