Major exemptions available when filing for bankruptcy in Illinois are listed below, with a brief description of each exemption. Illinois has opted not to allow its residents to utilize the federal exemptions, so only Illinois statutes that define and list the exemptions can be used. A lawyer should be consulted to determine the particulars of each exemption and to determine all available exemptions that may be filed.

  • Homestead (equity in dwelling used as residence)
    – Up to $15,000 in value (double if married)
  • Equity in automobile
    – Up to $2,400 in value in one motor vehicle
  • Personal property
    – Household items (Family pictures, school supplies, clothes, the Bible, etc.)
    – Equity interest in any other property up to $4,000 in value
    – Title to boat over 12 feet long
  • Tools of the trade
    – Up to $1,500 in value
  • Insurance
    – Disability benefits
    – Unmatured life insurance is also usually exempt, but exceptions apply
  • Pensions
    ERISA qualified benefits needed for support
    – County employees (includes firefighters and police officers)
    – Public employees
    – Public retirement benefits
  • Public benefits
    – Unemployment
    Workers compensation
    – Public assistance
    Social security
    – Veteran’s benefits
  • Alimony and child support
    – Amount reasonably necessary for support of debtor and dependants

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Bankruptcy is a very complicated process and filing an exemption incorrectly can lead to that property being seized, even if the property would have been exempt had the exemption been filed correctly. The Illinois bankruptcy exemption statute must be used when filing for exemptions. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the particulars of filing for bankruptcy, and can recommend what chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. A bankruptcy lawyer can also ensure that your exemptions are filed correctly.