North Dakota Law Review

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Schwab v. Reilly, 130 S. Ct. 2652 (2010)In Schwab v. Reilly, the United States Supreme Court partially frustrated the primary purpose of bankruptcy by making it more difficult for the debtor to exempt property itself, rather than a liquidated interest in that property. The Supreme Court held that when a debtor lists the value of the property the debtor wishes to exempt as equal to the fair market value of the property as listed on the debtor’s schedules, the debtor has not effectively exempted the property itself, but rather only an interest in the property up to the value the debtor has listed on his or her schedule. The debtor must list the value of the exemptible property as “100% of FMV” or use similar language in order to put the trustee on notice the debtor intends to keep the property. Because this method is not standard practice, there will be several rather large problems in the interim until this practice becomes more well-known.

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