The Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy

With Oklahoma's motor vehicle exemption, you can protect $7,500 in car equity and $15,000 if you are married.

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If you file for bankruptcy in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma motor vehicle exemption can help you keep your car, truck, van, or other vehicle. With this exemption, you can protect $7,500 of vehicle equity, and $15,000 if you are married. Plus you may be able to use Oklahoma's wildcard or tools of the trade exemptions to protect even more car equity.

Read on to learn more about the Oklahoma motor vehicle, wildcard, and tools of the trade exemptions. 

(For more information about exemptions, including how they work and which ones you can use, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area. For information specific to the motor vehicle exemption, see our Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy area.)

The Motor Vehicle Exemption and Your Car

Oklahoma’s motor vehicle exemption plays a large role in determining whether or not the bankruptcy trustee can take your vehicle to repay your unsecured creditors.  If the equity in your car is less than Oklahoma’s car exemption, then the trustee cannot sell it. If the equity in your car is significantly more than the applicable exemption amount, the trustee is likely to sell your car to repay your unsecured creditors. For details, see The Motor Vehicle Exemption: Can You Keep Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? 

Keep in mind that even if your car is safe from the bankruptcy trustee, the lender may be able to repossess your car during or after bankruptcy. To learn more, see Your Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and If You Are Behind on Your Car Payments, Can Chapter 7 Help?

The Amount of Oklahoma's Motor Vehicle Exemption

In Oklahoma, you can exempt up to $7,500 in equity in your car or other vehicle.

Example. Will owns a 2008 Dodge Durango worth $19,000. He owes the dealer $14,000 on the loan, so there is $5,000 of equity in his truck. Will can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and fully protect his truck using the Oklahoma motor vehicle exemption.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Exemption

Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of state exemptions, but Oklahoma is not one of these states.

Can Married Couples Double Oklahoma's Motor Vehicle Exemption?

Some states allow married couples filing a joint bankruptcy petition to double the listed exemption amounts. Married couples can double the Oklahoma motor vehicle exemption and protect up to $15,000 of equity.

What Vehicles Are Covered by the Motor Vehicle Exemption?

You can use the Oklahoma motor vehicle exemption to protect one motor vehicle, such as a car, truck, van, or motorcycle.

Oklahoma's Tools of the Trade Exemption

Oklahoma has a tools of the trade exemption that allows you to protect up to $10,000 of equity in property that you or your dependents use in your trade or profession. If you use your vehicle to carry on your profession, for example, a tow truck, you may be able to protect additional value using this exemption. Note that using your vehicle to commute to and from work generally does not qualify the vehicle as a tool of the trade.

Checking Oklahoma's Exemption Laws

You can find Oklahoma’s motor vehicle exemption at 31 Okla. Stat. Ann. Section 1(A)(13).

You can find the Oklahoma statutes on the website of the Oklahoma Legislature at www.oklegislature.gov. To learn how to find state statutes, see Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.

by: , Attorney

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