Louisiana Bankruptcy Exemptions

You can protect property in a Louisiana bankruptcy using Louisiana's bankruptcy exemption laws.

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.

Louisiana Exemptions v. Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

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.

Common Louisiana Bankruptcy Exemptions

Here are some of the more common exemptions in Louisiana. When reviewing them, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:

  • Joint filing. Unless otherwise noted, when spouses file together in Louisiana, each spouse can claim the full amount of the exemption (informally called “doubling”) as long as each spouse has an ownership interest in the property.
  • List and verify your exemptions. You must claim an exemption by listing it in the official bankruptcy forms. You might qualify for exemptions not included in this article, or be required to meet qualification requirements. Consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure that you’re protecting your assets.
  • Legal citations. You’ll find each of the statutes in the Louisiana Revised Statutes or the federal law.

Louisiana Homestead Exemption

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.

Louisiana Motor Vehicle Exemption

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.

Louisiana Wildcard Exemption

None.

Other Louisiana Bankruptcy Exemptions

Personal Property

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.

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); 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

Public Benefits

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.

Insurance

22:558 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

22:646 - Health, accident or disability proceeds.

22:649 - Group insurance policies or proceeds.

Other

13.3881 - Property of a minor child.

Add any applicable federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Nonexempt Property—Property You Can’t Protect With a Louisiana Exemption

Some people can keep all assets, but that isn’t always true. Here’s what will happen to nonexempt property:

  • In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer your case will sell nonexempt property and distribute the proceeds to creditors. Find out more about the bankruptcy process and the Chapter 7 documents you'll need at each stage.
  • In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it works differently. You can keep everything you own, but you’ll pay creditors the value of the nonexempt property, your disposable income, or your nondischargeable debt (support obligations, most taxes, and the like), whichever is more, through your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

You’ll learn more about Chapter 7 and 13 in Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?

Confirming Louisiana Exemptions

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?

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