April 11, 2017
If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho, you can protect some or all of your property using Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Idaho also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy; they help determine the amount you'll pay to your creditors in your three- to five-year repayment plan. Read on to learn about property covered by Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, see Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Idaho is an "opt-out" state that allows debtors to only use the Idaho state bankruptcy exemptions. The federal bankruptcy exemptions aren't available. However, Idaho debtors can 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 filing a joint bankruptcy in Idaho can “double” most exemption amounts (you can't double the homestead exemption). Doubling allows each spouse to claim the full exemption amount for any property in which they both hold an ownership interest. For instance, if both spouses own a vehicle and they file jointly, they can double the exemption amount listed below and protect twice the equity.
Here are some common exemptions available under Idaho law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Idaho Code which can be found on the Idaho Legislature website.
The homestead exemption protects a certain amount of equity in your home or principal residence. You can exempt up to $100,000 in your home or mobile home. You and your spouse cannot double the homestead exemption. The exemption amount covers sales proceeds and insurance proceeds from the destruction of your home (conditions apply). §§ 55-1001, 55-1002, 55-1003, § 55-1008, 55-1113.
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Idaho, see The Idaho Homestead Exemption.
You can exempt an unlimited amount of the following property pursuant to § 11-603:
You may exempt the following property as long as it is reasonably necessary for your support (conditions might apply):
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.
Idaho law allows you to protect the following personal property:
Idaho law allows you to protect up to $7,000 of value in your motor vehicle. § 11-605(3).
Example. 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. You can use Idaho’s motor vehicle exemption to protect the entire value of your car.
To learn more about how to exempt your motor vehicle under Idaho law, see The Idaho Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
ERISA-qualified benefits §§ 50-1011; 11-604A
Public employees’ retirement benefits §§ 59-1317; 59-1325
Firefighter's fund retirement benefits § 72-1422
Employee plan benefits §§ 11-604(1); 11-604A; 41-1834
Idaho’s wildcard exemption allows you to protect up to $800 of any personal property you own. § 11-605(10). (Learn more in The Idaho Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy.)
You can protect up to $2,500 of tools used for your trade or business. § 11-605(2)
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 (link provided above) or contact a local bankruptcy attorney.
For more information, see Filing for Bankruptcy in Idaho.