If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Oregon, you can protect some or all of your property with Oregon’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Oregon also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about what property is covered by Oregon’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
Oregon Residents May Use the Federal Exemptions
On July 1, 2013 the Oregon governor signed legislation which allows Oregon residents filing for bankruptcy to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the Oregon exemptions. The change became effective that day. If you are filing for bankruptcy in Oregon you can choose to use either the Oregon exemptions or the federal exemptions -- you cannot mix and match.
Doubling for Married Couples
If a couple is married and filing jointly in Oregon, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”
Common Oregon Exemptions
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Oregon law:
Alimony, Support and Separate Maintenance
Alimony, support, and maintenance are exempt to the extent they are reasonably necessary for support. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.345.
Up to $7,500 of wages deposited into a bank account. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.348.
Building materials are exempt except for debts due for the purchase of said building materials. Or. Rev. Stat. § 87.075.
Cemeteries and Burial Property
Burial lots and lands of cemetery or crematory organizations are 100% exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 65.870, 65.855.
Claims for Negligence or Tortious Conduct
Personal bodily injury claims are exempt up to $10,000. Debtor may also exempt compensation for loss of future earnings if it is reasonably necessary for support. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.345(1)(j).
Crime Victims’ Compensation
All crime victims’ compensation is 100% exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.345, 147.325.
Fraternal Benefit Society Benefits
All fraternal benefit society benefits are 100% exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. § 748.207.
Health Savings Accounts and Medical Savings Accounts
Funds in, or distributions from a health savings or medical savings account are exempt. This change became effective July 1, 2013. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.345(1)(o).
Homestead or Residential Property
A debtor may exempt up to $40,000 of the equity in a home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. A homestead outside a town or city cannot exceed 160 acres, and a homestead inside a town or city limits cannot exceed one block.
A debtor may also use the homestead exemption to protect proceeds from the sale of the homestead (for up to one year) as long as the debtor is holding the money with the intent to purchase another homestead, pay rent for up to one year, or use it for prepaid rent or security deposits for renters’ dwellings or property belonging to military personnel during wartime.
If two debtors are members of a household, the combined homestead exemptions may not exceed $50,000. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 18.385, 13.395, 18.402, 18.428.
For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Oregon, see The Oregon Homestead Exemption.
Group life policy or proceeds not payable to insured; fraternal benefit society payments to $7,500; health or disability proceeds;llife insurance proceeds or cash value if you are not the insured; annuity contract benefits to $500 per month. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 743.046, 743.0474, 743.049, 743.050.
A debtor may exempt up to $3,000 in any motor vehicle. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 18.345(1)(d), 806.115.
To learn more, visit The Oregon Motor Vehicle Exemption.
Pension and Retirement Benefits
Tax-exempt retirement accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs. See Your Retirement Plan in Bankruptcy for details.
Permits and License Interests
Liquor licenses are 100% exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. § 471.292.
A debtor may exempt the following personal property:
- up to $3,000 in household goods (no doubling)
- up to $1,800 in wearing apparel, jewelry, and other items
- up to $1,000 in animals, poultry, and a 60-day supply of animal feed (no doubling)
- a 60-day supply of fuel and provisions for debtor’s family
- all health aids
- up to $600 in books, pictures, and musical instruments
- health savings accounts and medical savings accounts
- one rifle or shotgun and one pistol, the combined value of which cannot exceed $1,000, and
- up to $7,500 in a qualified tuition savings program.
Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 18.345, 18.362, 348.863.
Injured prison inmates’ benefits are exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. § 655.530.
Up to $7,500 of the following: general assistance, aid to the blind, aid to the disabled, injured inmate's benefits, medical assistance, old-age assistance, vocational rehabilitation. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 344.580, 411.760, 414.095.
Earned income tax credit. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 18.345(1)(n)
Tools of the Trade
A debtor may exempt up to $5,000 in tools of the trade. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.345(1)(c).
Up to $7,500. Or. Rev. Stat. § 657.855; 18.348.
All veterans’ loan program funds are 100% exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. § 407.595.
Disposable earnings are 75% exempt, subject to certain exceptions. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.385. (To learn more, see Oregon Wage Garnishment Laws.)
Wages withheld in an Employees’ Bond Savings Account are 100% exempt. Or. Rev. Stat. § 2962.070. In re Robinson, 241 B.R. 447 (9th Cir. BAP 1999)
Up to $400 of any personal property not already covered by an existing exemption. Or. Rev. Stat. § 18/345(1)(p).
Up to $7,500. Or. Rev. Stat. § 656.234; 18.348
Confirming the Status of Oregon’s Bankruptcy Exemptions
Oregon’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 Oregon State Legislature at www.leg.state.or.us/ors.
For additional information on how to research and find the latest exemption amounts, see our Legal Research Center.