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Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions


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

Oregon Bankrupcty Exemptions Summary

(details below...)

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Also Available
(see below)

Homestead

Real property, mobile home or houseboat you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000 ($50,000 for joint owners); property cannot exceed 1 block in town or city or 160 acres elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt 1 year from sale, if you intend to purchase another home

  (more...)

Auto/Truck (aka Motor Vehicle)

Real property, mobile home or houseboat you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000 ($50,000 for joint owners); property cannot exceed 1 block in town or city or 160 acres elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt 1 year from sale, if you intend to purchase another home

  (more...)

Personal Property

Real property, mobile home or houseboat you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000 ($50,000 for joint owners); property cannot exceed 1 block in town or city or 160 acres elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt 1 year from sale, if you intend to purchase another home

   (more...)

Wild Card

Real property, mobile home or houseboat you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000 ($50,000 for joint owners); property cannot exceed 1 block in town or city or 160 acres elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt 1 year from sale, if you intend to purchase another home

  (more...)

Wage Garnishment Law

Real property, mobile home or houseboat you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000 ($50,000 for joint owners); property cannot exceed 1 block in town or city or 160 acres elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt 1 year from sale, if you intend to purchase another home

  (more...)

More Oregon Exemptions...

[Click here for more info & citations...]

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Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions

Oregon Offers a Choice of Federal or State Exemptions

Oregon 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 Oregon 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 exemptions. 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.

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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Oregon 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.

New Federal Residency Requirement

Under the new 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.) The law is poorly worded but seems to say that if you move from one home to another in the same state, you can claim that state's homestead protection.

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


Oregon Exemptions

  • OR Exemptions
  • Homestead proceeds used for rent count as reinvestment within one year.
    In re Wynn, 369 B.R. 605 (Bankr. D. Or 2007)
  • Prepaid rent and security deposits for renter's dwelling
    In re Casserino, 379 F.3d 1069 (9th Cir. 2004)
  • Real property of a soldier or sailor during time of war
    Or. Rev. Stat. 408.440
  • Real property, mobile home or houseboat you occupy or intend to occupy to $40,000 ($50,000 for joint owners); property cannot exceed 1 block in town or city or 160 acres elsewhere; sale proceeds exempt 1 year from sale, if you intend to purchase another home
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.395 (Main homestead exemption)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.402 (Quantity of land)
  • Tenancy by entirety not exempt, but subject to rights of nondebtor spouse
    In re Pletz, 221 F.3d 1114 (9th Cir 2000)

Federal Exemptions

  • Real property, including co-op or mobile home, or burial plot to $25,150; unused portion of homestead to $12,575 may be applied to any property
    11 U.S.C. 522 (d)(1), (d)(5)

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.

Oregon Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Oregon 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.

Oregon Exemptions

  • Annuity contract benefits to $500 per month
    Or. Rev. Stat. 743.049
  • Fraternal benefit society benefits
    Or. Rev. Stat. 748.207
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.348($7,500 limit on accumulated payments)
  • Group life policy or proceeds not payable to insured
    Or. Rev. Stat. 743.047
  • Health or disability proceeds or avails
    Or. Rev. Stat. 743.050
  • Life insurance proceeds or cash value if you are not the insured
    Or. Rev. Stat. 743.046(Individual life insurance)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 743.047(Group life insurance)

Federal Exemptions

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Miscellaneous other exemptions for Oregon

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

Oregon Exemptions

  • Alimony, child support needed for support
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(i)
  • Liquor licenses
    Or. Rev. Stat. 471.292 (1)
  • Partnership property
    Or. Rev. Stat. 67.190

Federal Exemptions

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Oregon 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).

Federal Exemptions

  • All types of retirement funds and accounts that tax-exempt under IRC section 401, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a) ; IRAs & Roth IRAs limited to $1,362,800 (excluding rollover contributions); limitation can be overidden by judge.
    11 U.S.C. 522 (d)(12)
    11 U.S.C. 522 (n)

Oregon Exemptions

  • ERISA-qualified benefits, including IRAs and SEPs to $7,500
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.358
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.348($7,500 limit on accumulated payments)
  • Public officers, employees pension payments to to $7,500
    Or. Rev. Stat. 237.980
    Or. Rev. Stat. 238.445
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.348 (2)($7,500 limit on accumulated payments)

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Oregon 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.

Oregon Exemptions

  • Bank deposits to $7,500; cash for sold exempt property
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.348($7,500 limit on accumulated payments)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (2)(Cash from sale of exempt property)
  • Books, pictures, & musical instruments to $600 total (husband & wife may double)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(a)
  • Building materials for construction of an improvement
    Or. Rev. Stat. 87.075
  • Burial plot
    Or. Rev. Stat. 65.870
    Or. Rev. Stat. 97.660
  • Clothing, jewelry, & other personal items to $1,800 total (husband & wife may double)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(b)
  • Compensation for lost earnings payments for debtor or someone debtor depended on, to extent needed (husband & wife may double)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(l),(3)
  • Domestic animals, poultry, & pets to $1,000 plus food to last 60 days
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(e)
  • Food & fuel to last 60 days if debtor is householder
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(f)
  • Furniture, household items, utensils, radios, & TVs to $3,000 total
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(f)
  • Health aids
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(h)
  • Higher education savings account to $7,500
    Or. Rev. Stat. 348.863
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.348 (1)
  • Medical or Health Savings Accounts
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (o)
  • Motor vehicle to $3,000 (husband & wife may double)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(d),(3)
  • Personal injury recoveries to $10,000 (husband & wife may double)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(k),(3)
  • Pistol; rifle or shotgun (owned by person over 16) to $1,000
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.362
  • Property of a decedent
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.312

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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Oregon Public Benefits Exemptions

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

Oregon Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Oregon 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.

Oregon Exemptions

Federal Exemptions

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Oregon 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 Oregon Wage Garnishment Exemptions: debtors' unpaid wages can properly be claimed as exempt in bankruptcy under ORS 23.185 (now 18.385) In re Robinson, 241 B.R. 447; 451 (9th Cir. BAP 1999)

Oregon Exemptions

  • 75% of disposable wages or $170 per week, whichever is greater; bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income debtors
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.385
  • Wages withheld in state employee's bond savings accounts
    Or. Rev. Stat. 292.070

Federal Exemptions

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Oregon 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.

Oregon Exemptions

  • $400 of any personal property not already covered by existing exemption (husband & wife may double)
    Or. Rev. Stat. 18.345 (1)(p)

Federal Exemptions

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