Updated December 18, 2018
Colorado’s exemption laws tell you the property you can protect in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. What happens to nonexempt property that you can’t protect will depend on the chapter you file.
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 $1,283, 025.
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.
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?