Arizona 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.) .
- AZ Exemptions
- May record homestead declaration to clarify which one of multiple eligible parcels is being claimed as homestead
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1102
- Real property, an apartment, or mobile home you occupy to $150,000; sale proceeds exempt 18 months after sale or until new home purchased, whichever occurs first (husband & wife may not double)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1101 (A)
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.)
Arizona 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.
- Annuity contract if beneficiary is dependent & owned at least two years
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (A)(7)
- Fraternal benefit society benefits
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 20-877
- Group life insurance policy or proceeds
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 20-1132
- Health, accident, or disability benefits
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (A)(4)
- Life insurance cash value if beneficiary is dependent & owned at least two years
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (A)(6)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 20-1131 (D)
- Life insurance or annuity proceeds to $20,000 if beneficiary is spouse or child
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (A)(1)
Miscellaneous other exemptions for Arizona
Arizona 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 exemptions. 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).
- Board of regents members, faculty and administrative officers under board's jurisdiction
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-1628 (I)
- District employees
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 48-227
- ERISA-qualified benefits deposited over 120 days before filing
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (B)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 9-968
- IRAs, Roth IRAs deposited over 120 days before filing
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (B) (IRAs & Roth Iras)
- Police officers
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 9-931
- Public Safety Personnel Retirement System benefits, contributions, interest & credits
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 38-850 (C)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-955
- State employees retirement and disability
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 38-792
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 38-797.11
Arizona Personal Property Exemptions
Special notes about Arizona Personal Property Exemptions: married joint filers may double all personal property amounts
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.
- Bank deposit to $300 in one account
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (A)(9)
- Bible; bicycle; sewing machine; typewriter; computer, burial plot; rifle, pistol, or shotgun to $1000 total
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1125
- Books to $250; clothing to $500; wedding & engagement rings to $2,000; watch to $150; pets, horses, milk cows, & poultry to $800; musical instruments to $400
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1125
- Equity in one motor vehicle to $6,000 ($12,000, if debtor is physically disabled)
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1125 (8)
- Food & fuel to last 6 months
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1124
- Funeral deposits to $5,000
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 32-1391.05 (4)
- Health aids
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1125 (9)
- Household furniture and furnishings, household goods, including consumer electronic devices, and household appliances personally used by the debtor or a dependent of the debtor and not otherwise specifically prescribed in this chapter are exempt from process provided their aggregate fair market value does not exceed $6,000.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1123
- Prepaid rent or security deposit to $2,000 or 1-1/2 times your rent, whichever is less, in lieu of homestead
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (C)
- Proceeds for sold or damaged exempt property
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1126 (A)(5),(8)
- Wrongful death awards
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-592
Auto Valuation Tools:
Both of these websites offer interactive tools to determine the current value of your used car.
Arizona Public Benefits Exemptions
Most states exempt public benefits, consistent with the notion that such benefits are intended as a safety net for the recipient.
Arizona 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.
Special notes about Arizona Tools of Trade Exemptions: married joint filiers may double amounts
- Arms, uniforms, & accoutrements of profession or office required by law
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1130 (3)
- Farm machinery, utensils, seed, instruments of husbandry, feed, grain, & animals to $2,500 total, if debtor's income is primarily from farming.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1130 (2)
- Library & teaching aids of teacher
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1127
- Tools, equipment, instruments, & books, comtact lists, websites, domain names, marketing material or any other intangibe work-product in debtor's posession to $5,000
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1130 (1)
Arizona 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.
- 75% of earned but unpaid weekly net earnings or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage; 50% of wages for support orders; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1131
Arizona 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.