North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Updated December 21, 2016

Like all states, North Dakota 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 North Dakota is not one of them. In North Dakota, 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 North Dakota, 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?  

North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the  North Dakota Century Code.


28-22-02 & 47-18-01 - Real property, mobile home, or house trailer up to $100,000. Spouses may not double.

Personal Property

28-22-02 - Wearing apparel to $5,000; clothing; fuel and food to last 1 year; bible or other religious texts; books and schoolbooks; family pictures; church pew; burial plots; crops or grain raised on the debtor's land, limited to 160 acres; insurance proceeds for exempt property.

28-22-03.1 - Motor vehicle up to $2,950 ($32,000 if modified for a physically disabled person); personal injury recoveries up to $15,000; wrongful death recoveries up to $15,000; health aids.


32-09.1-.03 - The greater of the following: 40 times the federal minimum wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings. Judge may approve more for a  low-income debtor.

Note: wage exemption cannot be used in bankruptcy.  


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.

28-22-03.1 - Disabled veterans' benefits (does not include military retirement pay); annuities, pensions, IRAs, Keoghs, simplified employee plans up to $100,000 each. Together with the insurance exemption under this section total may not exceed $200,000. No limit however if needed for support.

28-22-19 - Public employees.

54-52.2-06 - Public employees deferred compensation.

Public Benefits

28-22-03.1 - Social Security and Veteran's disability benefits.

28-22-19 - Public assistance; crime victims' compensation.

52-06-30 - Unemployment compensation.

52-09-22 - Survivor insurance and old age insurance program benefits.

65-05-29 - Workers' compensation.

Tools of Trade

28-22-03.1(3) - Implements of trade, books, and tools to $1,500.


26.1-15.1-18 & 26.1-33-40 – Fraternal benefit society benefits; unmatured life insurance contracts except  for credit life insurance.

26.1.33-40 - Life insurance proceeds payable to the decedent's estate (not to a specific beneficiary).

28-22-03.1(5) - Life insurance surrender value to $8,000 per policy if the  beneficiary is a relative of the insured and the policy has been in existence for more than 1 year before filing for bankruptcy. No limit if needed for support.


14-09-09.31 - Child support payments.


28-22-03.1(1) - $10,000 of any property in lieu of homestead.

28-22-03 - $7,500 of any personal property of the head of household.

28-22-05 - $3,750 of any personal property if unmarried with no dependents.


Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in North Dakota. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, North Dakota may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated. Consider checking with your local bankruptcy court or a local bankruptcy attorney.  

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