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Alaska Bankruptcy Exemptions



Alaska Bankrupcty Exemptions Summary

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Homestead

Principal residence up to $72,900* -- joint owners may each claim a portion, but total can't exceed $72,900
Homestead amount adjusted for inflation every two years. Current as of 10/1/2020. Source: Alaska BK Court.

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Auto/Truck (aka Motor Vehicle)

Up to $4,050 worth of one vehicle, as long as the total value of the vehicle does not exceed $27,000.

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Personal Property

Up to $4,050 worth of total personal property, including: clothing and household goods, books and musical instruments.
Up to $1,350 worth of jewelry.
Up to $3,780 worth of professional books, tools and implements.
Up to $1,350 of pets.
100 percent of health aids, burial plots and certain benefits.

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(Portions reprinted by permission from How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Nolo © 1989-2019 )

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Alaska Bankruptcy Exemptions

Alaska Offers a Choice of Federal or State Exemptions

Alaska law allows you to use the exemptions found in the U.S. bankruptcy code (11 U.S.C. § 522(d)) or the exemptions provided under Alaska law. However, you cannot mix and match exemptions from the federal bankruptcy code and state law. You must choose one system or the other.

However, if you use the state law exemptions, there are a few U.S. 'non-bankruptcy' exemptions (that is, exemptions that exist outside of federal bankruptcy code) that you can use in addition to your state law all_law_table_items. The four most significant non-bankruptcy exemptions are for:

  • Wages (a general cap on what percentage of your wages can be garnished)
  • Social Security benefits
  • Civil Service benefits, and
  • Veterans Benefits

Other non-bankruptcy exemptions mostly deal with various benefits to government and military personnel, with a few odd laws regarding specially regulated labor markets such as railroad workers, merchant sailors, and longshoremen.

NOTE: Federal Exemption amounts listed below reflect the April 1, 2019 adjustment for inflation every three years, and therefore do not match the figures shown in the federal exemption statutes. Click here for the April 1, 2019 inflation adjustments to Federal bankruptcy exemption amounts, published in the Federal Register.

Special Notes regarding Alaska exemptions:

Alaska exemption amounts are no longer are updated in the statutes. Amounts are adjusted periodically by administrative regulations and can be found at 8 Alaska Admin Code tit. 8 95.030 (Amounts are current as of 4/01/2013. See http://www.akb.uscourts.gov/pdfs/exemptions.pdf)

Alaska has not elected to "opt out" of the federal exemptions pursuant to Code 522(b). Instead, Alaska has enacted a provision, AS 09.38.055, which limits the exemptions available to a debtor filing bankruptcy and residing in Alaska to those within the following statutes: AS 09.38.010, 09.38.015, 09.38.017, 09.38.020, 09.38.025 and 09.38.030.

Can you double exemptions for joint filers? (General principles)

If you are married and filing together, you and your spouse must use the same law; one cannot use federal law while the other uses state law. However, the exemption law chosen applies separately to each spouse. Thus, it is generally possible to double the amount of state law exemptions, Cheeseman v. Nachman, 656 F.2d 60 (4th Cir. 1981) (married couple filing a joint petition was entitled to double the Virginia homestead exemption), unless state law (e.g. California) specifically prohibits a couple from doubling certain exemptions. See First National Bank v. Norris, 701 F.2d 902 (11th Cir. 1984)(Alabama); Granger v. Watson, 754 F.2d 1490 (9th Cir. 1985)(California).

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Citations and links to primary law and secondary sources are provided for those who wish to do further research. Every effort has been made to make this information up to date and accurate, but laws can and do change without notice. Persons relying on this information are responsible for confirming its timeliness and accuracy before relying on it. (This information was updated for April 2019.)

Also bear in mind that these brief summaries do not list every detail or exception to these exemptions. For example, there are often exceptions for collection of child support debt and/or taxes. These listings are designed to inform you of laws that exist for your benefit, so that you may exercise what rights you may have.

Finally, this website is intended to provide information only. It cannot answer whether your property does or does not qualify for a specific exemption.

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Alaska Homestead Exemption

Almost every state provides protection for equity in the family home, and many states have increased the amount of protection in recent years. Seven states offer unlimited protection. Most states are not as generous.

Federal Law Residency Requirement

Under the 2005 bankruptcy law, you must be have lived in the state for at least 40 months (three years and four months) before you can claim any homestead protection greater than $160,375. (If your state's exemption offers less than this amount, the law is irrelevant to you.) .

IF you are moving to another state, OR you moved to Alaska within in the last two years, click here.


Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions


Home Valuation tool

Just add your street address to get an estimate of the value of your house, and all others in your neighborhood. (Note: Does not serve all areas, and valuations are imperfect estimates only.)

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Tenancy by Entirety Exemption

Tenancy by the Entirety (TBE) is a form of property ownership, based on traditional English common law, that is still recognized in about 1/2 of states and the most common form of martial property ownership in many of them.

