Like all states, Hawaii 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 Hawaii, you may use either the Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii, 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?
Hawaii Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Hawaii Revised Statutes Annotated.
651-91 - Up to $30,000 if head of family or over 65; up to $20,000 otherwise. Property cannot exceed 1 acre. Sale proceeds are exempt for 6 months after sale. Spouses may not double. Tenancies by the entirety are exempt without limit as to debts of one spouse or reciprocal beneficiary.
651-121 - Motor vehicle up to wholesale value of $2,575; clothing; appliances and furnishings needed; books; jewelry, watches, and articles of adornment up to $1,000; proceeds for sold or damaged exempt property (sale proceeds exempt for 6 months after sale); burial plot up to 250 square feet, plus on-site tombstones, monuments, and fencing.
353-22.5 - Prisoner's wages held by Dept. of Public Safety excluding child support, restitution and other claims.
651-121 - Unpaid wages due for services of the past 31 days.
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.
88-169 Police officers and firefighters.
88-91 & 653-3 - Public officers and employees.
651-124 - Roth IRAs, IRAs, and ERISA-qualified benefits, if deposited more than 3 years before filing.
346-33 - Public assistance paid by Dept. of Health Services for work done in home or a workshop.
351-66 - Crime victims' compensation; special accounts that were created to limit the commercial exploitation of crimes.
383-163 - Unemployment compensation.
386-57 - Workers' compensation.
392-29 - Temporary disability benefits.
653-4 - Unemployment work relief up to $60 per month.
Tools of Trade
651-121 - Tools, books, uniforms, implements, instruments, furnishings, fishing boat, nets, motor vehicle, and other personal property needed for livelihood.
431:10-231 - Accident, sickness or health benefits.
431:10-232 - Annuity contract or endowment policy proceeds if beneficiary is insured spouse, child or parent.
431:10-233 - Group life insurance policy or proceeds.
431:10-234 - Life or health insurance policy for child or spouse.
431:10-D:112 - Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.
432:2-403 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
425-125 - Business partnership property.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Hawaii. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Hawaii 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.