joker“Exempt” property or an “exemption” refers to property you get to keep after filing for bankruptcy.  In Nevada, one of the exemptions is a “wildcard” exemption.  The wildcard exemption can be applied to any property that otherwise would not be exempt in bankruptcy.  In Nevada, as of 2017, the wildcard exemption is $10,000 if you are single filer or $20,000 if you are filing with your spouse.

Suppose you have a few shares of stock or a gold coin you would like to keep after you file for bankruptcy.  Ordinarily stock or precious metal is not an exempt asset and your would need to turn over that property to the trustee.  The trustee would then sell the stock or coin and use the proceeds to pay your creditors.

If you applied the wildcard exemption to the stock or coin — and the value of the stock or coin was worth less than then wildcard exemption — you would get to keep the otherwise non-exempt property after you filed for bankruptcy.

The wildcard exemption can also be used to increase an exemption amount for other exempt property.  For example, an individual filer in Nevada can exempt up to $5,000 worth of books, jewelry, musical instruments, and works of art.  If you had a piece of jewelry that was worth $6,000, you could combine the standard jewelry exemption with the wildcard exemption to exempt the entire piece of jewelry.