Updated February 7, 2019
You won’t lose everything when filing for bankruptcy in Louisiana. You’ll be able to use Louisiana’s bankruptcy exemptions to protect property you’ll need to work and live, such as your home, personal items, and a retirement account.
Learn more about filing a Louisiana bankruptcy case.
Some states allow residents to choose between the state and the federal bankruptcy exemptions, but that option isn’t available in Louisiana. You’ll use Louisiana’s state exemptions and, if helpful, the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Here are some of the more common exemptions in Louisiana. When reviewing them, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:
20:1 – Equity in the property you occupy up to $35,000. not to exceed five acres if the residence in a municipality, or 200 acres located elsewhere. Spouses can’t double the exemption amount. If obligations arise directly as the result of a catastrophic or terminal illness or injury, you might be able to exempt more. Consult with an attorney.
13:3881 – Equity up to $7,500 in one motor vehicle per household. Equity up to $7,500 in one motor vehicle modified for a person with a disability.
8:313 - Cemetery plot and monuments.
9:2004 - Spendthrift trusts.
13:3881 - Living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture; clothing; chinaware, glassware, utensils, and silverware (but not sterling); refrigerator, freezer, stove, washer and dryer; bedding and linens; family portraits; musical instruments; heating and cooling equipment; pressing irons and sewing machine; arms and military accoutrements; poultry, and one cow; engagement and wedding rings up to $5,000; disaster relief insurance proceeds; guns and ammunition up to $2,500; all dogs, cats, and household pets.
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); IRAS and Roth IRAs to the maximum amount. (This amount is set by federal law. See Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for updates on this dollar amount.)
13:3881 - ERISA-qualified benefit contributions, if deposited more than one year before filing.
20:33 - Gratuitous payment given to employee or heirs from an employer.
11:3014 - City of Alexandria employees
11:3770 -- City of Monroe bus drivers
11:3800 - City of Monroe electrical workers
11.1003 - School employees
11.1378 - Judges
11.1403 - Assessors
11.1526 - Court clerks
11.1583 - District attorneys
11.1735 - Municipal employees
11.3823 - New Orleans sewage workers
11:951.3 - Orleans Parish school employees
11.1905 - Parochial employees
11.2033 - Voting registrars
11.2182 - Sheriffs
11.2263 - Firefighters
11.3513 - Police officers
11.405 - State employees
11.704 - Teachers
11.952.3 - Louisiana University employees
23:1205 - Workers' compensation.
23:1693 - Unemployment compensation.
13.3881 - Earned Income tax credit.
46:111 - Public assistance.
46:1811 - Crime victims' compensation.
Tools of Trade
13:3881 - Tools, books, instruments, equipment, and one utility trailer needed for work.
22:558 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
22:646 - Health, accident or disability proceeds.
22:649 - Group insurance policies or proceeds.
13.3881 - Property of a minor child.
Add any applicable federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Some people can keep all assets, but that isn’t always true. Here’s what will happen to nonexempt property:
You’ll learn more about Chapter 7 and 13 in Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Louisiana. However, doesn’t include all exemptions. Also, states often create qualification requirements for specific exemptions, and Louisiana might have changed the amounts since this list was last updated. Check the Louisiana Revised Statutes or with a local bankruptcy lawyer.
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, the state exemption system, and the homestead exemption rules, read Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?