Oklahoma Bankruptcy Exemptions

Find out what property you can keep if you file for bankruptcy in Oklahoma.

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.

  • In Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case sells any nonexempt property for the benefit of your creditors.
  • In Chapter 13, you’ll keep all of your property, but you’ll pay your creditors the value of your nonexempt property through your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

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.

You Can’t Use Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions 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.

Married Couples Can Double Oklahoma Bankruptcy Exemptions

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.

Common Oklahoma Bankruptcy Exemptions

Below are some of the most commonly used bankruptcy exemptions. The statute citations are to the Oklahoma Statutes Annotated unless otherwise noted.

Oklahoma Homestead Exemption

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:

  • one acre if you live in a city, town or village, or
  • up to 160 acres if you live elsewhere.

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.

Oklahoma Motor Vehicle 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.

Personal Property

In Oklahoma, you can exempt the following types of personal property. §31-1(A)(1) through (23)

  • books, portraits, and pictures
  • burial plots (also §8-7)
  • clothing to $4,000
  • college savings plan interest
  • deposits in an Individual Development Account
  • food and seed for growing crops to last one year
  • guns for household use, up to $2,000
  • health aids that are prescribed by a professional
  • household items, furniture, personal computer, and related equipment
  • livestock for family use: five cows, 100 chickens, 20 sheep, 10 hogs, 2 horses (along with bridles and saddles), feed to last one year
  • personal injury and wrongful death recoveries to $50,000
  • prepaid funeral benefits ( §36-6125(H))
  • war bond payroll savings account ( §51-42)
  • wedding and anniversary rings to $3,000

Pensions

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

Firefighters §11-49-126

Judges §20-1111

Law enforcement employees §47-2-303.3

Police officers §11-50-124

Public employees §74-923

Tax-exempt benefits §60-328

Teachers §70-17-109

Public Benefits

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

Tools of the Trade

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)

Wages

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

Life Insurance

The following life and other insurance are exempt.

  • Annuity benefits and cash value. §36-3631.1
  • Assessment of mutual benefits. §36-2410
  • Fraternal benefit society benefits. §36-2718.1
  • Funeral benefits if they are prepaid and placed in a trust. §36-6125
  • Group life policy or proceeds. §36-3632
  • Insurance proceeds and cash value of life, health, accident, and mutual benefit insurance if there is a provision in the contract that prohibits them from being used to pay creditors. §36-3631.1
  • Stock insurance benefits in a limited amount. §36-2510

Other Oklahoma Exemptions

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

Confirming Oklahoma Bankruptcy Exemptions

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.

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