Kentucky Bankruptcy Exemptions

March 28, 2017

Like all states, Kentucky has its own set of exemptions that you can use when filing for bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you can keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In Kentucky, you can use either the Kentucky state exemptions (listed below) or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. You cannot mix and match from each list. If you choose to use Kentucky's state exemptions, you can also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions. If a couple is married and filing jointly in Kentucky, each spouse can "double" (claim the full amount) of each exemption.

To learn more, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy? 

Kentucky Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all references are to the Kentucky Revised Statutes.


Real or personal property used as a family residence up to $5,000. Alternatively, you can use this exemption to protect sale proceeds or a burial plot. (427.060, 427.090)


Annuity contract proceeds up to $350 per month (304.14-330)

Fraternal benefit society benefits (304.29-181, 427.110)

Group life and health insurance proceeds. (304.14-320)

Health or disability insurance proceeds. (304.14-310)

Life insurance proceeds. (304.14-300 - 304.14-350)


Alimony, maintenance, or child support needed for support. (427.150)


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) 

IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283, 025. (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n))

ERISA - all qualified benefits that were deposited more than 120 days before filing for bankruptcy. (427.150)

Firefighters and police officers (67A.620, 427.125, 427.150(2)(e))

State and county employees (427.150(2)(e), 67A.350)

Teachers (161.700, 427.150(2)(e))

Personal Property

Motor vehicle up to $2,500; health aids; clothing, furniture, jewelry, and articles of adornment up to $3,000 total. (427.010)

Lost earnings payments needed for support; wrongful death recoveries for person you depended upon for support; personal injury recoveries up to $7,500, but not including pain, suffering, or pecuniary loss. (427.150)

Medical expenses paid and reparation benefits received under the motor vehicle reparation law. (304.39-260)

Public Benefits

Public assistance (205.220)

Crime victims' compensation (427.150)

Unemployment compensation (341.470)

Workers' compensation (342.180)

Tools of Trade

Farmer's tools, equipment, livestock, and poultry up to $3,000. (427.010)

Nonfarmer's tools up to $300; motor vehicle of mechanic, mechanical or electrical equipment servicer, minister, attorney, physician, surgeon, dentist, veterinarian, or chiropractor up to $2,500. (427.030)

Library, office equipment, instruments, and furnishings of a minister, attorney, physician, surgeon, dentist, veterinarian, or chiropractor up to $1,000. (427.040)


The greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage per week or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings. A judge can approve more for low-income debtors. (427.010)


Any property up to $1,000 (427.160)


 Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Kentucky. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Kentucky may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated. Consider checking with your local bankruptcy court or an attorney.

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