What Property Can I Keep If I File for Bankruptcy in Oklahoma?

Many people are hesitant to consider bankruptcy in Oklahoma because they fear losing what little property they have to their creditors. But in fact, the typical Oklahoma debtor is able to protect most of his or her personal property through a series of legal exemptions. These exemptions are available in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and may, depending on your overall financial situation, cover all of your assets.

Although bankruptcy is governed by federal law, individual states can establish their own bankruptcy exemptions and require their residents to use them. This is what Oklahoma does. Fortunately, Oklahoma’s exemptions are quite generous.

Oklahoma’s Homestead Exemption

The most important exemption for many debtors is the “homestead” exemption. This applies to the debtor’s primary residence, including a house or manufactured home. While some states restrict the amount of equity in a home that a debtor can exempt, Oklahoma does not. However, Oklahoma does limit the acreage of real property that can be exempt: no more than 1 acre in a city or town, or 160 acres anywhere else in the state.

Other Personal Property Exemptions

In addition to the house itself, Oklahoma law exempts any “household or kitchen furniture” used in a debtor’s primary residence, “including a personal computer and related equipment.” Some other personal property exemptions of note include:

  • Up to $10,000 in books, tools, or equipment used in farming or “any trade or profession” by the debtor or a dependent family member;
  • Up to $7,500 of equity in a motor vehicle;
  • Any family heirlooms, such as “books, portraits, and pictures”;
  • Up to $4,000 in “wearing apparel”;
  • Up to a $3,000 interest in any wedding or anniversary rings;
  • Livestock for personal or household use, up to 100 chickens, 2 horses, 5 milk cows (and their calves under 6 months of age), 10 hogs, and 20 head of sheep; and
  • Up to $2,000 in guns held for family or personal use.

Wage and Benefit Exemptions

By law, Oklahoma automatically exempts 75 percent of any wages earned by the debtor within the 90 days preceding a bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy court may exempt a higher percentage than this if the debtor can demonstrate financial hardship. Most public and court-ordered benefits, such as workers’ compensation and Social Security income, are 100 percent exempt. Federal law further exempts many types of pension benefits.

Get Help From an Oklahoma City Bankruptcy Attorney

This is just a brief overview of the bankruptcy exemption system in Oklahoma. There many be a number of other exemptions not listed above that are applicable to your situation. This is why you should contact an experienced Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyer if you are thinking about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection. Call Deborah Brooks & Associates, P.C., at (405) 840-6363 or (580) 353-4353 to schedule a consultation today.