California Bankruptcy Exemptions 2020

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Written by Upsolve Team.  
Updated January 21, 2020

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Summary

It's important to understand what the exemptions for California are and how they're most often used in a bankruptcy case.

How Do Exemptions Work?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one of the biggest questions is whether or not you will be able to keep your property.

That depends on which property exemptions you can use on your bankruptcy forms. They are called exemptions because they “exempt” -- or “excuse” -- certain property from being taken. In most cases, exemptions protect most day-to-day items that you own, unless you have expensive property like a house or a car.

Certain exemptions protect entire categories of property like retirements accounts, regardless of value. Other exemptions only protect specific property like a vehicle up to a certain value.

If you're looking for a deep understanding of bankruptcy exemptions, read this article.

Does California allow federal exemptions?

California does not recognize the federal exemptions.

Every state has its own set of property exemptions. And some states also allow you choose between their exemptions and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions. When they do, they will generally let you to choose the system that is the best fit for you. Although some states allow you to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions, others do not.

California Exemptions

11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(10); 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(12)

Most people use 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(10); 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(12) to cover tax exempt retirement accounts. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(2)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(2) to cover motor vehicle (one). For single debtors filing, it has a coverage limit of $4,800. This exemption has a limit to the number of assets it can cover.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(3)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(3) to cover household goods and furnishings, books, antiques, art, collectibles, hobby equipment, clothes, animals, crops, musical instruments. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(4)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(4) to cover jewelry. For single debtors filing, it has a coverage limit of $1,425.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(9)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(9) to cover health aids. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(E)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(E) to cover erisa, ira, roth ira. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(D)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(D) to cover alimony or maintenance support. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(B)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(B) to cover wrongful death awards. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(B)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(B) to cover veterans' benefit. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(A)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(A) to cover public assistance. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(C)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(10)(C) to cover disability or unemployment benefits. For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(A)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(A) to cover crime victims' compensation . For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(E)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(E) to cover loss of future earnings . For single debtors filing, it has no coverage limit.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(D); Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(E)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(D); Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(11)(E) to cover personal injury settlement. For single debtors filing, it has a coverage limit of $24,060.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(8)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(8) to cover life insurance (unmatured, loan). For single debtors filing, it has a coverage limit of $12,860.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(6)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(6) to cover tools of trade. For single debtors filing, it has a coverage limit of $7,175.

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(5); Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(1)

Most people use Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(5); Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.140 (b)(1) to cover wildcard. For single debtors filing, it has a coverage limit of $30,835.

California Exemptions F.A.Q.

Bankruptcy exemptions protect the equity in certain property. Property that is exempt cannot be used to pay debts. Therefore, a debtor is permitted to keep all exempt property. If you have more questions about exemptions, check out this article.

For expanded descriptions, go to the exemption page for California. Below are common questions people have about assets and exemptions:

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