Illinois Bankruptcy Exemptions

The State of Illinois does not have federal bankruptcy exemptions.

There is property that you can exempt or protect from creditors when you file bankruptcy. You have the option of utilizing the state exemptions or the federal exemptions. After you file for bankruptcy, this property can be kept. Be aware that there are certain debts, which you will not be able to erase in bankruptcy. These are identified as non-dischargeable debts.

There are some limits on certain exemptions such as equity that you have in a home or in a vehicle. The difference between the cost of the item and the amount owed on the item is the definition of equity. If the item, such as home or vehicle, is secured by a loan and payments are made on time, the equity is protected by your exemptions. A debtor must generally pay the trustee the value of the non-exempt property to keep the property. If you choose to keep the property, continual timely payments ensure that the property is protected through the bankruptcy.

For married couples filing jointly in bankruptcy, each can claim a full set of exemptions, unless otherwise noted.


Homestead: Real or personal property including a farm, lots, buildings, condominiums, co-ops or mobile homes to $15,000, Sale proceeds exempt for 1 year, Homestead exemption after death or desertion of one spouse for benefit of remaining spouse and/or minor child, to $7,500 for each, Husband and wife may double homestead exemption

Insurance: Fraternal benefit society benefits, Health or disability benefits, Homeowners’ proceeds for home destroyed, to $15,000, life insurance, annuity proceeds or cash value if beneficiary is insured’s child, parent, spouse or other dependent. Life insurance policy if beneficiary is insured’s spouse or child Life insurance proceeds needed for support

Miscellaneous: Alimony needed for support, Child Support needed for support, Property of business partnership

Personal Property: Health aids, Motor vehicle to $2,400, Bible, family pictures, clothing and schools books as needed, Personal injury recoveries to $15,000, Proceeds of sold exempt property, Title certificate for boat over 12 feet, Prepaid tuition trust fund, Wrongful death recoveries, Pre-need cemetery sale funds, care funds, and trust funds, Any other personal property up to $4,000, not including wages

Pensions: Civil service employees, County employees, Disabled firefighters; widows and children of firefighters, Teachers, State university employees, State employees, Sanitation district employees, Public library employees, Police officers, Park employees, Municipal employees, Judges, Public employees, House of correction employees, General assembly members, ERISA-qualified benefits, tax exempt retirement accounts. Traditional IRAs and ROTH IRAs up to $1,095,000 per person

Public Benefits: Aid to aged, blind, disabled, Public assistance, Crime victims’ compensation, Unemployment compensation, Workers’ compensation, Veterans’ benefits, Workers’ occupational disease compensation, restitution payments on account of WWII relocation of Aleuts and Japanese Americans

Tools of Trade: Books, implements, tools of trade up to $1,500

Wages: Either a minimum 85% of earned but unpaid wages or 45 times the federal minimum hourly wage (or state minimum hourly wage, if higher); bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low income debtors

Wildcard: $4,000 of any personal property (does not include wages)

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