Changes to California bankruptcy exemption laws, effective January 1, 2013, have increased some of the exemption amounts available to people filing for bankruptcy in California.
What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?
Most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California are able to discharge most or all of their debts. In return, they must turn over certain property to the bankruptcy trustee, which the trustee will use to repay creditors. However, California law allows you to protect certain types of property in bankruptcy — meaning you don’t have to give the property to the bankruptcy trustee. These laws are called exemptions. Exemptions play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well.
To learn more about how exemptions work in bankruptcy and the exemption amounts in each of the 50 states, visit Nolo’s Bankruptcy Exemptions topic area.
2013 Changes to California Bankruptcy Exemptions
California Assembly Bill 929, which took effect on January 1, 2013, made some changes to California bankruptcy exemptions. Here are some of the highlights of those changes:
- the motor vehicle exemption increased to $4,800 and you can now exempt more than one vehicle (previously you could only exempt the equity in one vehicle)
- the homestead exemption amount increased to $24,060
- the tools of the trade exemption amount increased to $7,175
- the wildcard exemption increased to $1,280, and
- you can now exempt personal injury recoveries for pain, suffering, and actual pecuniary loss (before these types of damages were excluded from the personal injury recovery exemption) and the total exemption amount increased to $24, 060.
To learn more about the California bankruptcy exemptions, as well as a list of other common exemption amounts, see Nolo’s article California Bankruptcy Exemptions.