Updated April 2, 2019
Colorado's exemption laws tell you the property you can protect in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. What will happen to nonexempt property that you can't protect with a bankruptcy exemption will depend on the chapter you file.
Here's how it works:
If you need more information about the benefits of each chapter type, start with When Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Better Than Chapter 13? You'll find Colorado bankruptcy filing tips in Filing for Bankruptcy in Colorado.
Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions, but not Colorado. You'll have to use Colorados's exemptions and any applicable federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
You'll find commonly used Colorado exemptions below. Unless noted otherwise, a married couple filing together can "double" the amount if both have an ownership interest in the property.
38-41-201, 203, 207 - Real property up to $75,000; if a dependent, spouse, or owner is over 60 years of age and disabled, $105,000. The proceeds of a sale are exempt after two years have passed since they were received.
38-41-204 - Spouse or child of a deceased owner can also qualify for homestead exemption.
13-54-102 - Bicycles and motor vehicles that are used to travel to work up to $7,500 (up to $12,500 if used by the elderly or debtor or dependent with a disability).
13-54-102 - Clothing to $2,000; health aids; household goods to $3,000; food and fuel up to $600; one burial site per person; jewelry and articles of adornment up to $2,500; family pictures and books to $2,000; security deposits; proceeds for damaged exempt property; personal injury recoveries.
13-54-104 - Either minimum 75% of earned but unpaid wages, insurance, and pension payments or 30 times the federal minimum wage. The greater of the two amounts will be used.
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 $1,362,800. (Current for cases filed between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2022.)
13-54-102 - ERISA-qualified benefits, including IRA's and Roth IRAs. Veteran's pension if the veteran served in armed conflict or war.
24-51-212 - Public employees' pensions, defined contribution plans, and deferred compensation.
31-30.5-208 - Police officers and firefighters.
Learn more in Can You Keep Your Retirement Accounts in Bankruptcy?
8-42-124 - Workers' compensation.
8-80-103 - Unemployment compensation.
13-54-102 - Veterans' benefits for veteran, spouse or child if the veteran served in war. Crime victims' compensation. Earned income tax credit. Disability benefits up to $3,000.
26-2-131 - Aid to blind, aged and disabled as well as other public assistance.
13-54-102 - Stock in trade, supplies, fixtures, maps, machines, tools, electronics, equipment, books, and business materials to $30,000 if it is used in the debtor's primary occupation, to $10,000 if it is used in an occupation other than the debtor's primary one; library of a professional to $3,000; livestock or other animals, tractors, farm implements, trucks used in agriculture, harvesting equipment, seed, and agricultural machinery and tools to $50,000. National Guard members' military equipment.
13-54-102.5 - Child support
10-7-106 - Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.
10-7-205 - Group life insurance policy or proceeds.
10-14-403 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
10-16-212 - Disability benefits up to $400 per month. The entire amount is exempt if it was received in one lump sum.
13-54-102 - Life insurance cash surrender value up to $100,000. Contributions made within the past 48 months will be excluded.
38-41-209 - Homeowners' insurance proceeds for one year after received, up to homestead amount.
7-60-125 - Business partnership property.
Legal citations are to the Colorado Revised Statutes unless noted otherwise.
This is a partial list of exemptions available in Colorado. It's unlikely that the court will allow you to dismiss your case if you make a mistake in Chapter 7 bankruptcy so you should be aware that:
It's crucial that you confirm exemption availability through independent research or by consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney.
Learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption in Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?