Washington Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal bankruptcy exemptions can be used in Washington if you do not want to avail the Washington bankruptcy exemptions. However, federal supplemental exemptions can be used in conjunction with only state-specific exemptions. Therefore, you must first do a thorough comparison before making a final decision regarding this.


Most, but not state, allow this type of exemption. Luckily, Washington bankruptcy exemptions area available in this category; the maximum limit is $2000 in any property but it is also important to note that if you are exempting securities, stocks, bonds, bank deposits, and cash in this category, you will not be able to exempt more than $200 (the remaining $1800 can be used to exempt other properties).

Wage Garnishment

Not all of your wages are garnished when you go bankrupt under chapter 7 in this state. As per the provisions regarding Washington bankruptcy exemptions, you can exempt either thirty times of the minimum federal hourly wage or at least seventy five percent of the weekly wages, whichever is more. Low income debtors however may be granted a much higher exemption if the court finds it reasonable.

Tools Of Trade

The following provisions are applicable when it comes to exempting tools of trade.

- Up to $5000 in materials and tools that you use in a trade
- Up to $5000 in aggregate total in supplies, office equipment, office furniture, and library for professionals, including clergy, attorney, surgeon, and physician
- Up to $5000 in aggregate total in supplies, equipment, seed, tools, stock, and trucks for farmers

Public benefits

Since public benefits are usually intended as a safety net for the those who receive it, Washington bankruptcy exemptions can be availed in full in this category. The provisions are applicable for the following types of public benefits.

- Unemployment compensation
- Old-age assistance
- Industrial insurance (workers compensation)
- General assistance
- Crime victims compensation
- Child welfare benefits

Personal Properties

The following types of personal assets and properties can be exempted as per the Washington bankruptcy laws.

- Up to $16,150 in Personal injury recoveries
- An individual can exempt up to $2500 of equity value in a motor vehicle. A married couple can however exempt up to $5000 in two vehicles.
- You can keep all of your family pictures
- 100% of medically prescribed health aids
- 100% of proceeds from fire insurance for destroyed, stolen or lost exempt properties
- Fuel and food as much as is needed for comfortable maintenance
- Up to $1000 in ornaments, jewelry, and furs
- All of burial plot if that was sold by a nonprofit cemetery association
- The laws regarding Washington bankruptcy exemptions also allow you to keep all of the burial ground
- Up to $1500 in books
- Up to $2700 (in aggregate total) for home and yard equipment, household goods, furniture, and appliances. Married couple can get double exemption (up to $5400)

Retirement Savings And Pensions

You can avail 100% exemption for the following types of pensions and retirement savings benefits.

- Volunteer firefighters pensions
- Teachers pensions
- State patrol officers pensions
- Public & state employees pensions
- Police officers pensions
- Firefighters pensions
- Law enforcement officials pensions
- Judges pensions
- City employees pensions
- Keoghs, IRAs, and other ERISA-qualified benefits


You can also avail Washington bankruptcy exemptions in the miscellaneous category but only for child support payments (if applicable in your case).


The following types of insurance benefits are exemptible in the state of Washington.

- 100% of life insurance avails or proceeds provided the beneficiary is not insured
- Group life insurance proceeds or policy
- Disability, benefits, avails, or proceeds
- Up to $2500 in annuity contract proceeds

Homestead Exemptions

- In order to be eligible to use the homestead exemptions in this state, the debtor must first file a homestead declaration in advance before sale of the property, especially if the home is unoccupied.
- The maximum limit is $15000 in any unimproved property that is intended to be used for residential purposes.
- In general, you can exempt up to $125000 of equity value in any real property, including mobile or manufactured homes.

Since the exact description of the Washington bankruptcy exemptions may vary depending upon the various factors involved in a specific case, it is always wise to consult with an experienced Washington bankruptcy attorney.

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