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.
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?
Here are some of the more common exemptions in Utah. When reviewing them, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:
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.
78B-5-506 - Equity in a motor vehicle up to $3,000.
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.
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.
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 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.