Last Reviewed: Wed, Dec 30, 2020
California Personal Property Exemptions — State System
Personal Property Exemptions Under California Law
Motor vehicles to $3,825, or $3,825 in auto insurance for loss or damages (husband and wife may not double)
California Exemption System 1
California Exemption System 2
Federal Non-Bankruptcy Personal Property Exemptions
(available only if using State System)
Personal Property Exemptions — Federal System § 522(d)
No. Federal exemptions not available. Instead, California has two systems of exemptions, one of which closely mirrors the federal scheme. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.130
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,
- if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.
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How much of your home equity is protected if you file for bankruptcy in California?
Most states allow an exemption for "tools of trade or profession"... this can include tools, books, even vehicles. Sometimes can be an alternative to the motor vehicle exemption.
Almost every state has an exemption for "any property" which is sometimes called the "wildcard" or "grubsteak" exemption. Generally this exemption is useful because it can be combined with other exemptions to fully protect equity that might otherwise go unprotected.