March 28, 2017
If you file for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy in Louisiana, you can protect property with Louisiana’s bankruptcy exemptions. Read on to learn about the property covered by Louisiana’s bankruptcy exemptions.
For a general overview of bankruptcy exemptions, how they work, and which ones you can use, visit the Bankruptcy Exemption topic page.
Louisiana is an “opt out” state, meaning you are not permitted to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions when you file in Louisiana. Bankruptcy filers can only exempt property using the Louisiana state exemptions.
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Louisiana can double the exemption amounts because each spouse can claim the full exemption amount for any property the spouse owns. For example, if both spouses own household goods and they file jointly, they can double the personal property exemptions (everything other than real estate) in order to protect the property’s value.
Here are some of the most common exemptions available under Louisiana law (you might be able to claim additional exemptions not listed). Unless otherwise noted, all references are to the Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated.
Up to $35,000 in equity in the home in which you live and the land on which it sits. The Louisiana homestead exemption is limited to five acres if it’s located in a town or city or up to 200 acres outside of the metro area. For obligations arising as a direct result of a catastrophic or terminal illness or injury, you may exempt the full value of the home. Spouses cannot double the Louisiana homestead exemption. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 20:1
For more details, see The Louisiana Homestead Exemption.
You can protect some life insurance benefits, including the insurance proceeds for exempt property damaged by a natural disaster, fraternal benefit society benefits, and accident and health insurance proceeds. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 13:3881, 22:558, 22:564, 22:646, 22:647.
To $7,500 of equity in one motor vehicle used by you and your family. You may also exempt up to $7,500 of equity in one motor vehicle which is modified or fitted to assist you or a family member with a physical disability. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3881(A)(7), (8)
To learn more, see The Louisiana Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.
The household goods and furnishings, appliances, clothing, family portraits, arms and military accouterments, musical instruments, poultry, fowl, one cow, dogs, cats, other household pets, and wedding or engagement rings up to $5,000 in value. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3881
The money you receive from the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit is exempt. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3881
You can also protect your guns and ammunition up to a value of $2,500.
All qualified pensions, tax-deferred arrangements, annuity contracts, and proceeds of and payments under tax-deferred arrangements and annuity contracts. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3881
75% of disposable earnings or 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3881
Tools, instruments, books, and one utility trailer. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13:3881
Louisiana’s exemption amounts are adjusted periodically. To make sure you have the most recent figures, be sure to check for any updates at the website of the Louisiana Legislature at www.legis.state.la.us.
To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Louisiana, see Louisiana Bankruptcy Information.