Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions -- ORS

The following information on Oregon bankruptcy exemptions will apply to bankruptcy cases in which the individual filing has lived in Oregon for at least two years before filing. U.S. Code (USC) exemptions are now available; click here for more information.

These bankruptcy exemptions are primarily found in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS).

The ORS exemptions are applied to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. There is no difference between Chapter 13 bankruptcy exemptions and Chapter 7 exemptions.

Here are explanations about the most common concerns:

Car And Property Exemptions

What is the maximum equity allowed in your car or house within the Oregon bankruptcy exemptions?

ORS Section 18.345(1)(d) protects up to $3,000 equity in an automobile for an individual filer or $6,000 in equity if a married couple files for bankruptcy relief. ORS sections 18.395 and 18.402 protect up to $40,000 in home equity for an individual filer or $50,000 in home equity for a married couple filing a joint bankruptcy. The homestead exemption also protects equity in a manufactured home or fifth wheel or camper (as long as you live in that vehicle).

Retirement And Pension

How much in retirement or pension benefits can be protected in bankruptcy court?

ORS sections 18.358 and 238.445 protect 100 percent of all Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-qualified retirement plans and all federal and public pension benefits. These statutes protect your retirement plans if you are a union member, public employee or federal employee. They also protect 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts and IRA accounts.

If you are unsure if your retirement plan is protected in a bankruptcy filing, you should discuss this question with an attorney before filing a case.

Bank Accounts And Household Goods

Can I have any money in my bank account or cash on hand when I file my case?

ORS Section 18.345(1)(o) protects $400 in cash for an individual filer or $800 in cash for a married couple filing a joint case. You are unable to protect any stock or bond accounts that are not retirement-related.

Can I protect my furniture and items in my home if I file?

ORS Section 18.345(1)(f) protects $3,000 in household goods and furnishings for an individual filer or for a married couple filing a joint case. The value for these items should be assessed as "used" garage sale type value.

Tools Of Your Trade

Can I protect my tools that I use for work?

ORS Section 18.345(1)(c) protects $5,000 in tools of the trade for an individual filer or $10,000 in tools of the trade for a married couple filing a joint case (as long as both parties are active in the business activity).

Pending Claims And Settlements

Can I protect a pending workers' compensation or personal injury claim settlement?

ORS Section 18.345(1)(k) protects $10,000 in personal injury settlement funds for an individual filer or $20,000 in personal injury settlement funds for a married couple filing a joint case. ORS Section 18.345(1)(L) protects $10,000 in compensation for loss of future earnings (to the extent necessary for support of the individual's family) for an individual filer or $20,000 in compensation for loss of future earnings (to the extent necessary for support of the individuals' family) for a married couple filing a joint case. ORS sections 656.234 and 18.348(2) protect $7,500 in workers' compensation for an individual filer or $15,000 in workers' compensation for a married couple filing a joint case.

A pending Social Security Disability award should be discussed with an attorney before filing a bankruptcy case. Oregon bankruptcy exemptions must be applied to determine the timing of filing a case with this issue.

Guns And Firearms

Can I protect my guns if I file for bankruptcy?

ORS Section 18.362 protects $1,000 in value (for up to two guns) for a long gun (rifle or shotgun) and a short gun (pistol) for an individual filer, or $2,000 in value (for up to four guns) for a married couple filing a joint case. The statute protects two guns per person filing, up to the value limits listed above.

Other Bankruptcy Exemptions

Many other exemptions apply. This is just an example of some of the commonly used statutes. Oregon bankruptcy exemptions are specific and must be applied to your belongings on the date you file a bankruptcy case.

Please discuss specific questions about your personal situation with a qualified attorney to determine whether items you own would be protected from a bankruptcy trustee.

Contact Me

If you're in Eugene, Albany or Roseburg and need advice about Oregon bankruptcy exemptions or filing, feel free to contact me for a free, no-obligation consultation.