Washington Bankruptcy Exemptions

The State of Washington has federal and state bankruptcy exemptions available to those who file bankruptcy. Persons who file for bankruptcy can choose which exemptions best serve to protect their assets from creditors. A list of exemptions available under state law in Washington is featured below. Compare the state exemptions to the federal exemptions shown on the page for federal exemptions on this Web site. A qualified Washington State bankruptcy attorney can give you a more detailed evaluation of the exemptions and which ones are best for your specific situation and personal income.

After filing for bankruptcy, this property is safe. 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 is secured by a loan and payments are made on time, the exemptions will protect your equity. 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 protection of the property through bankruptcy. Be aware that there are certain debts, which you will not be able to erase in bankruptcy. These are non-dischargeable debts.

The best way to determine which exemptions to utilize is to meet with a qualified and proven bankruptcy lawyer in Washington who can evaluate your individual financial situation and guide you through the process. Contact an attorney today.


Homestead: Must record homestead declaration before sale of home if property unimproved or home occupied, Real property or mobile home to $40,000; unimproved property intended for residence up to $15,000, Husband and wife may not double 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-benefit plans. Traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,095,000 per person, ERISA qualified benefit, IRAs, Roth IRAs and Keoghs, Law enforcement officials and firefighters, Public and state employees, Volunteer firefighters, Teachers, State patrol officers, Police officers, Judges, City employees

Insurance: Fraternal benefit society benefits, Group life insurance or annuity, Life insurance proceeds or avails if beneficiary is not the insured, Disability proceeds, avails, or benefits, Annuity contract proceeds to $2,500 per month

Miscellaneous: Child support payments

Personal Property: Clothing, no more than $1,000 in furs, jewelry, ornaments, Appliances, furniture, household goods, home and yard equipment up to $2,700 total for individual, $5,400 for community, Motor vehicle up to $2,500 total for individual (two vehicles to $5,000 for community), Food and fuel for comfortable maintenance, Health aids prescribed, Keepsakes and family pictures, Books up to $1,500, Burial ground Burial plot sold by nonprofit cemetery association, Fire insurance proceeds for lost, stolen or destroyed exempt property, Personal injury recoveries up to $16,150

Public Benefits: Unemployment compensation, Child welfare, General assistance, Old age assistance, Workers’ compensation, Crime victims’ compensation

Tools of Trade: Tools and materials used in any other trade to $5,000, Farmer’s trucks, stock, tools, seed, equipment and supplies up to $5,000 total, Library, office furniture, office equipment and supplies of physician, surgeon, attorney, clergy or other professional to $5,000 total

Wages: Minimum 75% of weekly disposable earnings or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low income debtors

Wildcard: $2,000 of any personal property (no more than $200 in cash, bank deposits, stocks, bonds and securities)

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