Washington State Exemptions

Remember, you may use Federal Exemptions; however, you cannot mix and match exemptions from the federal bankruptcy code and state law. You must choose one system or the other!

The following is a summary of the Washington exemptions that can be claimed (used) to exempt both your real and personal property in a bankruptcy petition. Washington residents may use either the Washington exemptions or the Federal exemptions; however, if your residence has not been continuously in the state of Washington for the two years prior to filing a bankruptcy petition, there are laws as whether you are able use the state versus federal exemptions.

Exempt property of a debtor is property of the debtor that is not available to be used (sold) to pay his/her unsecured creditors and is not subject to the claims of unsecured creditors, but may be subject to the rights of secured creditors and lien holders. When reviewing the list for exemptions for your own property you should be aware that there may not be a "matching" exemption. The Washington State exemptions contain a "wildcard" which can be used if a matching exemption cannot be found in the list of exemptions. Also, an individual must own an interest in the property to claim the property as exempt.

The debtor may exempt the equity (value of property less the total amount owed against it) however; any equity value in the property above the exemption amount may be subject to the claims of unsecured creditors.

By way of example, if you own a home worth $250,000 and owe a total of $200,000 against it (combining all mortgage/home equity lines of credit and/or liens against the property) the amount of equity you would need to protect is $50,000. So long as the homestead exemption is more than $50,000 the full amount of the equity is exempt and not subject to the claims of your unsecured creditors. In the alternative, say the home is worth $250,000 and you only owe $100,000 against it, anything over the exemption amount is subject to the claims of the unsecured creditors.

The same type example would apply to a motor vehicle, though the exemption for a motor vehicle is less than the amount of the exemption for a home.

Please note that all of the exemptions may be doubled if a married couple is filing, with the exception of the homestead exemption.

Justia US Laws - Washington State RCW Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Washington Western Bankruptcy Court Washington Eastern Bankruptcy Court

Description LAW Max Individual Amount Max Joint Amount
Annuities RCW §6.15.020(1) UNLIMITED
Annuity Contract Benefits RCW §48.18.430 UNLIMITED
Benefits - State Patrol RCW §43.43.310 UNLIMITED
Building materials used to improve lien from 60.04 RCW RCW §60.04.150 UNLIMITED
Burial Grounds RCW §68.24.220, 68.20.120 UNLIMITED
Certain Construction Materials RCW §60.04.201 UNLIMITED
Child Support RCW §6.15.010(1)(c)(iv) UNLIMITED
Crime Victims' Compensation RCW §7.68.070(10), 51.32.040 UNLIMITED
Disability Insurance Benefits RCW §48.18.400 UNLIMITED
Earnings From Work Release RCW §72.65.060 UNLIMITED
Family Pictures & Keepsakes RCW §6.15.010(1)(a) $3,500.00 $3,500.00
Farm Trucks, Stock, Tools, Etc. Of Farmer RCW §6.15.010(1)(d)(i) $10,000.00 $10,000.00
Fraternal Benefit Society Benefits RCW §48.36A.180 UNLIMITED
Funds In Certain Deferred Compensation Plans RCW § 41.50.780 UNLIMITED
Funds of children placed with child welfare services RCW §74.13.070 UNLIMITED
Furs, Jewelry, Wearing Apparel RCW §6.15.010(1)(a) $3,500.00 $7,000.00
Health Aids RCW §6.15.010(1)(c)(v) UNLIMITED
Health Studios Trust Account RCW § 19.142.060 UNLIMITED
Homestead RCW §6.13.010, 6.13.020, 6.13.010 $125,000.00 $125,000.00
Household Furnishings RCW §6.15.010(1)(c )(i) $6,500.00 $13,000.00
Income Or Proceeds From Trust (Property Exempt from Seizure) RCW §6.32.250 UNLIMITED
Industrial Insurance Benefits RCW §51.32.040 UNLIMITED
Life Insurance Proceeds RCW §48.18.410 UNLIMITED
Life Insurance Proceeds - Group RCW §48.18.420 UNLIMITED
Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Pay RCW §46.29.250 UNLIMITED
Motor Vehicle(s) RCW §6.15.010(1)(c )(iii) $3,250.00 $6,500.00
Not Farmer or Professional Tools of Trade RCW §6.15.010(1)(d)(iii) $10,000.00 $10,000.00
Other Personal Property Except Earnings RCW §6.15.010(1)(c )(ii) $3,000.00 $3,000.00
Partnership Interest RCW §25.05.215 UNLIMITED
Pension Benefits - Federal RCW §6.15.020(2) UNLIMITED
Pension, Retirement Plan Benefits RCW § 6.15.025 UNLIMITED
Personal Injury Recovery RCW §6.15.010(1)(c)(vi) $20,000.00 $20,000.00
Plan 1,2,3, Retirement System Benefits RCW §41.40.052, 41.34.080, 41.35.100 UNLIMITED
Private Library of Debtor, Including Electronic Media RCW §6.15.010(1)(b) $3,500.00 $7,000.00
Proceeds From Exempt Property RCW §6.15.030 UNLIMITED
Proceeds of sale of homestead or insurance coverage damage RCW §6.13.070 UNLIMITED
Professional library, furnishings, tools, supplies RCW §6.15.010(1)(d)(ii) $10,000.00 $10,000.00
Property of Incompetent held by guardian RCW §11.92.060 UNLIMITED
Public Assistance Grants & Payments RCW §74.08.210 & RCW 74.13.070, 74.04.280 UNLIMITED
Retirement Benefits - City Employees RCW §41.44.240, 41.28.200, 41.20.180 UNLIMITED
Retirement Benefits - Judges RCW §2.10.180, 2.12.090, 2.14.100 UNLIMITED
Retirement Benefits - Police, Firemen RCW §41.20.180, 41.24.240, 41.26.053, 43.43.310 UNLIMITED
Retirement Benefits - State Employees RCW §41.40.380, 41.40.052 UNLIMITED
Retirement Benefits - Teachers RCW §41.32.590, 41.32.052, 41.32.055 UNLIMITED
Retirement, Disability except alimony, child support RCW §6.15.020(3) UNLIMITED
Separate property spouse - certain circumstances RCW §6.15.040 and 26.16.200 UNLIMITED
Specific Partnership Property RCW §25.04.250 UNLIMITED
Tuition units under chapter 28B.95 RCW RCW § 6.15.010(5) UNLIMITED
Unemployment Compensation Benefits RCW §50.40.020 UNLIMITED
Uniforms, Firearms RCW §38.40.150 UNLIMITED
Wages, Salary, or Other Compensation for Personal Services RCW §6.27.150 UNLIMITED
Workers§ Compensation RCW §51.32.040 UNLIMITED