Like all states, Arkansas has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In Arkansas, you may use either the Arkansas state exemptions (listed below), or the federal bankruptcy exemptions (you can find these in Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions). You cannot mix and match from each list. If you choose to use the Arkansas state exemptions, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Arkansas, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Arkansas Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Arkansas Code Annotated.
Homestead (Choose A or B, not both)
A. 16-66-210 - Married person or head of family may claim: Real or personal property used as a residence; unlimited exemption up to 1/4 acre in a city, town, or village; or up to 80 acres elsewhere. If between 1/4 and 1 acre in city, town, or village, or 80 to 160 acres elsewhere, additional exemption up to $2,500. No homestead may exceed 1 acre in city, town, or village, or 160 acres elsewhere. Spouses may not double.
B. 16-66-218 - Real or personal property used as a residence, up to $800 if single or $1,250 if married.
16-66-218 - Motor vehicle up to $1,200.
16-66-219 - Wedding rings.
16-66-207 - Burial plot up to 5 acres if using Option B of homestead exemption.
Arkansas Constitution 9-1, 9-2 - Clothing of unlimited value.
23-40-117 - Prepaid funeral trusts.
16-66-208 - Earned but unpaid wages due for 60 days, but not less than $25 per week.
11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).
11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,171,150.
16-66-218 - IRA deposits up to $20,000 if deposited over 1 year before filing for bankruptcy.
24-6-223 - State police officers.
24-7-715 - School employees.
24-10-616 - Police officers and firefighters.
24-11-417 - Disabled police officers.
24-11-814 - Disabled firefighters.
11-9-110 - Workers' compensation.
11-10-109 - Unemployment compensation.
16-90-716 - Crime victims' compensation.
Tools of Trade
16-66-218 - Tools, books and implements of trade to $750.
16-66-209 - Life, health, accident or disability proceeds, whether paid or due (case law limits to $500).
23-71-112 - Stipulated insurance premiums.
23-72-114 - Mutual assessment life or disability benefits up to $1,000.
23-74-403 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
23-79-131 - Life insurance proceeds if beneficiary isn't the insured; life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits proceeds from being used to pay creditors.
23-79-132 - Group life insurance.
23-79-133 - Disability benefits.
23-79-134 - Annuity contract.
16-66-218 - If married or head of household, $500 of any personal property; If single, $200.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Arkansas. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Arkansas may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated in June of 2011. Consider cross-checking this list with www.legalconsumer.com, which updates the state exemption amounts regularly, or check with your local bankruptcy court.