Bankruptcy Courts in California differs from bankruptcy courts in other states. Unlike some some states, in California you do not have a choice between federal or state exemptions. In California, you must apply state exemptions either CCP 703 or CCP 704. Moreover, unlike some states, in California, married couples are not allowed to double up on exemptions. You cannot mix the exemptions between CCP 703 or CCP 704. You must choose between wither CCP 703 or CCP 704.
Effective April 1, 2019, the California Bankruptcy Exemptions are as follows:
If you own a home and have a lot of equity, you would consider the CCP 704. A “home” is not just a traditional single-family house, it could also be a condominium, mobile home, boat, etc. How much homestead equity that is protected under CCP 704.730 depends on your case: (1) $75,000 if single; (2) $100,000 if married or have a dependent and they live with you; (3) $175,000 if your are at least 65 years old or mentally or physically disabled; (4) $175,000 if there is a involuntary sale of your home and either the following: if you are at least 55 years old and single with annual income of no more than $25,000 or if you are at least 55 years old and married with combined annual income of no more than $35,000.
Under CCP 704, equity in one motor vehicle is protected up to $3,325 under CCP 704.010.
If you do not own a home or have very little equity, CCP 703 might be a better option. Under CCP 703.140(b)(5), you have a “wild card” exemption of $1,550 plus any unused homestead or burial exemption under CCP 703.140(b)(1) of $29,275. The “wild card” exemption gives you flexibility to use on any property you own such as vacant land, boat, additional cars that is not property under the motor vehicle exemption.
Under CCP, equity in motor vehicles is protected up to $5,850 under 703.140(b)(2). Notice in CCP 703, motor vehicle exemptions apply to multiple motor vehicles compared to a single motor vehicle in CCP 704. If the equity in motor vehicle(s) exceed $5,850, you may apply the wild card exemption.
There are other property exemptions in CCP 704 and CCP 703 but I choose to focus on homestead and motor vehicles. Moreover, this website is not suppose to substitute a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. There are other factors you must consider when bankruptcy and I cannot discussed everything that may apply to you unless I know the facts of your case first. For example, if you have too much asset, more than what can be protected under CCP 704 or CCP 703 and you do not want to lose the unexempt assets, you should consider a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. If you have any question about Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy filing, call Muoi Chea experienced Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorney. I do offer phone consultation to residences of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Roseville, Woodland, Davis, Vacaville, Fairfield, Rocklin, Tracy, Stockton, Modesto, Vallejo, Yuba, Citrus Heights, Folsom, and surrounding cities in Northern and Central California. For over a decade, I have represented consumers and small business owners in Sacramento Bankruptcy Court and Modesto Bankruptcy Court.