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Washington Bankruptcy Laws

Key Points

Washington allows debtors to choose either Federal or State exemptions.

Married couples filing joint bankruptcy aren't allowed to double the exemptions, if they choose the state limits.


The state limits allow $125,000 exemption to the debtors. It applies to any real or personal property which is used as principal residence, like manufactured homes, mobile homes, condominiums etc.

$15,000 of exemption is allowed on unimproved property, if the debtor intends to use it for residential purposes.


A debtor can exempt 75% of his or her weekly disposable income or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage (whichever is greater).


$3,250 is allowed as exemption for a single motor vehicle, used for personal transportation or to maintain employment.

Married couples are allowed exemption of up to $6,500 for two motor vehicles.

Wildcard Exemptions

$3000 of any personal property (except personal earnings), out of which $1500 in value might be in cash, bank deposits, bonds, stocks & securities. Wild card exemption remains same for an individual as well as for spouses filing joint bankruptcy, and doesn't double.

Personal Property

  • Up to $3500 for all wearing apparel of individual and family, including furs, personal ornaments and jewelry
  • $3500 in private libraries, pictures etc.
  • Household goods, appliances and furnitures is also exempted for up to $6500 for an individual and $13000 for married couples, with $750 being the limit for each individual item. This includes provision and fuel too.

Professional equipment

Tools of trade, implements, materials, stock, apparatus, or other things needed to carry on occupation are exempted to a total of $10,000.

Absolute or total exemptions

  1. Family pictures & keepsakes.
  2. Child support and welfare
  3. Professionally prescribed health aids of debtor or dependents.
  4. Tuition credits purchased 2 years of filing the bankruptcy.
  5. Federal pension benefits.
  6. Industrial insurance benefits.
  7. Fire insurance proceeds for coverage of exempt properties.
  8. Unemployment compensation benefits.
  9. Disability insurance benefits.
  10. Life insurance proceeds where the beneficiary is other than the person insured.
  11. Group life Insurance proceeds.
  12. Annuity contract benefits.
  13. Public assistance grants and payments.
  14. Burial plots.
  15. City employee's retirement benefits.
  16. Police and fireman retirement.
  17. Crime victim's reparation award.
  18. Specific partnership property.
  19. Judge's retirement plan.
  20. Teacher's retirement benefit.
  21. Fraternal benefit society benefit.
  22. Property of incompetent.
  23. Police and firemen's retirement benefit.
  24. State employees retirement benefits.

Eastern District of Washington

Spokane (Main Office)

Street Address

United States Post Office Building 904 West Riverside Avenue, Suite 304 Spokane, WA 99201

Contact Number:

509-458-5300 800-519-2549 (Toll Free)

Working Hours:

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding Federal Holidays)


Street Address

The Chinook Tower Building 402 East Yakima Avenue, Suite 200 Yakima, WA 98901-5407

Contact Number:


Working Hours:

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding Federal Holidays)

Western District of Washington

Seattle (Main Office)

Street Address

United States Courthouse 700 Stewart Street, Room 6301 Seattle, WA 98101-1271

Contact Number:


Working Hours:

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (excluding Federal Holidays)


Street Address

United States Courthouse Union Station 1717 Pacific Avenue, Suite 2100 Tacoma, WA 98402-3234

Contact Number:


Working Hours:

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (excluding Federal Holidays)

Updated on:

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