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Stock qualified as ‘family heirloom’ exemption in bankruptcy case – $4,400 Verdict

This case involved a challenge to a debtor’s Virginia exemption of stock in a company that owned hunting real estate as a “family heirloom.” The issue was whether the stock ownership was a family heirloom and, further, if intangible personal property (in this case stock) could be a family heirloom at all. The court ruled that it qualified under Virginia law, and that in this case the stock had a “generational connection and sentimental value.” It had been handed down to debtor by his father and debtor planned to hand it down to his son. The case is one of only a handful that define “family heirloom” in Virginia.


Type of action: Claim made in Chapter 7 bankruptcy case
Name of case: Sempeles v. Shenandoah Hotel Property LLC
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Harrisonburg
Case no.: 12-50312
Tried before: Judge
Date: June 6, 2012
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $4,400 (value of stock)
Attorney for plaintiff: Marilyn A. Solomon, Winchester
Attorney for defendant: William E. Shmidheiser, Harrisonburg

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