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Washington Bankruptcy Exemptions


Washington Bankrupcty Exemptions Summary

(details below...)

Homestead

Real property, manufactured home, or mobile home to $125,000; unimproved property intended for residence to $15,000 (husband and wife may not double)

  (more...)

Personal Property

Appliances, furniture, household goods, home & yard equipment to $6,500 total for individual ($13,000 for community)
Books & electronic media to $3,500
Burial ground
Clothing, no more than $1,000 in furs, jewelry, ornaments
Food & fuel for comfortable maintenance
Fire insurance proceeds for lost, stolen, or destroyed exempt property
Keepsakes & family pictures
Farmer's trucks, stock, tools, seed, equipment, & supplies to $10,000 total
Library, office furniture, office equipment, & supplies of physician, surgeon, attorney, clergy, or other professional to $10,000 total
Tools & materials used in any other trade to $10,000

   (more...)

Auto/Truck (aka Motor Vehicle)

Motor vehicle to $3,250 total for individual (two vehicles to $6,500 for community)

  (more...)

Wild Card

$3,000 of any personal property (no more than $1,500 in cash, $500 bank deposits, bonds, stocks, & securities/$200 limit if debt owed to state agency)

  (more...)

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Washington Bankruptcy Exemptions

Does Washington Adjust Exemptions for Inflation?

Some states adjust exemption amounts for inflation. Washington does not.

Can I Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Washington?

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Available?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

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Background of state "opt out" laws

Every state has a list of exemptions that protect specific types and amounts of property from collections on judgements within that state.

When bankruptcy law was first modernized 50 years ago, the proposal was to have a federal list of bankruptcy exemptions apply uniformly across all 50 states. Many states objected to this idea, because state collection law had traditionally ruled that issues of collections and "asset protection" were matters of state, not federal law. So a compromise was struck, that allows states to "opt out" of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. 

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal "non-bankruptcy" exemptions are available in every state

You are entitled to use so-called federal "non-bankruptcy" exemptions in addition to your state law exemptions.

Non-bankruptcy exemptions are those exemption provisions of U.S. law that are NOT part of the bankruptcy code section section 522(d).

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,
  • Veterans Benefits

Other so called "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, seamen, and longshoremen.

 

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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Homestead

Washington Homestead Exemption

Washington Homestead Exemption 

Real property, manufactured home, or mobile home to $125,000; unimproved property intended for residence to $15,000 (husband and wife may not double)

Amount Joint amount

125,000

125,000

NOTE: Residency Requirement Caps Maximum Homestead at $160,375 if you've recently moved to a State that allows more than that

Under the 2005 bankruptcy law, you must be have lived in the state for at least 40 months (3 years + 4 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 Washington within in the last two years, click here.

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Homestead Exemptions (available in every State)

These are exemptions under federal law, and not part of the bankruptcy code, so states cannot "opt out" from these exemptions.

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US Bankruptcy Code § 522(d) Homestead Exemption

Can a Washington debtor use the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of Washington exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions under 11 U.S.C. § 522(d) are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while,
  • or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

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.)

Homestead Exemptions in Other States

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TBE

Does Washington Recognize Tenancy by the Entirety?

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Tenancy By The Entirety in Other States

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Insurance

Washington Insurance Exemptions

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Insurance Exemptions (available in all states)

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 Insurance Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Code Exemptions under section 522 are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

Insurance Exemptions in Other States

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Misc

Washington Miscellaneous Exemptions

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US Bankruptcy Code § 522 Miscellaneous Exemptions

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Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if
  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

 

Miscellaneous Exemptions in Other States

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Pensions

Washington Pension Exemptions

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Pension & Retirement Exemptions (available in every state)

Federal Bankruptcy Code § 522(d) Pension & Retirement Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions under 11 U.S.C are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

Pension & Retirement Exemptions in Other States

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Personal Property

Washington Motor Vehicle Exemption & Other Personal Property Exemptions

Washington Motor Vehicle Exemption

Motor vehicle to $3,250 total for individual (two vehicles to $6,500 for community)

Washington Personal Property Exemptions

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Personal Property Exemptions (available in every state)

Federal Bankruptcy Code § 522(d) Personal Property Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

Personal Property Exemptions in Other States

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Public Benefits

Public Benefits Exemptions for Washington

Federal "non-bankruptcy" Public Benefits exemptions (available in all states)

Federal Bankruptcy Code §522(d) Public Benefits Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

Public Benefits Exemptions in Other States

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Tools of Trade

Washington Tools of Trade Exemptions

Washington Tools of Trade Exemptions

Federal non-bankrupcty Tools of Trade Exemptions

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 (d) Tools of Trade Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

Tools of Trade Exemptions in Other States

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Wages

Washington Wage Garnishment

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Law (available in all states)

Federal "non-bankruptcy" law also offers exemption protection for wages.

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 Wage Garnishment Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

Wage Garnishment in Other States

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WildCard

Washington WildCard Exemption

$3,000 of any personal property (no more than $1,500 in cash, $500 bank deposits, bonds, stocks, & securities/$200 limit if debt owed to state agency)

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Federal Bankruptcy Wildcard Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Washington allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.

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WildCard Exemptions in Other States

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