Colorado Bankruptcy Exemptions

Find out what property Colorado bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

May 3, 2017

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

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

Colorado Requires Debtors to Use State Exemptions

Colorado has enacted legislation “opting out” of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means that bankruptcy filers in Colorado are only permitted to exempt property using the state laws.

Common Colorado Exemptions

Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Colorado law:

Cemeteries and Burial Property

Burial sites, including spaces in mausoleums, are exempt to the extent of one site or space for the debtor and each dependent. Cemetery property that is used or owned by a corporation is exempt. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13–54–102(1)(d) and 7–47–106.

Child or Domestic Support

Child or domestic support. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-54-102(1)(u); 13-54-102.5; 13-54-102(4).

Crime Victims’ Compensation

Crime victims’ compensation is 100% exempt. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13–54–102(1)(q); 24–4.1–114.

Fraternal Benefit Society Benefits

Fraternal benefit society benefits are 100% exempt. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 10–14–122, 403.

Homestead or Residential Property

Under Colorado law, homeowners may exempt up to $75,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. The homestead exemption is $105,000 if the homeowner, his or her spouse, or dependent is disabled or 60 years of age or older. Proceeds from the sale of the exempt homestead are exempt for a year after the sale if the funds are kept separately and if the proceeds are used for a new homestead, and the new homestead is eligible for the same homestead exemption as the property sold. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 38–41–201(1)(a) and (b), 38–41–201.6, 38–41–202, 38–41–207, 38–41–209.

For more details about how the homestead exemption works in Colorado, see The Colorado Homestead Exemption.

Insurance Benefits

Group life insurance policies and proceeds are 100% exempt. A debtor may exempt up to $4,000 per month in benefits from sickness and accident insurance during the debtor’s disability, subject to certain exceptions; lump sum is 100% exempt. Life insurance proceeds are 100% exempt. The cash surrender value of life insurance is exempt up to $100,000 (but not contributions to the policy within four years prior to filing). Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 10–7–205, 10–16–212 and 13–54–102(1)(l).

Motor Vehicles

A debtor may exempt up to $7,500 in one or more motor vehicles. An elderly or disabled debtor, or an elderly or disabled spouse or dependent of the debtor may exempt up to $12,500. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13–54–102(1)(j).

To learn more, visit The Colorado Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.

Partnership Property

Colorado has enacted the Uniform Partnership Act provision, which exempts a partner’s interest in specific partnership property. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 7–60–125.

Pension and Retirement Benefits

Firefighters, police officers, and public employees. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13–54–104 and 24–51–212.

Tax exempt retirement accounts (such as 401ks and IRAs) are exempt as per the federal rules. For current amounts, see Your Retirement Plan in Bankruptcy.

Personal Property

A debtor may exempt the following personal property:

  • up to $3,000 in household goods
  • up to $2,000 in clothing
  • up to $2,500 in jewelry
  • up to $2,000 in books and family pictures
  • professionally prescribed health aids
  • personal injury recoveries (but not those incurred for treatment of your injuries)
  • compensation for damaged property if the underlying property would have been exempt
  • up to $600 in food and fuel, and
  • an aggregate value of $50,000 for livestock and tools.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 13–54–102 and 13–54–103.

Public Assistance

Public assistance is 100% exempt. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 26–2–131.

Earned income tax credit or refund. 13-54-102((1)(o).

Disability benefits to $3,000.

Tools of the Trade

A debtor may exempt up to $30,000 in trade implements if they are used in the debtor's primary occupation and up to $10,000 if they are used in an occupation other than the debtor's primary one. Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 13–54–102(1)(i) and 13–54–102(1)(k).

Professional may exempt a library, to $3,000.

Livestock, animals, machinery, tools, and seed of person engaged in agriculture, to $50,000.

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment compensation is exempt as long it is not commingled with other funds and except for the enforcement of child support orders. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8–80–103.

Veterans’ Benefits

Veterans’ benefits are exempt except for the court-ordered child support of a spouse or children. Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 13–54–102(1)(h) and 13–54–102(2).


A debtor may exempt the greater of 75% of disposable earnings or 30 times the federal or state minimum hourly wage per week. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13–54–104.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation is exempt except for employer reimbursement and court-ordered support. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8–42–124.

Confirming the Status of Colorado Bankruptcy Exemptions

Colorado's exemption amounts are adjusted periodically. To make sure you have the most recent figures, be sure to check for any updates at the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. You'll find Colorado's statutes here.

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