If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Alaska, you can protect some or all of your property with Alaska’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Alaska also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about the property you can protect with Alaska’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
Alaska Allows Debtors to Choose Between State and Federal Exemptions
Alaska is one of the states that allows debtors to choose between the Alaska exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means that you may examine both sets of exemptions and elect the exemptions that better protect your assets.
Married Couples May Double Alaska Exemptions
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Alaska may double the exemption amounts (except for the homestead exemption). This means that each spouse may claim the full exemption amount for any property in which the spouse has ownership interest. For example, if both spouses own an item and they file jointly, they can double the amount of the applicable exemption to protect that item’s value.
Common Alaska Exemptions
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Alaska law.
Homestead or Residential Property
The homestead exemption protects equity in real property that you or your dependents use as your principal residence. In Alaska, you can protect up to $72,900 of equity in your home. You may not double the homestead exemption in Alaska.
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Alaska, see The Alaska Homestead Exemption.
You may exempt the following personal property:
Apartment or condo owners' association deposits. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.010
Burial plot, necessary health aids, and tuition credits under advance college payment contract. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015
Household goods and clothing, books and instruments, and portraits and heirlooms, up to $4,050 in value. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.020
Jewelry up to $1,350. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020
Professional books and tools of the trade up to $3,780. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020
Pets up to $1,350; jewelry up to $1,300; and household goods, clothing, books, musical instruments, and family portraits and heirlooms up to $4,050. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020
Insurance Benefits and Proceeds
Unmatured life insurance policies and annuity contracts up to $13,500. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.025
Proceeds from damaged, destroyed, or lost exempt property. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.060
In Alaska, you can exempt up to $4,050 in equity in your car or other vehicle, as long as the market value of your vehicle is no more than $27,000. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.020
Example. Eric owns a 2009 Pontiac G6. His car is worth $16,000 and he owes the dealership $13,000, so he has $3,000 of equity in the car. If Eric files Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Alaska, he can protect all of the equity in his car using the motor vehicle exemption.
To learn more, see The Alaska Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
Pension Benefits and Domestic Support
Teachers, judicial and public employees, and elected officers. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015
ERISA-qualified benefits (deposited more than 120 days before filing) and medical savings accounts. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.017
Pension benefits. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.017
Child support distributed via a collection agency. Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015
Alimony (to the extent wages are exempt). Alaska Stat. § 09.38.015
You may exempt the following amount of your wages:
Weekly net earnings up to $473 or $743 if you are the head of household.
If you are not paid weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly, up to $1,890 of cash or other liquid assets paid in one month, or $2,970 if you are the sole wage earner in the household. The assets limited under this section include disability or unemployment benefits, alimony, bodily injury awards, and insurance or pension benefits, unless they are otherwise 100% exempt under Alaska Stat. §§ 09.38.015 or 09.38.017.
Alaska Stat. §§ 09.38.030 & 09.38.050
Unemployment compensation, Alaska longevity bonus, prescription drug benefits for senior care, and Alaska benefits for low-income seniors. Alaska Stat. § 9.38.015
Workers' compensation. Alaska Stat. § 23.30.160
General relief assistance. Alaska Stat. § 47.25.210
Assistance to blind, elderly and disabled adults. Alaska Stat. § 47.25.550
Confirming the Alaska Bankruptcy Exemptions
This list includes some of the more commonly used Alaska bankruptcy exemptions, but there are numerous other exemptions available to protect specific property. Additionally, Alaska updates its exemptions periodically. You can verify the current exemption amounts at the website of the Alaska Legislature or by referring to the Alaska Administrative Code Title 8 § 95.030. (To learn how to do this, see Nolo’s Legal Research Center).