If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho, you can protect some or all of your property with Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Idaho also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about what property is covered by Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, how they work, and which ones you can use, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
Idaho Does Not Allow Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions
Idaho is an opt out state, meaning it only allows debtors to use the Idaho state bankruptcy exemptions and not the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Debtors in Idaho are permitted to use federal non-bankruptcy exemptions, which protect property such as federal and veteran’s retirement and death benefits. (See a list of the most common federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.)
Married Couples May Double Idaho Exemptions
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Idaho may “double” the exemption amounts, unless otherwise indicated (for example, you cannot double the homestead exemption). This means that each spouse may claim the full exemption amount for any property in which the spouse has ownership interest. So, for example, if both spouses own a lawnmower and they file jointly, they can double the amount of their personal property exemption in order to keep the mower.
Common Idaho Exemptions
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Idaho law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Idaho Code.
Homestead or Residential Property
The homestead exemption protects a certain amount of equity in your home or principal residence. You may exempt up to $100,000 in your home or mobile home. You and your spouse may not double the homestead exemption. Idaho Code § 55-1003.
Insurance proceeds from the destruction of your home or proceeds from the sale of your home, so long as you intend to use them to purchase a new home, are also exempt, up to $100,000, for one year after you receive them. Idaho Code § 55-1008.
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Idaho, see The Idaho Homestead Exemption.
Property Exempt Without Limitation
You may exempt the following property up to an unlimited value, pursuant to Idaho Code § 11-603:
- Health aids that allow you or a family member to work and maintain your health.
- Public assistance and unemployment compensation.
- Medical savings accounts.
- Earned income tax credit (but not child tax credit or education tax credit). (In re Jones, 107 BR 751 (Bankr. D. Idaho 1989); In re Steinmetz, 261 BR 32 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2001); In re Crampton, 249 BR 215 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2000).)
Property Exempt to the Extent Reasonably Necessary for Support
You may exempt the following property as long as it is reasonably necessary for your support, pursuant to Idaho Code § 11-604:
- Insurance Benefits
- Group life insurance benefits. Idaho Code § 41-1835
- Life insurance proceeds, if the contract states that they are exempt from creditors’ claims. Idaho Code § 41-1930.
The following property is also exempt up to an unlimited value, as long as it is reasonably necessary for your support. However, it will lose its exempt status if the funds are commingled with any other funds.
- Proceeds received as the result of bodily injury or wrongful death of a person upon whom you are dependent.
- Disability benefits.
- Alimony or support payments.
Idaho law allows you to protect the following personal property:
- up to $7,500 of household appliances and furnishings, pets, instruments, heirlooms, and items of sentimental value, up to $750 of value per item
- a burial plot
- crops grown on up to 50 acres, to a value of $1,000, and water rights for 160 inches of water
- up to $1,000 of jewelry, and
- a firearm, up to $750 in value. Idaho Code § 11-605.
Idaho law allows you to protect up to $7,000 of value in your motor vehicle. Idaho Code § 11-605.
If your vehicle is worth $10,000, and you owe $5,000 on the loan, you have $5,000 worth of equity in your vehicle. That means that you can use Idaho’s motor vehicle exemption to protect the entire value of your care if you file a bankruptcy in Idaho.
To learn more about how to exempt your motor vehicle under Idaho law, see The Idaho Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
Pension and Retirement Benefits
ERISA-qualified benefits. Idaho Code § 50-1011
Retirement funds, pensions, IRAs. Idaho Code § 59-1337
Public employees’ retirement benefits. Idaho Code § 11-603
Idaho’s wildcard exemption allows you to protect up to $800 of any personal property you own. Idaho Code § 11-605(11). (Learn more in The Idaho Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy.)
Tools of the Trade
You can protect up to $2,500 of tools used for your trade or business. Idaho Code § 11-605
Confirming the Status of Idaho’s Bankruptcy Exemptions
Idaho’s exemption amounts are adjusted periodically. To make sure you have the most recent figures, be sure to check for any updates at the official website of the Idaho Legislature at http://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules.htm.
For more information, see Filing for Bankruptcy in Idaho.