North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

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Like all states, North Dakota 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 North Dakota is not one of them. In North Dakota, 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 North Dakota, 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? 

North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the North Dakota Century Code.

Homestead

28-22-02 & 47-18-01 - Real property, mobile home, or house trailer up to $100,000. Spouses may not double.

Personal Property

28-22-02 - Wearing apparel to $5,000; clothing; fuel and food to last 1 year; bible or other religious texts; books and schoolbooks; family pictures; church pew; burial plots; crops or grain raised on the debtor's land, limited to 160 acres; insurance proceeds for exempt property.

28-22-03.1 - Motor vehicle up to $2,950 ($32,000 if modified for a physically disabled person); personal injury recoveries up to $15,000; wrongful death recoveries up to $15,000; health aids.

Wages

32-09.1-.03 - The greater of the following: 40 times the federal minimum wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings. Judge may approve more for low income debtor.

Note: wage exemption cannot be used in bankruptcy. 

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 $1,171,150.

28-22-03.1 - Disabled veterans' benefits (does not include military retirement pay); annuities, pensions, IRAs, Keoghs, simplified employee plans up to $100,000 each. Together with the insurance exemption under this section total may not exceed $200,000. No limit however if needed for support.

28-22-19 - Public employees.

54-52.2-06 - Public employees deferred compensation.

Public Benefits

28-22-03.1 - Social Security and Veteran's disability benefits.

28-22-19 - Public assistance; crime victims' compensation.

52-06-30 - Unemployment compensation.

52-09-22 - Survivor insurance and old age insurance program benefits.

65-05-29 - Workers' compensation.

Tools of Trade

28-22-03.1(3) - Implements of trade, books and tools to $1,500.

Insurance

26.1-15.1-18 & 26.1-33-40 – Fraternal benefit society benefits; unmatured life insurance contracts except credit life insurance.

26.1.33-40 - Life insurance proceeds payable to the decedent's estate (not to a specific beneficiary).

28-22-03.1(5) - Life insurance surrender value to $8,000 per policy if beneficiary is relative of the insured and the policy has been in existance for more than 1 year before filing for bankruptcy. No limit if needed for support.

Miscellaneous

14-09-09.31 - Child support payments.

Wildcard

28-22-03.1(1) - $7,500 of any property in lieu of homestead.

28-22-03 - $7,500 of any personal property if head of household not claiming crops or grain.

28-22-05 - $3,750 of any personal property if unmarried with no dependents and not claiming crops or grain.

Other 

Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in North Dakota. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, North Dakota 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. 

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