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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Appraisal Procedure to Ascertain $1,000 Individual Exemption

Appraisal Procedure to Ascertain $1,000 Individual Exemption 
A judgment debtor who is a natural person (i.e., not a corporation or limited liability company) is entitled to an exemption from execution of all wearing apparel and $1,000 in cash or personal property. To determine the value of the personal property levied upon, for purposes of determining what will be exempt from sale, the Special Civil Part Officer appoints three “discreet and judicious persons” from the county who have no interest in the case, to appraise the property. The appointment must be in writing, contain an oath in which the appraisers swear or affirm to “faithfully, honestly and impartially” appraise the “true and intrinsic value” without regard to the fact that the sale will be made pursuant to court order, and it must be signed by each of the appraisers. On five days’ notice to the judgment creditor or the judgment creditor’s attorney, the appraisers set a time and place for the appraisal to take place. The appraisal must be in writing, include a list of the items appraised and their values, and be signed by the appraisers. The judgment debtor then selects items, up to $1,000 in value, that are exempt from the sale. 23 

If the judgment debtor is not present, the selection can be made by the spouse or family, and if they are not present, the selection is made by the Officer or appraisers. Each appraiser is paid $1.00 for their services, which is added to the costs in the case. (See N.J.S.A. 2A:17-19 through 25.) 

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