Attorney, Bankruptcy Service. To use our Western Washington State Attorney Service to have an attorney complete all the documents necessary for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, please see: Western Washington Bankruptcy - Chapter 7.
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.
|Description||LAW||Max Individual Amount||Max Joint Amount|
|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|