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Bankruptcy Exemptions Under California Law: The Basics

Declaring bankruptcy in California can be a great decision that brings peace of mind and hope to someone beleaguered by debt. It is also a serious decision that requires the professional advice of an attorney that practices California bankruptcy law. Unlike other legal situations, bankruptcy law involves both state and federal statutes, court opinions, rules, and regulations. What results is a complex web of intricate details that must be correctly navigated to bring about the best result possible in a case.

One of those complex areas of bankruptcy laws is the exemptions that apply during a bankruptcy. Generally speaking, when a person declares bankruptcy his property is transferred from his ownership to a bankruptcy estate where it is overseen by a trustee. Then, under applicable laws, the trustee and person declaring bankruptcy try to agree on which assets will be forfeited because of the bankruptcy and which will be retained under the allowable exemptions.

Types and Kinds of Exemptions

Under Federal law, 11 U.S.C. § 522(d), a debtor can exempt certain types of property from bankruptcy proceedings. The federal exemptions include personal retirement accounts, certain real property like a homestead, support or recover payments, and others. With each exemption comes a litany of rules that must be applied to each sought after exemption. The federal exemption scheme allows a state to opt out of its scheme and apply its own exemptions, and this is what California did.

California has its own list of exemptions with rules on how they apply. California’s bankruptcy exemptions can be found in the California Code of Civil Procedure. The laws and rules of California’s exemptions is just as complex and full of detail as the federal system. Under California’s system a debtor must choose between two different systems of exemptions. Under these systems a debtor can exempt:

  • Equity in a home;
  • Personal vehicle;
  • Personal property of a certain nature;
  • A percentage of the wages you make;
  • Retirement or public benefits;
  • Tools needed to work in a trade.

These are not all of the exemptions available, but they represent the majority. Each system has its own rules for how much of an exemption will apply and whether it can be claimed at all. The applicability is fact-based, so it is important to have a professional with experience and who knows what to look for to ensure that every applicable exemptions is granted.

Trusting a Professional to Get it Right

As you can see with this short overview, bankruptcy law in California is very complicated. Just the exemptions systems alone are enough to confuse even the brightest and most intelligent person. This is why it is so important to have a professional California bankruptcy attorney guide your through your bankruptcy process to ensure that it is done right, and to make sure you get all the benefits that the law allows.

At The Bankruptcy Law Center we are a California Bankruptcy Firm. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge that your case deserves. If you are considering a bankruptcy in California, contact us. We look forward to going over your case with you and providing you with your legal options.

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Roger C.

I reached out to BLC to help assist with a chapter 7 business bankruptcy and they provided excellent guidance, advice, and support through the entire process. In my case an adversarial action was filed by one of the creditors and attorney Ahren Tiller and his staff provided sound ...arguments which prevailed. Couldn’t have found a more experienced and supportive team to represent me in a tricky situation. I would highly recommend them to anyone making the difficult but sometime necessary decision to find financial relief. Read more
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Justin R.

Like many others before and during the pandemic, life happenings caused me to be in a financial situation to warrant bankruptcy. The BLC was super professional all the way through the entire process. Right after I paid for my Bankruptcy, I got sick and had to have surgery and recovery. Then we ...were in full Pandemic mode. They were gracious to delay my filing until I was recovered and ready to file. I could not ask for more. The process was over all quick and painless for a simple Bankruptcy like mine. I feel a weight has been lifted and I can rebuild. Thank you for all your arduous work and patience, Gabriel, Ahren, and their teams are knowledgeable and efficient. Read more
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Responsive, friendly, kind, extremely easy to work with! So knowledgeable and made this entire process painless. Very grateful!

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Lynn Molina

Gabriel Hanna, Esq and the staff at BLC helped me in a very difficult time. I appreciate all the help and care they gave my case.

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Linda Cramer

I can’t say enough of how much this bankruptcy law firm helped me with my financial situation. They were all so helpful, efficient and made the difficult time and process as quick and easy as possible. I would recommend them to anyone I know and am glad to give my public recommendation as well. T...hey truly deserve a five star plus rating. Read more
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Andrea N.

I am very happy with my experience with BLC. Bankruptcy is not something anyone wants to go through, however everyone at BLC made my experience pleasant and easy. The process was explained thoroughly and I had an easy time reaching out and connecting with my attorney. Anika Renaud-Kim was my attorney ...and she was nothing short of amazing! She was very patient and generous with her time. Ms. Renaud-Kim definitely made me feel at ease and comfortable through the entire process. Read more
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Lidia Paramore

they did a great job for me, helped me anytime I needed something, my Lawyer Gabriel Hanna is the best, gave lots of confidence all the time..thanks BLC I will.always recommend you, I’m very grateful for your service!!!

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Rachael C.

When searching for information I had called a few different firms and received consults. BLC was the only one who didn’t shy away and provided answers and information during the consult. Once I agreed to move forward, they were supportive, informative, and eased my anxiety through the whole process.... I can’t recommend them enough. Read more
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Emily Martinez

AmazingI had many questions and uncertainties and the carefully explained it all and made it easy to understand. They facilitated a fast and easy process making this scary difficult thing simple

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Legal Disclaimer: The Bankruptcy Law Center is a California Licensed law firm with attorneys licensed in the state of CA, NY. Attorney Ahren Tiller is responsible for this advertisement. Bankruptcy Law Center’s principal office is located at 1230 Columbia st. Suite 850 San Diego, CA 92101. Prior results listed on this site do not depict or in any way infer a prediction or outcome.We are a debt relief agency proudly providing options to people with financial problems. View our Privacy Policy

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