Iowa Bankruptcy Exemptions

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Exemptions in Iowa

Iowa law uses state, rather than federal, bankruptcy exemptions. Many of the major Iowa exemptions are listed below. If filing bankruptcy as a married couple, the amounts listed may be higher. Please consult a bankruptcy attorney for further information on filing bankruptcy in Iowa. 

- Full value of homestead up to ½ acre in a city or town, or 40 acres
Equity in automobile
- Up to $7,000 value in any motor vehicle 
• Personal property
- $7,000 in household goods and clothing, including storage items
- $2,000 in jewelry
- Engagement/wedding ring (value limited if purchased in last two years)
- $1,000 in bibles, books, portraits, pictures, and paintings 
- Prescribed health aids
- Burial plots and cemeteries of up to one acre
- One shotgun, and one rifle or one musket
- Liquor license
• Wages and cash
- Wages garnished depend on amount of income earned, and range from $250/year for households earning less than $12,000 annually to 10% of income for those earning more than $50,000
- Wages earned during imprisonment
- Up to $1,000 in accrued wages or tax refunds
• Tools of the Trade
- Up to $10,000 in trade implements
- Implements and equipment for normal farming
- Livestock and feed for normal farming
• Insurance
- Public employee group insurance 
- Life insurance proceeds where spouse, child, or dependent is beneficiary
- Health, accident, or disability insurance proceeds
• Pensions and Retirement
- Public employee pensions (includes firefighters, police, etc.)
- Other pensions as needed for support
- Some portion of retirement plans and IRAs
• Public benefits
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers’ compensation
- Public assistance
- Crime victims’ reparation
- Social security
- Veterans’ benefits
• Child support/alimony
- Alimony and child support to the extent necessary for support
• Wild card
- Up to $1,000 in personal property, can include cash

How Does the Wildcard Exemption Work?

The wildcard exemption can be used by the debtor to save any property, including property not covered by the other exemptions. The catch is that the debtor can only save up to $1,000, including cash.

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Iowa laws regarding bankruptcy are complex, and a qualified bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you navigate the system. A lawyer can also help you avoid common filing mistakes and get all of the exemptions you qualify for.

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Last Modified: 12-21-2015 04:13 PM PST

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