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STATE BANKRUPTCY EXEMPTIONS
 
 

Provided that a bankruptcy petitioner is able to meet certain qualifying tests in order to file for bankruptcy protection under certain chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, a bankruptcy petitioner may take advantage of certain exemptions provided by each particular state in order to protect and keep certain assets when he/she files for bankruptcy. These certain assets are typically referenced as “exempt assets” and are afforded protection under certain exemption categories in accordance with the particular state statute.

Subject to our disclaimer that the exemption amounts (as listed below) may be updated from time to time and therefore should be confirmed for accuracy, we set forth below the various state exemptions for the States of California, Florida and Nevada that may be of use during a bankruptcy filing in those particular states.

 
     
  STATE OF CALIFORNIA  
 

For the State of California, federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available. California has two systems, the petition has to select one or the other and cannot mix the use of the exemptions. All law references are to California Code of Civil Procedure unless otherwise noted.  Note that many exemptions do not apply to claims for child support.

Note: California’s exemption amounts are no longer updated in the statutes themselves. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 740.150 deputized the California Judicial Council to update the exemption amounts every three years.   As a result, the amounts listed in this chart may not match the amounts that appear in the cited statutes, and all amounts should be confirmed.

California—SYSTEM 1 (the 704 exemptions):

ASSET

EXEMPTION LAW
Homestead Real or personal property you occupy including mobile home, boat, stock cooperative, community apartment, planned development, or condo to $50,000 if single & not disable; $75,000 for families if no other member has a homestead (if only one    spouse files, may exempt one-half of amount if home held as tenants in common); $150,000 if 65 or older, or physically or mentally disabled; $150,000 if 55 or older, single, & earn under $15,000 or married & earn under $20,000 & creditors seek to force the sale of your home; forced sale proceeds received exempt for  6 months after (husband & wife may not double); separated married debtor may claim homestead in community property homestead occupied by other spouse.
704.710; 704.720;
704.730;
in re McFall, 112
B.R. 336 (9th Cir.
B.A.P 1990)    
  May file homestead declaration to protect exemption amount from attachment of judicial liens and to protect proceeds of voluntary sale for 6 months.
704.920
Insurance  Disability or health benefits 704.130
  Fidelity bonds Labor 404
  Fraternal benefit society benefits  704.170
  Fraternal unemployment benefits 704.120
  Homeowners’ insurance proceeds for 6 months after receipt, to homestead exemption amount 704.720(b)
  Life insurance proceeds if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary’s  creditors Ins.10132;
Ins. 10170;
Ins. 10171
  Matured life insurance benefits needed for support 704.100(c)
  Unmatured life insurance policy cash surrender value completely exempt; loan value exempt to $10,775 704.100(b)
Miscellaneous Business or professional licenses 695.060
  Inmates’ trust funds to $1,350 (husband & wife may not double) 704.090
  Property of business partnership Corp. 16501-04
Pensions Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s,  403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined-benefit plans 11 U.S.C § 522(b) (3)(C)
  Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person 11 U.S.C § 522(b) (3)(C); (n)
  County employees Gov’t 31452
  County firefighters   Gov’t 32210
  County peace officers  Gov’t 31913
  Private retirement benefits, including IRAs & Keoghs    704.115
  Public employees Gov’t 21255
  Public retirement benefits       704.110
Personal        
Property   
Appliances, furnishings, clothing, & food    704.020
  Bank deposits from Social Security Administration to $2,700 ($4,050 for husband & wife); unlimited if SS funds are not commingled with other funds   Bank deposits of other public benefits to $1,350 ($2,025 for husband & wife) 704.080
  Building materials to repair or improve home to $2,700 (husband & wife may not double) 704.030
  Burial plot    704.200
  Funds held in escrow  Fin. 17410
  Health aids 704.050
  Jewelry, heirlooms, & art to $6,750 total (husband & wife may not double) 704.040
  Motor vehicles to $2,550, or $2,550 in auto insurance for loss or damages (husband and wife may not double) 704.010
  Personal injury & wrongful death causes of  action 704.140(a); 704.150(a)
  Personal injury & wrongful death recoveries needed for support; if receiving installments, at least 75% 704.140(b),(c),(d);
704.150(b),(c)
Public   
Benefits
Aid to blind, aged, disabled; public assistance      704.170
  Financial aid to students    704.190
  Relocation benefits   704.180
  Unemployment benefits      704.120
  Union benefits due to labor dispute   704.160(b)(5)
  Workers’ compensation 704.160
Tools of trade Tools, implements, materials, instruments, uniforms, books, furnishings, & equipment to $6,750 total  ($13,475 total if used by both spouses in same occupation) 704.060
  Commercial vehicle (Vehicle Code § 260) to $4,850 $9,700 total if used by both spouses in same occupation) 704.060
Wages Minimum 75% of wages paid within 30 days prior to filing  704.070
  Public employees’ vacation credits; if receiving installments, at least 75% 704.113
Wildcard None  

California—System 2 (the 703 exemptions):

Note: Married couples may not double any exemptions. (In re Talmadge, 832 F.2d 1120 (9th Cir. 1987); In re Baldwin, 70 B.R. 612 (9th Cir. B.A.P. 1987).)

