Like all states, Texas 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 Texas, you may use either the Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas, 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?
Texas Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the TexasRevised Civil Statutes Annotated.
Prop. 41.001 & Prop. 41.002 - Unlimited amount, but cannot exceed 10 acres in a city, town, or village, or 100 acres (200 acres for family) elsewhere. Sale proceeds are exempt for 6 months after sale.
Prop. 41.005 - Homestead declaration must be filed or the court will charge you to file it for you.
Prop. 41.001 - Burial plots and health aids; books containing sacred writings of a religion (exempt from the $60,000 family/$30,000 single total personal property allowed).
Prop. 42.002 - Home furnishings, including family heirlooms; food; clothing; jewelry up to 25% of the total exemption limitstated below; 2 firearms; athletic & sporting equipment (includes bicycles); 1 motor vehicle for each adult with drivers license or who relies on another to operate a vehicle; 2 horses, mules, or donkeys, with saddle, blanket & bridle for each; 12 head cattle; 60 head other livestock; 120 fowl; food on hand for these animals; and household pets. Total of all items under Property 42.002 (including tools of trade and cash value of life insur¬ance) cannot exceed $30,000 total ($60,000 for head of family).
Prop. 42.0021 - Health savings accounts.
Prop. 42.001 - Earned but unpaid wages; and unpaid commissions for personal services up to 25% of the total limit in Prop. 42.002.
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.
Govt. 821.005 - Teachers.
Govt. 821.004 - Judges.
Govt. 821.006 - County and district employees.
Govt. 615.005 - Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel's survivors.
6243d-1 - Police officers.
6243e - Firefighters.
6243h & Govt. 811.005 - State employees, elected officials, and municipal employees.
Prop. 42.0021- ERISA-qualified church or government benefits, including IRAs and Keoghs; retirement benefits to extent tax-deferred.
Labor 207.075 - Unemployment compensation.
Labor 408.201 - Workers' compensation.
Crim. Proc. 56.49 - Crime victims' compensation.
Hum-Res. 31.040 - Public assistance.
Hum-Res. 32.036 - Medical assistance.
Tools of Trade
Prop. 42.002 - Tools, books, and equipment, including motor vehicles and boats used in trade or profession; and farming or ranching vehicles and implements. Tools of trade exemptions are included in the total limit listed under Personal Property, above.
Insur. 1551.011 - Texas employee uniform group insurance.
Insur. 1575.006 - Texas public school employees group insurance.
Insur. 1601.008 - Texas state college or university employee benefits.
Insur. 885.316 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
Insur. 1108.051 - Life, health, accident or annuity benefits, policy proceeds, cash values and monies due or already paid to beneficiary or insured.
Prop. 42.001 - Alimony and child support.
Educ. 54.709 - Higher education savings plan trust account.
Alco. Bev. Code 11.03 - Liquor permits and licenses.
Educ. 54.639 - Prepaid tuition plans.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Texas. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Texas 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.