Montana Bankruptcy Exemptions

January 6, 2017

Like all states, Montana has its own set of exemptions for use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you can keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Additionally, exemptions determine 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 Montana is not one of them. You must use the state exemptions below. However, you can supplement with the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, too.

A married couple filing jointly can double any exemption amount. For instance, as long as both spouses have an interest in the property, the couple can exempt $5,000 in a motor vehicle and $500,000 in a residential property.

Special Note: Montana’s Bankruptcy-Only Exemption System

Montana's exemptions apply only in bankruptcy. You can’t use them to protect your property against creditors outside of bankruptcy. 

Montana Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Montana Code Annotated (Mont. Code. Ann.).

Homestead

70-32-104 & 25-13-615 - Real property or mobile home you occupy, to $250,000 (applies to 320 farm acres, 1/4 acre of property in a municipality, or one acre of property outside of a municipality). You must record a homestead declaration before filing. Insurance, condemnation or sale proceeds are exempt for 18 months.

Personal Property

25-13-608(1)(a) - Prescribed health aids.

25-13-608(1)(h) - Burial plot.

25-13-609(2) - Motor vehicle up to $2,500.

25-13-609(1) - Clothing, household goods and furnishings, appliances, jewelry, books, animals and feed, musical instruments, firearms, sporting goods, and crops up to $600 per item and $4,500 total.

25-13-610(1) - Proceeds for damaged or lost exempt property (conditions apply).

35-15-404 - Cooperative association shares (conditions apply).

Wages

25-13-614 - The greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage or a minimum of 75% of earned but unpaid wages. Judge may approve more for low-income debtor.

Pensions

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 $1,283,025.

19-2-1004 - Public employees.

19-19-504 & 19-18-612 - Police officers and firefighters.

19-20-706 - Teachers.

19-21-212 - University system employees.

25-13-608(1)(e) - Qualifying retirement benefits (conditions apply).

Public Benefits

25-13-608(1)(b) & 53-2-607(1)(b) - Social Security and public assistance benefits (not including support payments).

25-13-608(1)(c) - Veterans' benefits (not including support payments).

39-71-743 - Workers' compensation.

39-73-110 - Silicosis benefits.

39-51-3105 & 31-2-106(2) - Unemployment compensation.

53-9-129 - Crime victims' compensation.

Tools of Trade

25-13-609(3) - Tools, books, and instruments needed in a trade or profession up to $3,000.

Alimony and Child Support

25-13-608(1)(g) - Alimony and child support.

Insurance

33-15-513 - Disability insurance proceeds.

33-7-522 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

33-15-512 - Group life insurance policy or proceeds.

33-15-514 - Annuity contract proceeds (conditions apply).

33-15-511 - Life insurance assigned policies (beneficiary cannot be the insured).

80-2-245 - Hail insurance benefits (conditions apply).

Other 

Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list does not include all exemptions. In addition, amounts may have changed since this list was last updated. You should consult with a local bankruptcy attorney before filing for bankruptcy to ensure that you're adequately protecting your property. (Find out more in Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?)

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