Updated May 20, 2015
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions can help you keep some or all of your property. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions protect, whether you can use the federal exemptions in Oklahoma, what happens to exemptions if you are married and filing jointly, and more.
Some states allow you to choose between using the state exemptions and a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions. In Oklahoma, however, you do not have this choice; you must use the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions.
Although you can’t use the federal exemptions in Oklahoma, 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.
Unless otherwise stated, if you are married and filing a joint bankruptcy petition, you can double the amount of the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemption if you both own the property. If only one spouse owns the property, then you cannot double the amount.
Below are some of the most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions. The statute citations, unless otherwise noted, are to the Oklahoma Statutes Annotated, in the form “title number-section number.”
In Oklahoma, you can exempt equity in your home or manufactured home if it’s your primary residence. The Oklahoma homestead exemption amount is unlimited – you can exempt the full value of your home. However, there are limitations as to the acreage of your property.
Also, if you use more than 25% of the total square footage of your property for business purposes, your exemption is limited to $5,000. You can, however, rent your property and still claim the full exemption amount, as long as you don’t live in another residence. (Learn more in The Oklahoma Homestead Exemption.)
In Oklahoma, you can exempt the following types of personal property. §31-1(A)(1) through (23)
In Oklahoma, you can exempt up to $7,500 of equity in a car, van, motorcycle, truck, SUV, or other motor vehicle. (To learn more, see The Oklahoma 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 IRAs, Education IRAs & Keoghs. §31-1(A)(20), (24)
County employees §19-959
Disabled veterans §31-7
Law enforcement employees §47-2-303.3
Police officers §11-50-124
Public employees §74-923
Tax-exempt benefits §60-328
Crime victim compensation §21-142.13
Earned income tax credit §31-1(A)(23)
Public assistance §56-173
Social Security. §56-173
Unemployment compensation. §40-2-303
Workers' compensation. §85-48
Implements needed to farm land that is your homestead. Tools, books, and other apparatus for your business or profession, up to $10,000 total. §31-1(A)(5); 31-1(C)
You may exempt 75% of your wages that you earned in the 90 days before your bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy judge may allow you to keep more if you can demonstrate hardship. §12-1171.1; §31-1(A)(18); §31-1.1
The following life and other insurance are exempt.
Alimony and child support. §31-1(A)(19)
Beneficiary’s interest in a statutory support trust. §6-3010
Liquor license. §37-532
Property of a business partnership. §54-1-504
This list includes some of the more commonly used Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions. There may be others. In addition, Oklahoma periodically updates its exemption amounts and sometimes adds new exemptions. To find the most current laws, visit Oklahoma Statutes Annotated section of the Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma bankruptcy attorney.