New California Bankruptcy Exemptions Compared



Standard California Bankruptcy Exemptions & Wild Card California Bankruptcy Exemptions. A Side by Side California Bankruptcy Exemption Comparison Chart

(This Chart Includes the New California Bankruptcy Exemptions Amounts as of April 1, 2016)

California Homestead Exemption for Debtor’s Principal Residence (including mobile homes, houseboats & all outbuildings on same property) $75,000 – Single Debtor $100,000 – Head of Household $175,000 – 65 years or Disabled or 55 years old with low income 




Material to repair or improve residence $3,050


Not Available
Household Goods Exemption. Includes Furniture, Appliances, Clothes & Personal Items *Reasonable & Necessary


$675 per item no maximum


Motor Vehicle Exemption $3,050 total equity in all vehicles


$5,350 in all vehicles  §703.140(b)(2)
Tools of the Trade Exemption. Includes Tools, Equipment and Professional Books $8,000 per employed Debtor or $15,975 for spouses (if in a common trade or business) or $4,850 in a commercial vehicle or $9,700 total equity in a commercial vehicle for both spouses.




Jewelry Exemption Jewelry, Heirlooms, Works of Art $8,000


$1,600  jewelry only  §703.140(b)(4)
California Wild Card Exemption. Anything selected by debtor Not Available $1,425 plus unused portion of §703.140(b)(1) homestead exemption. Can be used for any property. (Wild Card) 


Life Insurance Benefits Including endowments & annuities if primarily  a life insurance policy) *Reasonable & Necessary




Life Insurance Loan Values $11,800 Per spouse  §704.100(b) $14,325


Prosthetics & other Health Aids Reasonable & Necessary*




Cemetery Plot All for Debtor & Spouse


Not Available
Wages earned 75% of last month’s wages


Not Available
Vacation Credits All (Public Employees Only)


Not Available
Ongoing Social Security Benefits & /or Public Benefits All Rights to Receive Social Security Benefits &/or Public Benefits


All Rights to Receive Social Security Benefits & / or Public Benefits



Bank Accounts for Social Security Benefits &/or Public Benefits if Direct Deposit is used and not co-mingled with other funds.

$3,200 if single debtor or $4,800 if joint debtors if Direct Deposit & NOT co-mingled with any other funds.






Not Available

[MAY be protected by  §703.140(b)(10)(A)]

 Bank Accounts for Social Security Benefits &/or Public Benefits if Direct Deposit is used and not co-mingled with other funds.  

Any amounts in excess of the §704.080(b)(2) limits above as long as it is Direct Deposit & NOT  co-mingled with any other funds.



Not Available

[MAY be protected by  §703.140(b)(10)(A)]

Private Retirement Benefits All


*Reasonable & Necessary


Health/Disability Insurance Benefits All




Personal Injury Payments after Judgment or Settlement *Reasonable & Necessary


$26,800 Includes Assets Traceable To Funds From Personal Injury 


Personal Injury Cause of Action All


Same under California Exemption above  §703.140(b)(11)(D) 
Worker’s Compensation Benefits All


*Reasonable & Necessary


Loss of Future Earnings All


*Reasonable & Necessary 


Unemployment Benefits All




Relocation Benefits All


Not Available
Veteran’s Benefits Not Available

(However it is exempt under Federal Law 

§38 USC §5301)



Benefits from Wrongful Death Lawsuit *Reasonable & Necessary


*Reasonable & Necessary


Wrongful Death Cause of Action All if deceased was part or whole provider of the household income.


Not Available
Right to Collect Back Child Support or Alimony Exemption Not Available *Reasonable & Necessary


Welfare or Charitable Aid All


Not Available
Prisoner Trust Account $1,525


Not Available


*”Reasonable & Necessary” refers to a judicial determination that the asset is adequate and appropriate to the debtor’s specific lifestyle and the asset’s intended use. Any party objecting to the exemption has the burden of proof that it is not “Reasonable & Necessary.” FRBP 4003(c).


Additional Bankruptcy Exemptions Available:


Note 1: There are additional Federal Non-Bankruptcy Exemptions available in addition to the California Bankruptcy Exemptions. This is the case even where the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions under 11 U.S.C. 522 are not available. See us or a California bankruptcy attorney specialist for details


Note 2: Some assets are not protected under either State or Federal Laws but are not assets of the bankruptcy estate. Therefore, they do not need to be protected even though the assets and rights have value to the Debtor.


This chart of California bankruptcy exemptions under the California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 703 and 704 that set forth the available California Bankruptcy Exemptions was updated on April 1, 2016 by Gary Ray Fraley, California State Bar Certified Bankruptcy Law Specialist, founder and owner of Fraley & Fraley, Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorneys.


You can contact us at or call us at (916) 485-5444.


Warning: Do not assume that you are entitled to use the California bankruptcy exemptions. See a California Bankruptcy Attorney Specialist as to your exemption rights. Your right to use the California bankruptcy exemptions, even when you are living in California, depends on factors that cannot be answered here.

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