Arkansas Bankruptcy Exemptions

The Arkansas bankruptcy exemptions allow you to protect certain property when you file for bankruptcy.

April 11, 2017

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arkansas, you can protect some or all of your property with Arkansas’ bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Arkansas also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about the property you can protect with Arkansas’ bankruptcy exemptions.

For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, see Bankruptcy Exemptions.

Arkansas Allows Debtors to Choose Between State and Federal Exemptions

Arkansas is one of the states that allow debtors to choose between the Arkansas exemptions and the federal bankruptcy exemptions. You'll want to review both sets of exemptions and pick those that better protect your assets.

Married Couples Can Double Some Arkansas Exemptions

Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Arkansas can double the exemption amounts (except for the homestead exemption). Doubling allows each spouse to claim the full exemption amount for any property in which the spouse has an ownership interest. For instance, if both spouses own an item and they file jointly, they can double the amount of the applicable exemption to otherwise protect twice that item’s value.

Common Arkansas Exemptions

Here are some of the more common exemptions available under Arkansas law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Arkansas Code Annotated or the Arkansas Constitution.

Homestead or Residential Property

The homestead exemption protects equity in real property that you use as your residence. In Arkansas, you can keep an unlimited amount of equity in 80 rural acres or one quarter urban acre. If the land isn’t worth $2,500, you can increase the acreage up to 160 rural acres and one urban acre, up to a total equity value of $2,500 in value. Widows and surviving minor children can protect 100% of the property value. (Ark. Const. Art. 9 §§ 3, 4, 5, 6; Ark. Code Ann. §§ 16-66-210, 212, 218.)

Personal Property

You'll be allowed to keep all of your clothing. A single person who is not the head of the family can keep $200 worth of any other type of property. The amount increases up to $500 for a married person or head of the family. (Ark. Const. Art. 9 §§ 1 and 2, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-218.)

Additional Exemptions

You'll likely be able to claim additional exemptions, as well, including:

  • Motor vehicle $1,200 (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-218.)
  • Tools needed in your trade $750 (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-218.)
  • Wedding bands (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 16-66-218, 219.)
  • Pension or retirement account $20,000 (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-220.)
  • Life, health, and disability insurance payments (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-66-209.)

Consult With a Local Bankruptcy Attorney

You might be able to protect additional property. You should consult with a bankruptcy lawyer who is familiar with the local practice in your area.

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