What is the NC Motion to Claim Exempt Property and how do I fill it out?


As a NC attorney and Asheville bankruptcy lawyer I am often questioned about how best to complete the NC Motion to Claim Exempt Property form. Unfortunately the form is not as well drafted as it could (or should) be. It is a little bit confusing. The form is used when a creditor obtains a judgment against a debtor. Before the creditor can execute on the judgment (ie, before it can try to get stuff from the debtor to try and satisfy the debt), the creditor has to give the debtor 20 days to claim the items that the debtor owns which are legally exempt from execution.

The form asks for a lot of detailed information but doesn’t provide much room to write in the responses. I usually recommend that people make general lists of their assets, with the value that they would receive if the items were marketed quickly- yard sale, eBay, Craigslist, auction, etc. I don’t recommend stating something like “Household items: $5000”. That is probably too short of a description. However, a long and detailed itemization is not necessary, either. It is perfectly fine to attach additional pieces of paper to the NC Exemptions form.

Another problem with the NC exemptions for is that it does not state all of the exemptions to which a debtor may be entitled. For example, a judgment debtor in NC is entitled to claim as exempt any Social Security payments. For people who’s sole source of income is Social Security, then any proceeds on deposit with their bank are exempt pursuant to Federal law. The NC form does not provide the Federal Social Security exemption as an option. There is a separate but similar Federal law that protects VA benefits. There are others.

Protected (exempting) your assets is important. It’s worth it to retain a lawyer to review or even prepare your form with you to make sure that it’s done correctly and also to advise you of any other exemptions you may be entitled to claim. As an Asheville debt lawyer I have assisted people in preparing their exemptions form for almost 15 years.