Utah Bankruptcy Exemptions

You can protect property in a Utah bankruptcy using Utah's bankruptcy exemptions.

Updated January 30, 2019

You won’t lose everything when filing for bankruptcy in Utah. You’ll be able to use Utah’s bankruptcy exemptions to protect things you’ll need to work and live, such as a home, car, and retirement account.

Find out more about filing a Utah bankruptcy case.

Utah 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 Utah. You’ll use Utah’s state exemptions and, if helpful, the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

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?

Common Utah Bankruptcy Exemptions

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

  • Joint filing. Unless otherwise noted, when spouses file together in Utah, 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 Utah Code or the federal law.

Utah Homestead and Personal Property Exemption

78B-5-503 & 5-504 – Equity in real property or mobile home up to $30,000 if it’s the debtor's primary personal residence (not to exceed one acre). Up to $5,000 for real property that isn’t used as a personal residence. Proceeds of a sale are exempt for one year if the debtor files a homestead declaration before the bankruptcy and sale.

Utah Motor Vehicle Exemption

78B-5-506 - Equity in a motor vehicle up to $3,000.

Other Utah Exemptions

Personal Property

78B-5-505 & 5-506 - Clothing, except furs and jewelry; refrigerator, freezer, stove, microwave oven, washer, dryer, and sewing machine; health aids; food to last 12 months; beds and bedding; carpets; artwork done by, or depicting, a family member; burial plot; personal injury recoveries for yourself or a person you depend upon; wrongful death recoveries for a person you depended upon. Sofas, chairs, and related furnishings for one household up to $1,000; dining and kitchen tables and chairs for one household up to $1,000; animals, books, and musical instruments up to $1,000; heirlooms or other items of sentimental value up to $1,000. One shotgun, one handgun, one shoulderarm; 1,000 rounds of ammunition for each.

78B-5-507 - Proceeds for damaged personal property.


Utah R. Civ. Proc., Rule 64D(a) - Earnings to the lesser of (1) 75% of disposable income, or (2) 37 times the federal minimum wage per week.

78B-5-505(1)(a)(xvi) - Unpaid earnings due as of the bankruptcy filing date in an amount equal to 1/24 of the median Utah annual income if paid more than once per month and 1/12 if paid monthly.


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); §15-41-30(A)(13) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to maximum (amount changes).

49-11-612 - Public employees.

78-23-5 - ERISA-qualified benefits, Keoghs, IRAs, and Roth IRAs if the contributions were made and benefits have accrued more than one year before filing for bankruptcy.

78-23-6 - Any pension or annuity needed for support.

Public Benefits

34A-2-422 - Workers' compensation.

35A-3-112 - General assistance.

34A-3-107 - Occupational disease disability benefits.

63-25a-421 - Crime victims' compensation.

35A-4-103 - Unemployment compensation.

78-23-5 - Veterans' benefits.

Tools of Trade

39-1-47 - National Guard members' military property.

78-23-8 - Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $5,000.

Alimony and Child Support

78-23-5 - Child support and alimony needed for support.


31A-9-603 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

78-23-5 - Disability, illness, medical or hospital benefits.

78-23-5 - Life insurance proceeds if the beneficiary is the insured's spouse or another dependent and the funds are needed for support.

78-23-5 - Life insurance policy cash surrender value, excluding payments made on the contract within the prior year.

78-23-5 - Hospital, medical and surgical benefits.


48-1-22 - Business partnership property.

Add any applicable federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Nonexempt Property—Property You Can’t Protect With a Utah 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 a 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 Utah Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Utah. However, doesn’t include all exemptions. Also, states often create qualification requirements for specific exemptions, and Utah might have changed the amounts since this list was last updated. Check the Utah Code or with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

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