Hawaii Bankruptcy Exemptions

The exact details of what types of properties you will be able to exempt as per the Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions can be found out only by discussing your case with a good Hawaii bankruptcy attorney, as there are plenty of factors that are taken into account in order to determine the same. Still, the awareness and knowledge about the basic exemptions applicable in the state of Hawaii is important to make sure your rights and interests are well protected even when you go bankrupt due to your unmanageable debt problems. The state allows you to use federal set of exemptions instead of the state-specified exemptions; it is up to you to decide whether you want to go for the federal exemptions or Hawaii exemptions. In either case, you are eligible to use federal supplemental exemptions.


Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions do not allow you to get anything exempted under the wildcard category.


Prisoner’s wages that are earned but unpaid from the Department of Public Safety are exemptible in full regardless of the time length of the service. In other cases, unpaid wages can be exempted in full only for the past thirty-one days of service. After thirty-one days, you can exempt ninety-five percent of the first $100, ninety percent of the second $100, and eighty percent of the remaining amount.

Tools Of Trade

You can keep any personal property that is essential for livelihood, such as motor vehicle, nets, fishing boat, furnishings, uniforms, instruments, books, implements, and tools.

Public Benefits

100% of Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions are allowed for certain types of public benefits that include workers’ compensation, Unemployment work relief funds (a maximum of $60 every month), and unemployment compensation. Besides that, if you have done some work in workshop or home and are entitled to public assistance benefit from the Department of Health Services, you can also get the same exempted in full.

Personal Property

Some common personal properties that are exemptible in the state of Hawaii include motor vehicles (its wholesale value must not exceed $2575), jewelry and other articles of adornment (maximum limit is $1000), clothing, books, and appliances and furnishings (up to what is “reasonably” needed). Besides that, burial plot of up to 250 sq ft is also safe (including any fencing, monuments, or tombstones on site).


Certain types of pensions are safe as per Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions. 100% exemptions are allowed for the pensions received by Public officers and employees, Police officers, and Firefighters. Besides that, tax exempt retirement accounts and any ERISA-qualified benefits (where the deposits must have been made at least three years prior to filing the petition for bankruptcy) are also exemptible up to $1,095,000 per individual.


In this category, you can get any property that you were using in a business partnership exempted in full.


If you have any health or life insurance policy in your name, where the beneficiary is your child or spouse, the proceeds or avails from that policy are exemptible in full. The same rule applies for endowment policy and annuity contract also. Other types of insurance benefits that are safe include group life insurance policy or proceeds, fraternal benefit society benefits, and disability benefits. Even if the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is not your child or spouse, you may get the same exempted in full provided there is a specific clause in the policy contract that prohibits the use of the policy prohibits to pay off your debts.


If only one spouse owes certain amount of debts, the court may allow you to have 100% exemption for any property held as tenancy. In general, you can exempt up to $20000 of equity in a residential property provided the area of the property must not exceed one acre. For those, who are either over 65 years old or are the head of their family, the maximum limit for homestead Hawaii bankruptcy exemptions is $30000 (but up to one acre only).

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One Response to “Hawaii Bankruptcy Exemptions”

  1. Martin says:

    Residents of state of Hawaii have the option to choose the federal set of exemptions and the state specific exemptions. They can also use federal supplemental exemptions with their set of exemptions. It is better to consult a genuine attorney if you are going to file for bankruptcy under chapter 7. The state authorities give you many rights it’s up to you how much you are aware of these rights. Hawaii state authorities do not have any exemptions under wild card category. Wages that are earned but unpaid are exemptible under different categories with different percentage. Essential property for living can be exempted under the category of tools of trade; you can keep uniforms, books and other tools with you. Personal property is also exemptible like jewellery, motor, vehicle etc. Some specific types of pensions are fully exemptible while other types can be exempted for a certain limit. Property used in business partnership can also get exempted under miscellaneous category. Life insurances policy can also be exempted for a certain limit and if you have a specific clause in your policy that it can not be used for paying off the debts then it can not be used for paying off the debts then it will be fully exempted. You can get some specific exemptions under homestead category but it is always good to do a thorough study of all the rules attached with Bankruptcy.

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