South Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Updated May 24, 2016

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

South Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions

Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the  South Dakota Codified Law.


43-31-1 & 43-31-2 & 43-31-5 - Real property, including mobile home if larger than 240 square feet and registered in state at least 6 months prior to filing bankruptcy, of unlimited value; but cannot exceed 1 acre in a town or 160 acres elsewhere. Sale proceeds are exempt for 1 year after sale up to $30,000 (up to $170,000 if a widow, widower, or over 70 years old and not married). Spouses may not double. Spouse or child of a deceased owner may also claim exemption. Cannot include gold or silver mine, mill, or smelter.

Personal Property

43-45-2 - All debtors may claim clothing; food and fuel to last 1 year; bible and books up to $200; pictures; church pew; burial plot; health aids professionally prescribed.

47-29-25 - Cemetery association property.


15-20-12 - Earned wages owing 60 days prior to filing for bankruptcy, needed for support.

24-8-10 - Wages of prisoners in work programs.


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.

3-12-115 - Public employees.

9-16-47 - City employees.

43-45-16 - ERISA-qualified benefits up to $1,000,000 of income and distribution.

Public Benefits

23A-28B-24 - Crime victims' compensation.

28-7A-18 - Public assistance.

61-6-28 - Unemployment compensation.

62-4-42 - Workers' compensation.

Tools of Trade

See Personal Property.


43-45-6 - Life insurance proceeds if beneficiary is surviving spouse or child up to $10,000.

58-12-4 - Health benefits up to $20,000; endowment or life insurance policy, proceeds or cash value up to $20,000.

58-12-8 - Annuity contract proceeds up to $250 per month.

58-15-70 - Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.

58-37A-18 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.


43-45-2(9) - Court ordered alimony or support if not a lump sum, up to $750 per month.


43-45-4 - $5,000 of any personal property; $7,000 if head of family.


Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

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

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