Like all states, Oklahoma has a set of exemptions you can use to protect some property when filing for bankruptcy, such as a home, car, and retirement account. In this article, you'll learn:
If you have more questions, read How to File Bankruptcy in Oklahoma. Not only will you find answers, but it includes helpful checklists and a link to an interactive bankruptcy quiz. Or, try the start-to-finish bankruptcy guide, What You Need to Know to File for Bankruptcy.
You can protect property covered by an exemption regardless of whether you file for Chapter 7 or 13. But each chapter treats nonexempt property—things not covered by an exemption—differently.
You can file for bankruptcy in Oklahoma after living there for over 180 days (or the greater portion of 180 days before filing). But before using Oklahoma's exemptions, you need to live in Oklahoma for 730 days before filing for bankruptcy. Otherwise, you'd use the previous state's exemptions.
For example, suppose you weren't living in any one state during the two years before filing for bankruptcy. In that case, you'd use the exemptions of the state you lived in for most of the 180 days before the two-year period that immediately preceded your filing. (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(A).)
Use the list below to determine whether you can protect property important to you. Although the federal bankruptcy exemptions aren't available in Oklahoma, keep in mind that spouses who share an ownership interest in property can double the corresponding exemption. Also, all filers are entitled to:
Oklahoma has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country. You can exempt an unlimited amount of equity in your home, manufactured home if it's your primary residence, or other property covered by the homestead exemption as long as the property isn't larger than half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere.
Because Oklahoma's homestead exemption is so generous, you must have owned the property for at least 1,215 days before the bankruptcy filing. Otherwise, your homestead exemption is limited by federal law. Find out how this requirement prevents debtors from "shopping" for the most favorable homestead exemptions and the current amount of the federal cap.
Finally, watch for another tricky rule. If you use more than 25% of the total square footage of your property for business purposes, your exemption is limited to $5,000. You can, however, rent your property and still claim the full exemption amount, as long as you don't live in another residence.
Learn more about the Oklahoma homestead exemption.
In Oklahoma, you can exempt up to $7,500 of equity in a car, van, motorcycle, truck, SUV, or another motor vehicle.
In Oklahoma, you can exempt the following types of personal property. §31-1(A)(1) through (23)
You can protect up to $10,000 in implements needed for any farmland part of your homestead, as well as tools, books, and other apparatus needed for your business or profession. (§31-1(A)(5); 31-1(C).)
You can exempt 75% of wages earned in the 90 days before your bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy judge may allow you to keep more if you can demonstrate hardship. §12-1171.1; §31-1(A)(18); §31-1.1
The following life and other insurance are exempt.
Above are some of the most commonly used exemptions in Oklahoma. Other exemptions could apply to your situation, or the amounts could have changed since the last update.
To find the most current laws, search the Oklahoma Statutes Annotated on the Oklahoma legislature's website. Because ensuring that you've found the correct information can be challenging, consider consulting with an Oklahoma bankruptcy attorney.
This overview cannot provide all of the information you'll need to file a bankruptcy case. For more detailed information, consider buying a self-help book such as How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O'Neill and Albin Renauer J.D.
Updated July 7, 2021