Exemptions

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Exemptions in a CA Bankruptcy

Long Beach, California Bankruptcy Attorney

California has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions that are found in the Bankruptcy Code. Instead, the bankruptcy courts in California allow a debtor to use the exemptions found in Sections 703 and 704 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, provided that the debtor has lived in California for the 730 days preceding the filing of the bankruptcy. If the debtor has not lived in California for the last 730 days preceding the filing, the test is whether the debtor lived the majority of the 180 days preceding that 730 day period in California. The legislature can change the exemptions at any time. Please call our office to make sure you have the latest information.

California has 2 sets of bankruptcy exemptions. You must choose either 703 or 704. You may not mix and match. The following is a summary of both sets of exemptions. Note: Some of the exemptions below, including the homestead, are subject to federal restrictions.

Homestead (§704)

  • $75,000 Homestead exemption for an individual
  • $100,000 Homestead for a married couple or single individual with qualifying household member
  • $175,000 for individuals 65 and over or the disabled
  • $2,900 for a motor vehicle
  • Retirement accounts
  • Reasonable and necessary personal property

Insurance:

  • Disability or health benefits
  • Fraternal unemployment bonds
  • Life insurance proceeds or avails if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary's creditors
  • Fidelity bonds
  • Homeowners' insurance proceeds for 6 months after received, up to the homestead exemption amount
  • Matured life insurance benefits needed for support
  • Unmatured life insurance policy § 704.100
  • Unmatured life insurance policy loan value to $10,775 (husband and wife may double)

Miscellaneous

  • Business or professional license, except liquor licenses
  • Trust funds of incarcerated inmates up to $1,350

Pensions

  • County employees
  • County firefighters
  • County peace officers
  • Private retirement benefits, including IRAs and KEOGHs (Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000)
  • Public employees
  • Public retirement benefits

Personal Property

  • Appliances, furnishings, clothing and food to the extent ordinary and necessary
  • Bank deposits from Social Security Administration to $2,700 ($4,050 for husband and wife)
  • Bank deposits from other public benefits to $,1350 ($2,025 for husband and wife)
  • Building materials to $2,700 to repair or improve home (husband and wife may not double amount)
  • Burial plot
  • Health aids
  • Jewelry, heirlooms and art to $6,750 total (may not be doubled).
  • Motor vehicles to $2,550 (may not be doubled)
  • Personal injury causes of action
  • Personal injury recoveries needed for support; if receiving installments at least 75%
  • Wrongful death causes of action
  • Wrongful death recoveries needed for support; if receiving installments, at least 75%
  • Funds held in escrow

Public Benefits

  • Aid to blind, aged and disabled
  • Financial Aid to Students
  • Relocation benefits
  • Union benefits due to labor dispute
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Worker's Compensation

Tools of Trade

  • Tools, implements, materials, instruments, uniforms, books, furnishings, equipment, vessel, motor vehicle to $6,750 total; to $13,475 total if used by both spouses in same occupation (cannot claim motor vehicle under both tools of trade exemption and motor vehicle exemption).
  • Commercial Vehicles to $4,850 ($9,700 if used by spouses in the same occupation)

Wages

  • Public employee vacation credits; if receiving installments, at least 75%
  • 75% of wages paid within 30 days of filing for bankruptcy certain exemptions apply

Wild Card

  • None

SET 2 CCCP § 703

Non Homestead (§703)

  • $25,575 Wildcard exemption (used for any purpose)
  • $5,100 for motor vehicles
  • Most retirement accounts
  • $600 per household item

Insurance:

  • Disability or health benefits
  • Life insurance proceeds or avails needed for support
  • Unmatured life insurance contract accrued avails to $11,075
  • Unmatured life insurance policy other than credit life insurance contract

Miscellaneous

  • Alimony, child support to the extent necessary for support

Pensions

  • ERISA qualified benefits needed for support
  • Tax exempt retirement accounts
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000

Personal Property

  • Animals, crops, appliances, furnishings, household goods, books, musical instruments and clothing to $525 per item
  • Burial plot to $20,725, in lieu of homestead
  • Health Aids
  • Jewelry to $1,350
  • Motor vehicle to $3,300
  • Personal injury recoveries to $20,725 (not to include pain and suffering or pecuniary loss)
  • Wrongful death recoveries needed for support

Public Benefits

  • Crime victims' compensation.
  • Public Assistance
  • Social Security
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Veterans' benefits

Tools of Trade

  • Implements, books and tools of trade to $2,075

Wages

  • None

Wild Card

  • $1,100 of any property plus any unused portion of homestead or burial exemption

To discuss your case thoroughly, we encourage you to contact our Long Beach bankruptcy attorney at your earliest convenience.