Bankruptcy Exemptions Attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona
Skilled Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer helps maximize your protections
A bankruptcy exemption is an allowance the law provides so that petitioners can retain the resources necessary to take advantage of the second chance that bankruptcy provides. Bankruptcy and Estate Planning Pros provides knowledgeable assistance and personal service to ensure you can maximize your exemptions. He draws on more than 20 years of legal experience to help you get the greatest protection possible under bankruptcy law.
What are Arizona’s bankruptcy exemptions?
Exemptions are allowed for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow petitioners to choose between the federal exemptions in the U.S. bankruptcy code and the state exemptions, but only state exemptions are available in Arizona. The exception is for filers who have not lived in Arizona for a full two years. Those petitioners must choose from the exemptions of their former home state or the federal exemptions.
The Arizona Revised Statutes list categories for exemptions along with amounts. This means you can keep as much property as you want, up to the total value allowable for each category. In many categories, a husband and wife filing jointly can double the exemption. Common exemptions include:
- Alimony and child support — Exempt for recipients.
- Animals — Pets, horses, milk cows, and poultry are exempt up to $800.
- Books — Exempt up to $250.
- Clothing — Exempt up to $500.
- Food and fuel — Amounts sufficient for 6 months are exempt.
- Funeral deposits — Exempt up to $5,000.
- Homestead — Up to $150,000 of the equity in a home. Husband and wife may not double their exemptions in this category. If not claiming a homestead, petitioners may claim an exemption for prepaid rent or a security deposit to the lesser amount of $2,000 or 1.5 times the rent.
- Household furniture and appliances — Exempt up to $6,000.
- Insurance — Policies and proceeds are exempt up to certain values depending on circumstances of the owner and beneficiary.
- Motor vehicle — Valued at up to $6,000, or $12,000 if the petitioner is disabled.
- Musical instruments — Exempt up to $400.
- Pensions — Various retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans are exempt up to certain levels.
- Public benefits — Unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, and welfare benefits are exempt.
- Tools of a trade — Tools, equipment and books are exempt up to $5,000; farm machinery, utensils, instruments of husbandry, feed, seed, grain and animals are exempt up to $2,500 in total value.
- Wages — Exempt up to 75 percent of earned but unpaid net wages or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage.
- Wedding and engagement rings — Exempt up to $2,000.
- Wrongful death awards — Verdicts and settlements in wrongful death cases are exempt.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive and all-inclusive list of Arizona bankruptcy exemptions, and you should be aware that levels in each category can change as the state legislature makes adjustments from year to year. Creditors looking to maximize their repayment can object to your exemptions, but this rarely happens in consumer bankruptcy. When you visit us for a free consultation, we can give you precise information about the exemptions you can claim. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on our Bankruptcy FAQ page.
Learn more about your bankruptcy exemptions at a free consultation in our Phoenix office
Exemptions can take much of the pain out of filing for personal bankruptcy in Arizona. You can get reliable advice on exemptions from Bankruptcy and Estate Planning Pros. To schedule a free consultation, call (602) 274-4400 or contact our office online.