Dollar Amounts Change for California Bankruptcy Exemptions

The California Judicial Council updates the dollar amounts for California's bankruptcy exemptions every three years. The last update went into effect on April 1, 2013. The dollar amounts changed for some, but not all, of the exemptions. Below is a list of those that did change, along with the new dollar amounts.

California System 1

  • Residential building materials to repair or improve home up to $3,050
  • Jewelry, heirlooms and works of art up to $7,625
  • Bank deposits arising out of Social Security payments up to $3,050 for a single payee ($4,575 for husband and wife payees) and unlimited if funds are not commingled; bank deposits from other public benefit payments up to $1,525 ($2,275 for husband and wife as joint payees)
  • Tools, implements, materials, books, uniforms, instruments, one commercial vehicle, equipment, and furnishings up to $7,625 total, or up to $15,250 if used by both spouses in the same occupation.
  • Matured life insurance benefits needed for support of unlimited value, or unmatured life insurance policy up to $12,200
  • Motor vehicles up to $2,900  
  • Trust funds of inmates up to $1,525

California System 2

  • Homestead up to $25,575
  • Motor vehicles up to $5,100
  • Burial plot (instead of homestead) up to $25,575  
  • Clothing, household goods, appliances, furnishings, animals, books, musical instruments and crops up to $650 per item
  • Jewelry up to $1,525
  • Personal injury recoveries up to $25,575
  • Tools, books and implements of trade up to $7,625
  • Unmatured life insurance accrued interest, dividends, loan, cash or surrender value up to $13,675
  • Wildcard up to $1,350 plus any unused amount of burial or homestead exemption in any property (currently $26,925 in total if no homestead exemption is used)  

For a full list of the current exemption amounts in California, see Nolo’s article California Bankruptcy Exemptions.