Like all states, Louisiana 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. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions – but Louisiana is not one of them. In Louisiana, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Louisiana, 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?
Louisiana Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated.
20:1 - Property you occupy up to $25,000, but cannot exceed 5 acres if the residence in a municipality, or 200 acres if not located in a municipality. Spouses may not double. As to obligations arising directly as a result of a catastrophic or terminal illness or injury, exemption is the full value of the based on value one year before seizure. Spouse or child of deceased owner, or spouse obtaining home in divorce may also claim the exemption.
8:313 - Cemetery plot and monuments.
9:2004 - Spendthrift trusts.
13:3881 - Living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture; clothing; chinaware, glassware, utensils, and silverware (but not sterling); refrigerator, freezer, stove, washer and dryer; bedding and linens; family portraits; musical instruments; heating and cooling equipment; pressing irons and sewing machine; arms and military accoutrements; poultry, household pets and 1 cow; engagement and wedding rings up to $5,000; disaster relief insurance proceeds; motor vehicle up to $7,500.
13:3881 - The greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage per week or minimum 75% of disposable weekly earnings. Judge may approve more for low income debtor.
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.
13:3881 - ERISA-qualified benefit contributions, if deposited more than 1 year before filing.
20:33 - Gratuitous payments to employee or heirs from employer, whenever paid.
11.1003 - School employees
11.1378 - Judges
11.1403 - Assessors
11.1526 - Court clerks
11.1583 - District attorneys
11.1735 - Municipal employees
11.1905 - Parochial employees
11.2033 - Voting registrars
11.2182 - Sheriffs
11.2263 - Firefighters
11.3513 - Police officers
11.405 - State employees
11.704 - Teachers
11.952.3 - Louisiana University employees
23:1205 - Workers' compensation.
23:1693 - Unemployment compensation.
13.3881 - Earned Income tax credit.
46:111 - Public assistance; Aid to blind, aged, and disabled.
46:1811 - Crime victims' compensation.
Tools of Trade
13:3881 - Tools, books, instruments, motor vehicle up to $7,500, and one firearm up to $500, needed for work.
22:298 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
22:1015 - Health, accident or disability proceeds.
22:912 - Life insurance proceeds up to $35,000 if policy was issued within 9 months of filing; annuity contract proceeds.
22:944 - Group insurance policies or proceeds:
13.3881 - Property of a minor child.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Louisiana. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Louisiana 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.