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In re Giacometto

Supreme Court of Montana

June 29, 2017

In Re: JOHN CHARLES GIACOMETTO, Debtor.

          Submitted on Briefs: May 10, 2017

         APPEAL FROM: Certified Question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana, Cause No. 16-60032-7 Honorable Ralph B. Kirscher, Bankruptcy Judge

          For Appellant: Joseph V. Womack, Waller & Womack, P.C., Billings, Montana

          For Appellee: James A. Patten, Patten, Peterman, Bekkedahl & Green, Billings, Montana

          OPINION

          Mike McGrath Chief Justice

         ¶1 This is an original proceeding on a certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court, the Honorable Ralph B. Kirscher, Bankruptcy Judge. The certified question is:

Whether, under Montana's liberal construction of exemptions, Debtor may claim an exemption in a health savings account (HSA) pursuant to § 25-13-608(1)(d) or (f), MCA.

         We answer that question "yes," the Debtor may claim an exemption for a health savings account under Montana law within the constraints imposed by the statute.

         ¶2 The undisputed facts of this matter, supplied by the Bankruptcy Court, are as follows:

1. The Debtor filed his Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on January 22, 2016.
2. The case was converted to a Chapter 7 on July 22, 2016, and Joseph V. Womack was appointed Trustee.
3. The Debtor filed an Amended Schedule A/B on August 23, 2016, detailing the property owned at the time that the Debtor filed his bankruptcy case.
4. The Debtor answered Question No. 17 on Form 106A/B by checking "Yes" indicating that he owned checking, savings, and other financial accounts. On Line 17.2 the Debtor listed "other financial account" "BANK OF AMERICA HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT." The Debtor stated that the balance of the account was $14,319.61.
5. The Debtor completed Form 106C and claimed the Bank of America Health Savings Account exempt in the amount of $14,319.61 pursuant to ...

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