Utah Bankruptcy Exemptions

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

Utah Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Utah Code.

Homestead

78B-5-504 - Real property, mobile home or water rights up to $5,000 if the property is not debtor's primary personal residence; up to $30,000 if the property is debtor's primary personal residence. Proceeds of sale exempt for 1 year.

78B-5-504 - Before the attempted sale of home, a homestead declaration must be filed.

78B-5-503(5)(b) - Sale proceeds exempt for one year.

Personal Property

78-23-5 - Clothing, except furs and jewelry; refrigerator, freezer, stove, microwave oven, washer, dryer, and sewing machine; health aids; food to last 12 months; beds and bedding; carpets; artwork done by, or depicting, a family member; burial plot; personal injury recoveries for yourself or a person you depend upon; wrongful death recoveries for a person you depended upon.

78-23-8 - Motor vehicle up to $5,000; sofas, chairs, and related furnishings for one household up to $1,000; dining and kitchen tables and chairs for one household up to $1,000; animals, books, and musical instruments up to $1,000; heirlooms or other items of sentimental value up to $1,000; firearms to $250.

78-23-9 - Proceeds for damaged personal property.

Wages

78B-5-505(1)(a)(xvi) - Unpaid earnings due as of the bankruptcy filing date in an amount equal to 1/24 of the median Utah annual income if paid more than once per month and 1/12 if paid monthly.

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 $1,245,475. (This amount is adjusted every three years. For the most recent figure, see Your Retirement Account in Bankruptcy.) 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n); §15-41-30(A)(13)

49-11-612 - Public employees.

78-23-5 - ERISA-qualified benefits, Keoghs, IRAs, and Roth IRAs if the contributions have been made and benefits have accrued more than 1 year before filing for bankruptcy.

78-23-6 - Any pension or annuity needed for support.

Public Benefits

34A-2-422 - Workers' compensation.

35A-3-112 - General assistance.

34A-3-107 - Occupational disease disability benefits.

63-25a-421 - Crime victims' compensation.

35A-4-103 - Unemployment compensation.

78-23-5 - Veterans' benefits.

Tools of Trade

39-1-47 - National Guard members' military property.

78-23-8 - Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $5,000.

Alimony and Child Support

78-23-5 - Child support and alimony needed for support.

Insurance

31A-9-603 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

78-23-5 - Disability, illness, medical or hospital benefits.

78-23-5 - Life insurance proceeds if beneficiary is insured's spouse or other dependent, needed for support.

78-23-5 - Life insurance policy cash surrender value excluding payments that were made on the contract within the prior year.

78-23-5 - Hospital, medical and surgical benefits.

Miscellaneous

48-1-22 - Business partnership property.

Other

 Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Utah. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Utah may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated in March of 2014. Check the Utah Code.

by: , J.D.

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