California Bankruptcy Exemption Increases (Effective April 1, 2016)

Effective April 1, 2016, certain California exemption figures used in bankruptcy have changed.

Bankruptcy exemptions allow a debtor to protect property needed to work and live in a bankruptcy proceeding. Some of the exemptions outlined in California law increased effective April 1, 2016, and filers will want to use the new figures to ensure maximum property protection.

California has two exemption schemes. Below are the changes for each set.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 703.140(b):

  • Homestead—$26,800. (CCP § 703.140(b)(1).)
  • Motor vehicle—$5,350. (CCP § 703.140(b)(2).)
  • Household goods and furnishings—$675 per item. (CCP § 703.140(b)(3).)
  • Jewelry—$1,600. (CCP § 703.140(b)(4).)
  • Wildcard—$1,425 in addition to any unused portion of the homestead exemption. (CCP § 703.140(b)(5).)
  • Tools of the trade—$8,000. (CCP § 703.140(b)(6).)
  • Unmatured life insurance—$14,325. (CCP § 703.140(b)(8).)
  • Personal injury—$26,800. (CCP § 703.140(b)(11)(D).)

California Code of Civil Procedure § 704:

  • Motor vehicle—$3,050. (CCP § 704.010.)
  • Residential building materials—$3,200. (CCP § 704.030.)
  • Jewelry—$8,000. (CCP § 704.040.)
  • Tools of the trade—$8,000; increases to $15,975 if both filing spouses own the business. (CCP § 704.060.)
  • Public benefits—$1,600; increases to $2,375 for joint payees (unlimited if not commingled with other funds). (CCP § 704.080.)
  • Social Security—$3,200; increases to $4,800 for joint payees (unlimited if not commingled with other funds). (CCP § 704.080.)
  • Inmate trust account—$1,600. (CCP § 704.090.)
  • Unmatured life insurance—$12,800. (CCP § 704.100.)

For more information, see California Bankruptcy Exemptions.

It's prudent to verify all bankruptcy exemption amounts independently or by consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney. These figures are expected to change on April 1, 2019.

Effective date: Apr 01, 2016