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California Exemptions

You can protect certain assets from being liquidated during your bankruptcy however you must properly elect your bankruptcy exemptions or they are waived. Moreover, you should be able to prove each bankruptcy exemption as each debtor is subject to the trustee’s audit and potentially an additional audit. Below is a general list of Bankruptcy exemptions including homestead exemptions (updated as of April 2010) available for certain California Residents. You elect from one of two systems of exemptions, either System 1 or System 2. Note you can only choose one system or the other; you cannot mix and match exemptions from different systems. Call us today for a free consultation or fill out our free online evaluation and we’ll help you through this process.

Bankruptcy Exemptions Including Personal Property, Tools of the Trade, 401k, IRA, Pensions, Public Benefits, Insurance, Wage and More Bankruptcy Advice


ExemptionLimitStatute: CCP § 704 or otherwise stated
Automatic homestead (single)75,000.00704.730
Automatic homestead (debtor’s spouse w/ CP interest or a minor dependent living in residence)100,000.00704.730
Automatic homestead (debtor is a senior, disabled, or 55 years of age or older & limited income)175,000.00704.730
Declared homestead (single)50,000.00704.950
Declared homestead (debtor’s spouse w/ CP interest or a minor dependent living in residence)75,000.00704.950
Declared homestead (debtor is a senior, disabled, or 55 years of age & limited income)150,000.00704.950
Cemetery and burial plotsNo limit704.200
Health aids100%704.050
Household items and personal effects704.020
Jewelry, heirlooms and works of art7,175.00704.040
Motor vehicle (one)2,725.00704.010
Personal injury compensationAmt Nec. for Support704.140
Wrongful death compensationAmt Nec. for Support704.150
Private disability & health insurance benefits100%704.130
Life insurance policies (unmatured)11,475.00704.100
Life insurance proceedsAmt Nec. for Support704.100
Military ExemptionsContact office
ERISA-qualified benefitsAmt Nec. for Support29 U.S.C.A. § 1056(d)
Private retirement plan and benefits (401k, Keoghs, Traditional & Roth IRAs)All 401ks, Keoghs, IRAs up to 1.095MM704.115(a)(1) & (2), (b);

11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)

Self employed retirement plans (Keogh, SEP-IRA, IRA,Amt Nec. for Support704.115(a)(3),(b),(e)
Public retirement benefitsAll704.110, 704.170
County employees, County firefighters, County law enforcement, Public employeesAllGov’t 31452, Gov’t 32210, Gov’t 31913, Gov’t 21201
Union benefits from labor disputesAll704.160
Disability benefits, Unemployment benefitsAll704.120
Disability, AFDC, blindAll704.170
Public aidAllCal. Wel. & Inst. Code § 11002
Public benefit payments (single payee, all if not commingled)1,425.00704.080
Public benefit payments (joint payees, all if not commingled)2,150.00704.080
Relocation benefits100%704.180
Workers’ compensation benefits100%704.160
Social Security paymentsAll if not commingled704.080
Student financial aid100%704.190
Residential building materials2,875.00704.030
Tools of trade. If spouse has a trade, apply separate trade exemption or double it if same trade. i.e. 14,350.00 & 9700 for vehicle exemption. Can’t overlap home veh. w/ trade veh. exemption7,175.00 (trade vehicle exemption limited to 4,850.00)704.060
Wages paid to debtor within 30 days of filing. (Lesser of 75% of disposable earnings or 30 times federal minimum wage.)At least 75%704.070
Public employee vacation credits100% (75% min. if receiving installment payments)704.113
Wild cardNone
ExemptionLimitsStatute: CCP § 703 or stated otherwise


Real property, condo, co-op, mobile home or manufactured home used as residence (or burial plot if no homestead).22,075.00703.140(b)(1)
Alimony, Support, MaintenanceAmt Nec. For Support703.140(b)(10)(D)
Household goods, furnishings, clothing, animals, crops, musical instruments, books electronics, etc.Value not to exceed $550 per item.703.140(b)(3)
Burial plot instead of Homestead.22,075.00703.140(b)(1)
Health aids, professionally prescribed100%703.140(b)(9)
Personal injury compensation (does not incl. pain & suffering or compensation)22,075.00703.140(b)(11)(D)
Motor vehicle (one)3,525.00703.140(b)(2)
Wrongful death paymentsAmt Nec. for Support703.140(b)(11)(B)
Disability, illness, unemployment benefits:100%703.140(b)(10)(C)
Life insurance (term or whole)No specified limit703.140(b)(7)
Life insurance (unmatured contract value, interest, dividends, loans cash or surrender value)11,800.00703.140(b)(8)
Life insurance proceedsAmt Nec. for Support703.140(b)(11)(C)
Loss of future earnings paymentsAmt Nec. for Support703.140(b)(11)(E)
Military ExemptionsContact our office
Tax-exempt Retirement accounts, 401k, 403b, profit sharing and money purchased plan, SEP & Simple IRAs and defined benefit plansAmt Nec. for Support703.140(b)(10)(E)
ERISA-qualified benefitAmt Nec. for Support29 USCA § 1056(d)
Retirement accounts defined by Internal Revenue Code401ks, Trad. & Roth IRAs up to $1.095MM per person11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)
Social Security, Unemployment compensation, Public. Assistance, Veteran’s Benefits100%703.140(b)(10)(A), 703.140(b)(10)(B), 38 USCA § 5301(a)
Crime victims’ reparation benefits100%703.140(b)(11)(A)
Commercial Vehicle; Professional books; Implements of trade; Bus. computer.2,200.00703.140(b)(6)
Generally not exempt
Wages earned but unpaid75% of earned but unpaid wages15 U.S.C.A. § 1673
WILD CARD: Aggregate interest in any property, not to exceed $1,175 plus any unused amount of homestead exemption ($22,075)703.140(b)(5)

The Bankruptcy Lawyers at California Bankruptcy Relief can help you today.  We represent clients who seek bankruptcy advice and look to discharge debt through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Contact Us and an experienced Riverside Bankruptcy Attorney or Orange County Bankruptcy Lawyer will evaluate your case and review your options.

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Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bankruptcy Law Firm, Bankruptcy Filing, Bankruptcy in CA, Bankruptcy Exemptions in California, Insurance Exemption, Bankruptcy Advice, Wage Exemption, Asset Liquidation, Personal Property Exemption, Tools of the Trade Exemptions, Pension Exemptions, Public Benefits Exemptions, Bankruptcy Law Office, Bankruptcy, Bankruptcies