ASSET  

EXEMPTION LAW
Homestead Real or personal property, including co-op, used as residence to $20,725; unused portion of homestead may be applied to any property   703.140(b)(1)
Insurance  Disability benefits        703.140(b)(10)(c)  
  Life insurance proceeds needed for support of family   703.140(b)(11)(C)  
  Unmatured life insurance contract accrued avails to $11,075 703.140(b)(8)
  Unmatured life insurance policy other than credit   703.140(b)(7)
Miscellaneous Alimony, child support needed for support    703.140(b)(10)(D)
Pensions Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans,  SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined-benefit plans 11 U.S.C § 552(b)
(3)(C)
  Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person      11U.S.C. § 522 (b)(3)
(C); (n)
  ERISA-qualified benefits needed for support     703.140(b)(10)(E)
Personal  
Property   
Animals, crops, appliances, furnishings, household goods, books, musical instruments, & clothing to $525 per item 703.140(b)(3)
  Burial plot to $20,725, in lieu of homestead  703.140(b)(1)  
  Health aids  703.140(b)(9)  
  Jewelry to $1,350   703.140(b)(4)  
  Motor vehicle to $3,300 703.140(b)(2)  
  Personal injury recoveries to $20,725 (not to include pain & suffering; pecuniary loss) 703.140(b)(11)(D),(E)
  Wrongful death recoveries needed for support      703.140(b)(11)(B)
Public      
Benifits  
Crime victims’ compensation    703.140(b)(11)(A)
  Public assistance     703.140(b)(10)(A)
  Social Security   703.140(b)(10)(A)  
  Unemployment compensation    703.140(b)(10)(A)
  Veterans’ benefits       703.140(b)(10)(B)
Tools of trade  Implements, books, & tools of trade to $2,075    703.140(b)(6)  
Wages None (use federal nonbankruptcy wage exemption)    
Wildcard       $1,100 of any property    703.140(b)(5)
  Unused portion of homestead or burial exemption of any property   703.140(b)(5);
703.14(b)(1)
 
     
  STATE OF FLORIDA  
 

For the State of Florida, federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available.  All law references are to Florida Statutes Annotated unless otherwise noted.

ASSET   EXEMPTION LAW
Homestead Real or personal property including mobile or modular home to unlimited value; cannot exceed half acre in municipality or 160 acres elsewhere;  spouse or child of deceased owner may claim homestead exemption 222.01; 222.02; 222.03;
222.05; Constitution 10-4.
In re Colwell,
196 F. 3d
1225 (11trh Cir. 1999)
  May file homestead declaration 222.01
  Property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse   Havoco of America,
Ltd. v. Hill, 197 F.3d
1135 (11th Cir. 1999)
Insurance  Annuity contract proceeds; does not include lottery winnings 222.14; In re Pizzi, 153
B.R.357(S.D. Fla 1993)
  Death benefits payable to a specific beneficiary,  not the deceased’s estate  222.13
  Disability or illness benefits  222.18
  Fraternal benefit society benefits 632.619
  Life insurance cash surrender value   222.14
Miscellaneous Alimony, child support needed for support 222.201
  Damages to employees for injuries in hazardous occupations   769.05
Pensions
see also wages 
Tax-exempt retirement accounts including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit sharing and money purchase plans,  SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans   11 U.S.C §522(b)(3)(C)
  Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person  11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)  (C);
(n)  
  County officers, employees  122.15
  ERISA-qualified benefits, including IRAs & Roth IRAs 222.21(2)  
  Firefighters 175.241
  Police officers  185.25  
  State officers, employees 121.131
  Teachers   238.15
Personal
Property
Any personal property to $1,000 (husband & wife may double); to $4,000 if no homestead claimed  Constitution 10-4; In re
Hawkins, 51B.R. 348 (S.D.
Fla. 1985)  
  Federal income tax refund or credit  222.25
  Health aids  222.25
  Motor vehicle to $1,000  222.25
  Pre-need funeral contract deposits  497.56(8)
  Prepaid college education trust deposits 222.22(1)
  Prepaid hurricane savings accounts  222.22(4)
  Prepaid medical savings account deposits  222.22(2)  
Public
Benefits
Crime victims’ compensation unless seeking to discharge debt for treatment of injury incurred during the crime 960.14
  Public assistance  222.201
  Social Security 222.201
  Unemployment compensation 222.201;  
443.051(2),(3)
  Veterans’ benefits 222.201; 744.626
  Workers’ compensation   440.22
Tools of trade  None    
Wages 100% of wages for heads of family up to $500 per week either unpaid or paid & deposited into bank account for up to 6 months 222.11
  Federal government employees’ pension payments needed for support & received 3 months prior   222.21  
Wildcard see personal property   
 
     
  STATE OF NEVADA  
 

For the State of Nevada, federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available. All law references are to Nevada Revised Statutes Annotated unless otherwise noted.

