Until recently Oregon single bankruptcy filers with more than $800 worth of jewelry were at risk of losing anything in excess of $800 to the Chapter 7 Trustee. Though this amount was doubled for married filers, the exemptions did not provide much in the way of protection for families holding bracelets or necklaces handed down through generations, or the married couples who had made a real point of saving up to buy marriage rings decades before they had even gotten in debt.
About eight years ago, a Chapter 7 Trustee in Portland actually demanded a wedding ring from a woman at her Meeting of the Creditors; he literally took the ring from her finger.
I am pleased to report that with Oregon’s recent adoption of the federal bankruptcy exemptions, it is now unlikely that anyone will lose jewelry in an Oregon Chapter 7 bankruptcy ever again. The Jewelry exemption has been increased to $1450 for a single person and that amount is doubled for marrieds.
Even filers owning jewelry with a present value in excess of these amounts are still protected because they can use the Wildcard and home equity exemptions to protect another $11,000($22,000 for marrieds) or so in jewelry equity. In essence, unless you are holding the Hope diamond or have a few Faberge eggs, you ice is well protected. From now on, it’s just not an issue.