North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Find out what property you can protect in bankruptcy using the North Dakota exemptions.

Updated December 21, 2016

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in North Dakota, the North Dakota bankruptcy exemptions can help you keep some or all of your property. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the North Dakota bankruptcy exemptions may reduce the total amount you must pay your unsecured creditors. (Learn how bankruptcy exemptions work in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.)

Below you can learn what property the North Dakota bankruptcy exemptions protect, whether you can use the federal exemptions in North Dakota, what happens to exemptions if you are married and filing jointly, and more.

You Cannot Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in North Dakota

Some states allow you to choose between using the state exemptions and a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions. In North Dakota, however, you do not have this choice; you must use the North Dakota bankruptcy exemptions.

Although you can’t use the federal exemptions in North Dakota, you may use any of the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect property such as federal retirement accounts and veterans’ benefits. You can use both the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions and the state exemptions; you don’t have to choose between the two lists.

Married Couples Can Double Many North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise stated, if you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy petition, you can double the amount of the North Dakota bankruptcy exemption if you both own the property. If only one spouse owns the property, then you cannot double the amount. 

Common North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Below are some of the most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions. The statute citations, unless otherwise noted, are to the North Dakota Century Code.

Homestead Exemption

In North Dakota, you can exempt up to $100,000 of equity in your home, house trailer, or mobile home. Married couples filing jointly cannot double this exemption. §28-22-02(10); §47-18-01. (Learn more in The North Dakota Homestead Exemption.)

Personal Property 

In North Dakota, you can exempt the following types of personal property.  §28-22-02 through §28-22-05

  • bible or other religious book, schoolbooks, other books
  • burial plots and church pew
  • wearing apparel to $5,000 and all clothing of the debtor and his or her family
  • crops or grain where the debtor lives, up to 160 acres
  • food and fuel to last one year
  • health aids
  • insurance proceeds for exempt property
  • personal injury and wrongful death recoveries to $15,000

Motor Vehicle Exemption 

In North Dakota, you can exempt up to $2,950 of equity in a motor vehicle, including a car, van, motorcycle, or truck. If you have modified the vehicle to accommodate your disability, you can exempt up to $32,000. (To learn more, see The North Dakota Motor Vehicle Exemption.)


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). 11 U.S.C. § 522. 

IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283, 025. (This amount is adjusted every three years. For the most recent figure, see Your Retirement Account in Bankruptcy.) 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n); §15-41-30(A)(13)

Erisa-qualified benefits, IRAs, Roth IRA and Keoghs to $100,000 per plan. You can exempt more if you need the money for your support. The total exemption for all accounts cannot be more than $200,000. §28-22-03.1(7)

Disabled veteran’s benefits (other than for military pay). §28-22-03.1(4)(d)

Public employee’s deferred compensation. §54-52.2-06

Public employee’s pensions. §28-22-19(1)

Public Benefits

Crime victims’ compensation. §28-22-03.1(4); §28-22-19(2)

Old-age and survivor insurance program benefits. §52-09-22

Public assistance §28-22-19(3)

Social Security. §28-22-03.1(8)(a)

Unemployment compensation. §52-06-30

Veteran’s disability benefits. §28-22-03.1(8)(b)

Workers' compensation. §65-05-29

Tools of Trade

Tools, books, and implements used in your trade or profession, up to $1,500. §28-22-03.1(3)

Life Insurance

Fraternal benefit society benefits. §26.1-15.1-18

Unmatured life insurance contract other than credit life insurance. §26.1-33-40; §28-22-03.1(4)

Life insurance proceeds that are payable to the estate and not to a specific beneficiary. §26.1-33-40

Life insurance surrender value, up to $8,000 per policy, if the beneficiary is the insured’s dependent and the insured owned the policy for at least one year prior to filing for bankruptcy. You can exempt more if you need the money for support. §28-22-03.1(5)


Alimony, child support, and maintenance payments. §14-09-09.31; 28-22-03.1(8)(d)


You can exempt the following property:

  • $7,500 of any personal property if you are the head of a household. §28-22-03
  • $3,750 of any personal property if you are single and do not have dependents. §28-22-05
  • $10,000 of any property if you don’t use the homestead exemption. §28-22-03.1(1)

Confirming the North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

This list includes some of the more commonly used North Dakota bankruptcy exemptions. There may be others. In addition, North Dakota periodically updates its exemption amounts and sometimes adds new exemptions. To find the most current laws, visit the North Dakota Century Code section of the North Dakota legislature’s website.  Be forewarned, however, that the exemptions are found in various parts of the code. To save time and ensure you’ve got the correct information, consider consulting with a North Dakota bankruptcy attorney.

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