Oregon consumers have traditionally been at a severe disadvantage in bankruptcy compared to consumers in Washington due to Oregon’s failure to allow its consumers to claim the federal exemptions to protect their property in bankruptcy. Ever since I started practicing bankruptcy thirteen years ago, I have had to watch as my Washington clients kept all of their property in bankruptcy while my Oregon clients have often had to turn over their tax refund or wages owed to them on the date of filing or the contents of their bank accounts. This disparity has finally come to an end as Oregon has now adopted the federal bankruptcy exemptions

The table below shows how the federal exemptions can be used as an alternative to the traditional Oregon exemptions. Pay particularly close attention to how the Wild Card Exemption in conjunction with an unused homestead exemption (you either don’t own a home or don’t have significant equity in the property) can be used to protect over $10,000 in property for a single debtor and well over $20,000 for married filers.

Exemption Oregon Federal
ORS 18.395/11 USC 522(d)(1)
$40,000 Individual
$50,000 Joint
$22,975 Individual
$45,950 Joint
Wild Card
ORS 18.345(1)(o)/11 USC 522(d)(5)
$400 Individual
$800 Joint
Oregon wildcard cannot be combined with or used to increase any other exemption
$1,225 Individual
$2,450 Joint
Plus, up to $11,500 per debtor of any unused homestead exemption. Federal wildcard can be added to any exemption to increase it
Motor Vehicle
ORS 18.345(1)(d)/11 USC 522(d)(2)
$3,000 Individual
$6,000 Joint
$3,675 Individual
$7,350 Joint
Household goods and furnishings, wearing apparel, appliances and books, animals and musical instruments
11 USC 522(d)(3)
$12,250 Individual
$24,500 Joint
(Maximum of $575 per item)
11 USC 522(d)(4)
$1,550 Individual
$3,100 Joint
Household goods and furnishings
ORS 18.345(1)(f)
$3,000 Individual
$3,000 Joint
Wearing Apparel and Jewelry
ORS 18.345(1)(b)
$1,800 Individual
$3,600 Joint
Books, Pictures and musical instruments
ORS 18.345(1)(a)
$600 Individual
$1,200 Joint
Animals and poultry for family use
ORS 18.345(1)(e)
$1,000 Individual
$1,000 Joint
Personal Injury Awards
ORS 18.345(1)(k)/11 USC 522(d)(11)(D)
$10,000 Individual
$20,000 Joint
$22,975 Individual
$45,950 Joint

If you would like to discuss how the federal exemptions can be used to protect your personal property contact our offices. Unlike the majority of Oregon firms, we have been practicing in Washington for over a decade and these exemptions are not new to us.

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