Bankruptcy Exemptions

California Bankruptcy Exemptions are to protect your assets. Filing for bankruptcy protection does not mean individuals are not allowed to keep assets. California has two sets of exemptions that provide for the opportunity to protect assets based on the individual circumstance of the debtor. In the hands of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, the exemptions can be used to maximize and allow individuals to keep all their property.

Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption available for Chapter 7 or 13.


The homestead exemption is available under both chapter 7 or 13 and allows individuals to protect their house under the bankruptcy code. It can only apply to your current residence. It does not apply to income property unless you are living at that property as well.  Your house is protected the most under California bankruptcy exemption section 704 where you can protect $75,000 to $175,000 in equity in your home depending on your circumstance.

There also exist homestead protection under  California bankruptcy exemptions section 703. Which is best for you? Below you will find the table of exemptions and the amounts of equity that is protected under each exemption set. Be careful of the cautions listed here.

Research the information you need about exemptions below. If you need more help, we are here to help and to advise. We can structure your bankruptcy to protect all your assets.
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California Bankruptcy Exemptions provide for two different options.

California allows debtors two set of exemptions. However, they must chose under which set of exemption they wish to protect their assets. Different exemptions from different sections may not be taken. Debtors must chose either the 703 exemption of the 704. Caution!! There can be no mingling of exemptions.

California Bankruptcy Exemptions section 703.

California bankruptcy exemptions under section 703 are designed for none home owners or owners who do not have much equity in their house. Section 703 exemptions allow for individuals to keep approximately $35.000.00 in different assets. So long as the total of all assets, excluding retirement account, are less that $35,000.00 the debtor will keep all their property. However you must still structure the exemptions in the proper categories to ensure your assets are protected. The full table of exemptions under 703 is listed below.

California Bankruptcy Exemptions section 704.

California bankruptcy exemptions under section 704 are designed to protect home owners equity in their house. Given the age, income and marital status of the debtor, individuals may protect up to $175,000.00 in equity in their home. However, 704 makes difficult to protect other assets, particularly vehicles and tax refunds. The full table of exemptions under 704 is listed below.

Caution!!! No Canceling of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Once a bankruptcy is filed, all assets becomes the property of the estate. Individuals who file for chapter 7 bankruptcy can not withdraw their bankruptcy petition. They can not dismiss their bankruptcy without a motion to the court explaining how they will be paying back their creditors. All assets that are not properly protected will not be saved and will be liquidated by the trustee. We can make sure all your assets are protected. You do not need to guess. Call us at 818-409-8911 to schedule a Free No obligation consultation. With our very affordable fees you can eliminate the guessing and protect all your assets.

Caution !!! Improperly claimed exemptions under Chapter 13 can increase your monthly payments.

Under Chapter 13, you are required to pay back your creditors at the very least what they would have gotten under chapter 7. If you fail to properly claim your exemptions, the trustee can make you pay more to ensure that above rule. As local bankruptcy attorneys, we are experienced with the local practice of the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy trustees.  We know what will be protected and what will get the bankruptcy trustee interested in liquidating. If you need more information,

For an Affordable, Exceptional and Personal Service, Call 818-409-8911

Table of Bankruptcy exemptions.

(values adjusted periodically and may not reflect full amount of exemptions available).




Principal Residence (including mobile homes,
houseboats & all outbuildings on same property)

$75,000 – Single
Debtor §704.730(a)(1)

$100,000 Head of
Household §704.730(a)(2)

$175,000 65 years or Disabled or 55 years with
low income §704.730(a)(3)

$20,725 in any real property §703.140(b)(1)

Material to repair or improve residence

$2,700 – §704.030

Not Available

Household Goods, Appliances, Clothes &
Personal Items

Reasonable & Necessary §704.020

$525 per item with no maximum §703.140(b)(3)

Motor Vehicles

$2,550 total in all vehicles – §704.010

$3,300 in 1 vehicle – 703.140(b)(2)

Tools of the Trade, including Professional

$13,475 per employed spouse – §704.060 or
$9,700 in one commercial vehicle.

$2,075 §703.140(b)(6)

Jewelry, Heirlooms, Works of Art

$6,750 – §704.040

$1,350 jewelry only – §703.140(b)(4)

Any property selected by debtor-Wild Card-

Not Available

$1,100 plus unused portion of §703.140(b)(1).
Can be used for any property. §703.140(b)(5)

Life Insurance (Incl. endowments &

Reasonable & Necessary §704.100(c)

All – §703.140(b)(11)(C)

Life Insurance Loan Values

$10,775 per spouse – §704.100(b)

$11,075 – §703.140(b)(8)

Prosthetic & other Health Aids

Reasonable & Necessary – 704.050

All – §703.140(b)(9)

Cemetery Plot

All for debtor & Spouse – 704.200(c)

Not Available

Wages earned

75% of last month’s wages – 704.070

Not Available

Vacation Credits

All Public Employees Only – §704.113

Not Available

Social Security

All – §704.080(e)

All – §703.140(b)(10)(A)

Bank Accounts for Social Security if
Direct Deposit is used

$2,700 if single – $4,050 if joint
§704.080(b)(2) All if proven Social Sec.

Not Available

Public Benefits

All – §704.080(e)

All – §703.140(b)(10)(A)

Bank Accounts for Public Benefits if Direct
Deposit is used

$1,350 if single – $2,025 if joint
§704.080(b)(2) All if proven Public Benefits.

Not Available

Public Retirement

All – §704.110(b)

All – §703.140(b)(10)(E)

Private Retirement

All – §704.115(b)

Reasonable & Necessary §703.140(b)(10)(E)

Health/Disability Ins.

All – §704.130

All – §703.140(b)(10)(C)

Personal Injury Payments after Judgment or

Reasonable & Necessary – §704.140(d)

$20,725 not including pain & suffering

Personal Injury Cause of Action

All – §704.140(a)

Not Available

Worker’s Compensation

All – §704.160

Reasonable & Necessary –

Loss of Future Earnings

All – §704.140

Reasonable & Necessary –


All – §704.120

All – §703.140(b)(10)(C)


All – §704.180

Not Available

Veteran’s Benefits

Not Available BUT exempt under Federal Law 38
USC §5301

All – §703.140(b)(10)(B)

Benefits from Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Reasonable & Necessary §704.150(b)

Reasonable & Necessary §703.140(b)(11)(B)

Wrongful Death Cause of Action

All – §704.150(a)

Not Available

Child Support/Alimony

Not Available

Reasonable& Necessary §703.140(b)(10)(D)

Welfare or Charitable Aid

All – §704.170

Not Available

Prisoner Trust Account

$1,350 – §704.090

Not Available

For an Affordable, Exceptional and Personal Service, Call 818-409-8911