What are the Washington State exemptions?

Washington State exemptions are typically used to protect a lot of equity in the debtor’s residence.  Thus, if you have more than $40,000 or so equity in your home or condo, you perhaps should be thinking of using these exemptions.  The ‘wildcard’ exemption is significantly less than the federal wildcard exemption.  Most of the other exemptions for personal property are also lower than the federal exemptions.

This biggest problem with Washington State exemptions is the low ceiling on bank accounts and cash:  Only  $500 and $1,500, respectively.  Be sure these assets are under the ceiling on the date of filing.

Summary of the Washington State exemptions:

• Appliances, furniture, household goods, home & yard equipment to $6,500 total for individual ($13,000 for community) per-item limit of $750. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(c)(i).

• Books & electronic media to $3,500. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(b).

• Burial ground. RCW § 68.24.220.

• Burial plots sold by nonprofit cemetery association. RCW § 68.20.120.

• Clothing, no more than $3,500 in furs, jewelry, ornaments. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(a).

• Child support payments. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(c)(iv).

• Fire insurance proceeds for lost, stolen, or destroyed exempt property. RCW § 6.15.030.

• Food & fuel for comfortable maintenance. RCW §6.15.010 (1)(c)(i)

• Health aids prescribed. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(c)(v).

• Keepsakes & family pictures. RCW § 6.15.010 (2).

• Motor vehicle to $3,250 total for individual (two vehicles to $6,500 for community). RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(c)(iii).

• Personal injury recoveries to $20,000. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(c)(vi).

• Tuition credits under state law, or IRS-qualified (529 and 530) tuition savings plans. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(e).

• Child welfare. RCW § 74.13.070.

• Crime victims’ compensation. RCW § 7.68.070 (10).

• General assistance. RCW § 74.04.280.

• Industrial insurance (workers’ compensation). RCW § 51.32.040.

• Old-age assistance. RCW § 74.08.210.

• Unemployment compensation. RCW § 50.40.020.

• Farmer’s trucks, stock, tools, seed, equipment, & supplies to $10,000 total. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(d)(i).

• Library, office furniture, office equipment, & supplies of physician, surgeon, attorney, clergy, or other professional to $10,000 total. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(d)(ii).

• Tools and materials used in any other trade up to $10,000. RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(d)(iii).

• “Wildcard:  $3,000 of any personal property (no more than $1,500 in cash, $500 bank deposits, bonds, stocks, and securities/$200 limit if debt owed to state agency). RCW § 6.15.010 (1)(c)(ii).

• ERISA-qualified benefits, IRAs, and Keoghs. RCW § 6.15.020.

• Annuity contract proceeds to $3,000 per month. RCW § 48.18.430.

• Disability proceeds, avails, or benefits. RCW § 48.18.400.

• Fraternal Benefit Society Benefits. RCW § 48.36A.180.

• Group life insurance policy or proceeds. RCW § 48.18.420.

• Life insurance proceeds or avails if beneficiary is not the insured. RCW § 48.18.410.