It protects property that is jointly owned by a married couple as an "entirety" -- which is to say, as a single marital entity, not as individuals.

Tenancy by the Entirety (TBE) was originally conceived as a debt shield -- a way of protecting wives and children from being left homeless and penniless as a result of the debts of a husband. Under the English common law TBE doctrine, a husband could not sell property owned by "the entirety", or give it away, or pledge it as security for a loan without the consent of his wife.

Today, 25 states still recognize some form of tenancy by the entirety, but they differ on the extent to which the property is exempt.

Special notes about Alaska Tenancy by the Entirety Exemptions: Alaska recognizes Tenancy by the entirety, but there is no reported law regarding its use as an exemption

Alaska Exemptions

  • Tenancy by the entirety is recognized but such interests are not exempt, under the state law and consequently the right of survivorship is not exempt under the Bankruptcy Code pursuant to Code 522(b)(2)(B).
    Alaska Stat. § 34.15.140
  • Tenancy by the entirety statutorily recognized for real estate, though rare. Exemption status unknown. No law found.
    Alaska Stat. § 34.15.140 (Statutorily recognized. Nothing more.)

Federal Exemptions

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Alaska Insurance exemptions

Virtually all states protect life insurance proceeds in some manner or another. Some restrict it to proceeds paid to a dependent. Many states also protect the cash-value or loan-value of insurance policies.

If a substantial amount of your assets are in life insurance, you may want to consult a professional to determine the extent to which those policies are exempt.

Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Miscellaneous other exemptions for Alaska

This category covers items like partnership property, alimony & support payments.

Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Alaska Pensions & Retirement Savings Exemptions

The new federal bankruptcy law now automatically exempts a virtually all tax-exempt pensions and retirement savings accounts from bankruptcy, even if you are using state law all_law_table_items. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C). (See Help Topic: Special Rules For Retirement Accounts.)

The law protects up to $1,283,025 of any pension or retirement fund that qualifies forspecial tax treatment under Internal Revenue Code sections 401,402, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a).

Federal Exemptions

Alaska Exemptions

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Alaska Personal Property Exemptions

This category covers your car, your non-retirement bank accounts, and most of your other personal possessions, other than your house.

States vary widely on how generous they are in this area. Some exemptions may be for any combination of property up to an aggregate amount. Other exemptions apply only to specific items, such as jewelry.

Remember that an exemption will not protect your car from being repossessed by the holder of the car loan you used to purchase the vehicle if you pledged the vehicle as security for the loan. To keep the car, you will have to pursue other options such as 'redemption' or 'reaffirmation.' See the help topics and How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for more on this.

Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

Auto Valuation Tools:

Both of these websites offer interactive tools to determine the current value of your used car.

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Alaska Public Benefits Exemptions

Most states exempt public benefits, consistent with the notion that such benefits are intended as a safety net for the recipient.

Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Alaska Tools of Trade Exemptions

These are the things you use to make a living. An automobile or truck can be a tool of trade if you use it as such. Commuting to work doesn't count, but if driving is a necessary component of transacting your business, you can claim your vehicle is a tool of trade.

Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Alaska Wage Garnishment Laws

Most states have a wage garnishment law. In some states, wage garnishment laws can be used in bankruptcy as an exemption to protect income that you had coming due, but not yet received, as of the day you filed, for work you had already done -- so called "earned but unpaid wages".

In some states, the wage garnishment law protects not only wages owed to you, but also wages already in your possession and saved over time preferably holding it in a separate bank account. In other states wage garnishment laws do not protect wages once they are they are in your possession.

Special notes about Alaska Wage Garnishment Exemptions: Alaska's "earnings" exemption 09.38.030 includes not just wages but income from all sources including alimony, proceeds from insurance, benefits and other sources, so the dollar amount cap applies to all sources of income combined, except sources that are completely exempt under 09.38.015 and 09.38.017.

Alaska Exemptions

  • Weekly net earnings to $473; for sole wage earner in a household, $716; if you don't receive weekly or semi-monthly pay, can claim $1,890 in cash or liquid assets paid any month; for sole wage earner in household, $2,970
    Alaska Stat. § 09.38.030 (a),(b)
    Alaska Stat. § 09.38.050 (b)
    Alaska Admin. Code tit. 8, § 95.030 (d),(e)(inflation adjusted exemption amounts.)

Federal Exemptions

  • Minimum 75% of disposable weekly earnings or 30 times the federal hourly wage, whichever is more; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors. NOTE: Declared not a bankruptcy exemption by numerous Federal courts
    15 U.S.C. § 1673
  • None
    11 U.S.C. § 522 (d)

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Alaska Wild Card Exemption

Most, but not all, states allow a so-called "wild-card" exemption that can apply to any property. The wild card exemption can be of particular help if one or more of your other exemptions falls short of protecting your equity. You may split your wild card exemption amount over multiple items and stack it atop other exemptions as needed to protect exposed equity.

Alaska Exemptions

Federal Exemptions


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