ASSET   EXEMPTION LAW
Homestead Must record homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy   115.020
  Real property or mobile home to $550,000   115.010; 21.090(1)(m)
Insurance  Annuity contract proceeds to $350 per month 687B.290  
  Fraternal benefit society benefits 695A.220
  Group life or health policy or proceeds 687B.280
  Health proceeds or avails 687B.270
  Life insurance policy or proceeds if annual premiums not over $1,000 21.090(1)(k); In re Bower, 234 B.R. 109  (Nev. 1999)
  Life insurance proceeds if you’re not the insured   687B.260  
Miscellaneous Alimony & child support 21.090(1)(s)
  Property of some business partnerships 87.250
  Security deposits for a rental residence, except  landlord may enforce terms of lease or rental agreement   21.090(1)(n)
Pensions         tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s,  403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined-benefit plans 11 U.S.C. § 522(b) (3)(C)
  Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person        11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3) (C); (n)
  ERISA-qualified benefits, deferred compensation, SEP IRA, Roth IRA, or IRA to $500,000 21.090(1)(r)
  Public employees   286.670
Personal property         Appliances, household goods, furniture, home & yard equipment to $12,000 total 21.090(1)(b)  
  Books, works of art, musical instruments, & jewelry to $5,000 21.090(1)(a)
  Burial plot purchase money held in trust 689.700
  Funeral service contract money held in trust     689.700
  Health aids      21.090(1)(q)
  Keepsakes & pictures  21.090(1)(a)
  Metal-bearing ores, geological specimens, art curiosities, or paleontological remains; must be arranged, classified, catalogued, & numbered in reference books 21.100
  Mortgage impound accounts 645B.180
  Motor vehicle to $15,000; no limit on vehicle equipped for disabled person 21.090(1)(f),(o)
  1 gun 21.090(1)(i)
  Personal injury compensation to $16,500 21.090(1)(u)
  Restitution received for criminal act 21.090(1)(x)
  Stock in certain closely-held corporations 21.090(1)(bb)
  Tax-refunds derived from the earned income credit 21.090(1)(aa)
  Wrongful death awards to survivors   21.090(1)(v)
Public Benefits Aid to blind, aged, disabled; public assistance 422.291
  Crime victim’s compensation 21.090
  Industrial insurance (workers’ compensation) 616C.205
  Public assistance for children 432.036
  Unemployment compensation 612.710
  Vocational rehabilitation benefits   615.270
Tools of trade Arms, uniforms, & accoutrements you’re required to keep 21.090(1)(j)
  Cabin or dwelling of miner or prospector; mining claim, cars, implements, & appliances to $4,500 total (for working claim only) 21.090(1)(e)
  Farm trucks, stock, tools, equipment, & seed to $4,500 21.090(1)(c)
  Library, equipment, supplies, tools, inventory, & materials to $10,000   21.090(1)(d)
Wages Minimum 75% of disposable weekly earnings or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage per  week, whichever is more; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors   21.090(1)(g)
Wildcard $1,000 of any personal property         21090(1)(z)

Exemptions for Retirement Accounts:   Under the current bankruptcy law, almost all types of tax-exempt retirement accounts are exempt in bankruptcy, whether state or federal exemptions are applied.  Such accounts include 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, IRAs (including Roth, SEP and Simple IRAs) and defined benefit plans.  Amount of exemption for these accounts are virtually unlimited, except for IRA accounts where the limitation may be set at $1,095,000.  The applicable exemption for these types of accounts, if the bankruptcy petitioner is using state exemptions, is 11 U.S.C §522(b)(3)(C).

Disclaimer:  Please note that the bankruptcy exemption charts, referenced herein above, is intended to provide general information only; nothing herein may be relied upon as a legal opinion by Blue Capital Law Firm, P.C.  Further, you should be aware that there may be certain exceptions to state exemption laws that may otherwise be applicable to your particular case.  Further, the exemption amounts listed in the charts above may be updated and changed over time, and therefore all such amounts should be confirmed for accuracy.