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.
78-23-3 - Real property, mobile home or water rights up to $5,000 if the property is not debtor's primary personal residence; up to $20,000 if the property is debtor's primary personal residence. Proceeds of sale exempt for 1 year.
78-23-4 - Before the attempted sale of home, a homestead declaration must be filed.
78B-5-503(5)(b) - Sale proceeds exempt for one year.
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 $2,500; sofas, chairs, and related furnishings for one household up to $500; dining and kitchen tables and chairs for one household up to $500; animals, books, and musical instruments up to $500; heirlooms or other items of sentimental value up to $500.
78-23-9 - Proceeds for damaged personal property.
70C-7-103 - The greather of the following: Either 30 times the federal hourly minimum wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly income. Judge may approve more for low income debtor.
Note: In 2012, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that Utah Code § 70C-7-103 does not create an exemption in bankruptcy. Gladwell v. Reinhart, 2012 UT 82 (2012).
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.
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.
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 $3,500.
Alimony and Child Support
78-23-5 - Child support and alimony needed for support.
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.
48-1-22 - Business partnership property.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy 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 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.