Updated January 4, 2019
You don't lose everything when you file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy exemptions let you protect property you'll need to maintain a home and employment.
You'll start by comparing your property and assets to Oklahoma's exemption list (see below). If you can't exempt all of your property, the bankruptcy chapter you file will determine what will happen to your nonexempt property.
Below you can learn what property the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions protect, whether you can use the federal exemptions in Oklahoma, what happens to exemptions if you are married and filing jointly, and more. For more tips, see How to File Bankruptcy in Oklahoma.
Some states allow you to choose between the state exemptions and a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions. In Oklahoma, however, you don't have this choice—you must use the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions.
Although you can't use the federal exemptions in Oklahoma, you can use any of the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions in addition to Oklahoma's exemptions. The federal non-bankruptcy exemptions protect property such as federal retirement accounts and veterans' benefits.
Unless otherwise stated, if you're married and filing a joint bankruptcy petition, you can double the amount of the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemption if you both own the property.
Below are some of the most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions. The statute citations are to the Oklahoma Statutes Annotated unless otherwise noted.
In Oklahoma, you can exempt equity in your home or manufactured home if it's your primary residence. The Oklahoma homestead exemption amount is limited by acreage only. You can exempt up to:
Also, 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.
You can find out more by reading 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. Learn more about this exemption in The Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Exemption.
In Oklahoma, you can exempt the following types of personal property. §31-1(A)(1) through (23)
Tax-exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing, and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans). 11 U.S.C. § 522.
IRAS and Roth IRAs up to the current maximum. (This amount is adjusted every three years. For the most recent figure, see Your Retirement Account in Bankruptcy.) 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n); §15-41-30(A)(13)
Erisa-qualified benefits, IRAs, Roth IRAs, Education IRAs & Keoghs. §31-1(A)(20), (24)
County employees §19-959
Disabled veterans §31-7
Law enforcement employees §47-2-303.3
Police officers §11-50-124
Public employees §74-923
Tax-exempt benefits §60-328
Crime victim compensation §21-142.13
Earned income tax credit §31-1(A)(23)
Public assistance §56-173
Social Security. §56-173
Unemployment compensation. §40-2-303
Workers' compensation. §85-48
Implements needed to farmland that is your homestead. Tools, books, and other apparatus for your business or profession, up to $10,000 total. §31-1(A)(5); 31-1(C)
You may exempt 75% of your wages that you 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.
Alimony and child support. §31-1(A)(19)
Beneficiary's interest in a statutory support trust. §6-3010
Liquor license. §37-532
Property of a business partnership. §54-1-504
This list doesn't include all Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions. Others exist. Also, exemption amounts could have changed since the last update.
To find the most current laws, visit Oklahoma Statutes Annotated section 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.