Idaho Bankruptcy Exemptions

The Idaho bankruptcy exemptions help you protect property in bankruptcy.

April 11, 2017

If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho, you can protect some or all of your property using Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions. The bankruptcy exemptions in Idaho also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy; they help determine the amount you'll pay to your creditors in your three- to five-year repayment plan. Read on to learn about property covered by Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions.

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

Idaho Doesn't Allow Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Idaho is an "opt-out" state that allows debtors to only use the Idaho state bankruptcy exemptions. The federal bankruptcy exemptions aren't available. However, Idaho debtors can use federal non-bankruptcy exemptions, which protect property such as federal and veteran’s retirement and death benefits. (See a list of the most common federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.)

Married Couples Can Double Most Idaho Exemptions

Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Idaho can “double” most exemption amounts (you can't double the homestead exemption). Doubling allows each spouse to claim the full exemption amount for any property in which they both hold an ownership interest. For instance, if both spouses own a vehicle and they file jointly, they can double the exemption amount listed below and protect twice the equity.

Common Idaho Exemptions

Here are some common exemptions available under Idaho law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Idaho Code which can be found on the Idaho Legislature website.

Homestead or Residential Property

The homestead exemption protects a certain amount of equity in your home or principal residence. You can exempt up to $100,000 in your home or mobile home. You and your spouse cannot double the homestead exemption. The exemption amount covers sales proceeds and insurance proceeds from the destruction of your home (conditions apply). §§ 55-1001, 55-1002, 55-1003, § 55-1008, 55-1113.

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

Property Exempt Without Limitation

You can exempt an unlimited amount of the following property pursuant to § 11-603:

  • Burial plot
  • Health aids that allow you or a family member to work and maintain your health.
  • Public assistance and unemployment compensation.

Property Exempt to the Extent Reasonably Necessary for Support

You may exempt the following property as long as it is reasonably necessary for your support (conditions might apply):

  • Insurance benefits §§ 41-1833(1); 41-1930
  • Group life insurance benefits Idaho Code § 41-1835
  • Life insurance proceeds § 41-1930.

The following property is also exempt up to an unlimited value, as long as it is reasonably necessary for your support. However, it will lose its exempt status if the funds are commingled with any other funds.

  • Proceeds received as the result of bodily injury or wrongful death of a person upon whom you are dependent § 11-604(1)(c)
  • Disability benefits § 41-1834
  • Alimony or support payments § 11-604(1)(b)

Personal Property

Idaho law allows you to protect the following personal property:

  • up to $7,500 of household appliances and furnishings, pets, instruments, heirlooms, and items of sentimental value, up to $750 of value per item §§ 11-605(1)(a),(b),(c)
  • crops cultivated on up to 50 acres and water rights for 160 inches of water § 11-605(7)
  • up to $1,000 of jewelry § 11-605(2)
  • a firearm, up to $750 in value § 11-605(8)

    Motor Vehicles

    Idaho law allows you to protect up to $7,000 of value in your motor vehicle. § 11-605(3).

    Example. If your vehicle is worth $10,000, and you owe $5,000 on the loan, you have $5,000 worth of equity in your vehicle. You can use Idaho’s motor vehicle exemption to protect the entire value of your car.

    To learn more about how to exempt your motor vehicle under Idaho law, see The Idaho Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.

    Pension and Retirement Benefits

    ERISA-qualified benefits §§ 50-1011; 11-604A

    Public employees’ retirement benefits §§ 59-1317; 59-1325

    Firefighter's fund retirement benefits § 72-1422

    Employee plan benefits §§ 11-604(1); 11-604A; 41-1834

    Wildcard Exemption

    Idaho’s wildcard exemption allows you to protect up to $800 of any personal property you own. § 11-605(10). (Learn more in The Idaho Wildcard Exemption in Bankruptcy.)

    Tools of the Trade

    You can protect up to $2,500 of tools used for your trade or business. § 11-605(2)

    Confirming the Status of Idaho’s Bankruptcy Exemptions

    Idaho’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 Idaho Legislature (link provided above) or contact a local bankruptcy attorney.

    For more information, see Filing for Bankruptcy in Idaho.

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