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Vehicle Exemption for Handicap Equipped Vehicles

by Adam Mack

As discussed in a previous article, Kansas bankruptcy exemptions allow bankruptcy filers to exempt up to $20,000 of equity per vehicle.  On the outset, this may seem like a very generous exemption; however, for anyone who has a handicap or cared for someone who has a handicap which requires special modifications to an automobile to accommodate the handicap, $20,000 does not buy much of a vehicle.

To begin with, an unmodified vehicle large enough to install a wheelchair is generally going to be more expensive to purchase than a standard sedan.  Then comes the modification.  If you are looking at a rear entry wheelchair ramp, the cost will probably be between $10,000 to $14,000.  A side entry wheelchair lift will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $20,000.  If the person with a handicap is also the driver of the vehicle and exclusively uses a wheelchair, then additional modifications may be necessary to allow that person to drive.  These modifications often are roughly $5,000 to $7,000.

To further complicate things, the above are only the most common modifications.  The extent to which a vehicle must be altered to accommodate a person with a handicap will be totally dependent on the nature of that person’s condition.  As you can imagine, it is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately estimate how much equity must be allowed to be exempted in a bankruptcy to allow a debtor who needs a handicap modified vehicle to be able to properly protect that vehicle.

Fortunately, Kansas bankruptcy law takes the needs of handicap filers into account by allowing an unlimited exemption for vehicles that have been modified to be handicap accessible, so long as the vehicle and its modifications are actually necessary for the debtor.  If you’d like more information about this or other exemptions that might be available to you, please contact us.


These articles are for general informational use and do not constitute legal advice. Since laws change over time, it’s possible some articles are out of date and for that reason, we make no representation that the articles are fully accurate. For actual, up-to-date legal advice (including a free consultation), please contact us!