Wilson v. Rigby, No. 17-35716 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Wilson filed her voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in December 2013, electing to take the federal exemptions and listing the “wildcard” exemption. Wilson’s condominium was valued at $250,000 and was subject to a $246,440 mortgage. Wilson listed her exemption as $3,560, the equity in her home as of the petition date. The value of the property increased. In July 2016, Wilson amended her Schedule C, claiming “100% of fair market value, up to any applicable statutory limit,” stating the value of the property at $412,500, and listing Washington’s homestead exemption as the basis for the amended exemption. The bankruptcy court held that an amendment to update the value of an exemption in light of post-petition changes in value was not permitted. The district court and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Declining to decide whether the definition of the value of exemptions in 11 U.S.C. 522(a)(2) applies to state law exemptions as well as to federal ones, the court concluded that under section 541(a)(1) the debtor’s interests in property transfer to the bankruptcy estate as of the commencement of the bankruptcy action. Following this transfer, any appreciation enures to the bankruptcy estate. The debtor’s exemption was limited to her equity in the property as of the date of her bankruptcy petition.