Does California allow you to use federal exemptions?

Can I Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in California?

Federal bankruptcy law has its own list of exemptions 11 U.S.C. § 522, but some states require you to use only the state law exemptions instead, while other states offer a choice of the state or federal exemptions. Find out what California does.
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California Bankruptcy Exemptions 2022
 
Is California Adjusting Its Bankruptcy Exemptions for Inflation in 2022?

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Last Reviewed: Tue, Jan 26, 2021

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Available?

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 

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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. 

Debtors in the following States can use the federal exemptions: 

Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin.

 

Jurisdictional relevance: There are versions of this article for each State.
Selected State: California
California Bankruptcy Exemptions 2022
 
Is California Adjusting Its Bankruptcy Exemptions for Inflation in 2022?
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