Tennessee Bankruptcy Exemptions

TThe State of Tennessee has state bankruptcy exemptions available for those filing for bankruptcy protection. Federal bankruptcy exemptions are not available.There is property that you can exempt or protect from creditors when you file bankruptcy in Tennessee. 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.

Contact a proven Tennessee bankruptcy attorney today for a detailed list of exemptions and how they would apply to your case.


Homestead: $5,000; $7,500 for joint owners (if 62 or older, $12,500 if single; $20,000 if married; $25,000 if spouse is also 62 or older), Life estate, 2-15-year lease, Property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse, but survivorship right is not exempt, Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim homestead exemption

Pensions: Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing, and money-purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs and defined-benefits plans, Traditional and Roth IRAs up to $1,095,000 per person, ERISA-qualified benefits, IRAs and Roth IRAs, State and local government employees, Teachers, Public employees

Insurance: Disability or illness benefits, Life insurance or annuity, Fraternal benefit society benefits, Health, accident,or disability benefits for citizens and residents of Tennessee

Miscellaneous: Educational scholarship trust funds and prepayment plans, Alimony and/or child support owed for 30 days before filing for bankruptcy

Personal Property: Clothing and storage containers, Health aids, Burial plot to one acre, Bible, schoolbooks, family pictures and portraits, Wages of debtor deserting family, in hands of family, Lost future earnings payments for you or person you depended on, Personal injury recoveries to $7,500; wrongful death recoveries to $10,000 ($15,000 total for personal injury, wrongful death and crime victims’ compensation)

Public Benefits: Unemployment compensation, Workers’ compensation, Crime victims’ compensation, Aid to blind, Aid to disabled, Local public assistance, Old-age assistance, Social Security, Relocation assistance payments, Tools of Trade: Books, tools of trade and implements up to $1,900

Wages: Minimum 75% of disposable weekly earnings or 30 times the federal minimum, hourly wage, whichever is more, plus $2.50 per week per child. Bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors

Wildcard: Personal property up to $4,000 including deposits on account with any bank or financial institution

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