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How Oklahoma City Bankruptcy Exemptions Can Help You

— June 23, 2023

It may be tempting to try to conceal assets in order to keep them – don’t. Your best bet when filing for bankruptcy is complete honesty.

Oklahoma City, OK – If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, chances are one of your primary concerns is keeping as much of your property as possible. The good news is, according to Oklahoma laws, you get to keep quite a bit! 

The best way to understand just what you can and can’t keep is to speak to our specialized lawyers about the specifics of your case. Below, we look at the basics of bankruptcy exemptions that you need to understand before filing.

Federal law vs. state law

One major aspect of bankruptcy is that it is actually ruled by federal law, not state law. That means that the bankruptcy process is similar across all states, and many states also follow a federal list of exemptions. That doesn’t stop individual states from having their own individual lists of exemptions.

The state of Oklahoma not only has its own exemption list, but also insists on its use in bankruptcy trials (in other states, the debtor gets a choice between state and federal exemptions, but not in OK).

Oklahoma exemptions

Lawyer preparing a file; image by advogadoaguilar, via
Lawyer preparing a file; image by advogadoaguilar, via

Your Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyers will want you to understand the following state-specific exemptions.

  • Oklahoma Homestead Exemption – Inside a city, town, or village you can exempt unlimited equity in your primary place of residence (up to 1 acre). Outside of a city, you can exempt unlimited equity on a property of up to 160 acres. However, note that using at least 25% of your property space for business purposes will cap your homestead exemption at $5,000.
  • Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Exemption – Oklahoma allows debtors to exempt up to $7,500 in equity on their primary motor vehicle (car, boat, motorcycle, SUV, etc.);
  • Personal Property Exemptions – The state also allows you to exempt personal items, such as books, clothes (up to $4,000), food reserves, and crops (up to 1 year), burial plots, household-use guns (up to $2,000), wedding/anniversary rings (up to $3,000), Individual Development Account deposits, livestock and feed, personal injury and wrongful death damages (up to $50,000);
  • Public Benefits Exemptions – This includes social security, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, crime victim’s benefits, and public assistance (consult your Oklahoma bankruptcy lawyers for more details!);
  • Trade Tools – up to $10,000 in books, clothing, and other trade-related apparel;
  • Pensions – firefighters, county employees, judges, law enforcement officers, etc;
  • Retirement and pension accounts – as well as life insurance, 401ks, and other such savings plans, these are all considered tax exempt;
  • Wages – 75% of the wages earned in the 90 days prior to filing.

Other specific items may also be exempt when filing for bankruptcy. Child support and alimony payments, for instance, are exempt, but so is a liquor license. You will need to work out the specific exemptions in your case and confirm them with your state’s bankruptcy court. For this, it’s important to hire seasoned Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyers.

It may be tempting to try to conceal assets in order to keep them – don’t. Your best bet when filing for bankruptcy is complete honesty.

Also, since you’ll be dealing with lawyers and court clerks for the next few months, now would be a good time to educate yourself a bit on legal matters. 

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