Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions: How to Protect Your Property

ohio bankruptcy exemptionsA major concern from clients is whether they will lose their property when filing bankruptcy.  Properly applying the Ohio bankruptcy exemptions allows you to protect and keep your property.  A “bankruptcy estate” is created upon the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.  Your bankruptcy estate is all of your property and property rights that the bankruptcy court has the right to “administer.”  According to the United States Bankruptcy Court website, the bankruptcy estate contains “all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property at the time of the bankruptcy filing. The estate includes all property in which the debtor has an interest, even if it is owned or held by another person.”

You are entitled to “exempt” certain items from that bankruptcy estate.  This means that any property subject to exemption does not enter the bankruptcy estate, remains your property, and stays out of the reach of the bankruptcy trustee.  Ohio is a state that has opted out of using Federal exemptions and instead applies state exemptions.  Ohio bankruptcy exemptions provide generous protection to your personal property, and you may be able to protect many, if not all, of the assets that are important to you.

You can only apply exemptions to property that you own.  If you are married and file a joint bankruptcy case the exemptions below can be doubled if both spouses’ names appear on the property (joint property).  Ohio has codified the allowed exemptions in Ohio Revised Code § 2329.66. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][NOTE: § 2329.66 is relatively detailed and complex so be sure to read it.]

Codes for Each Section


§ 2329.66 – Real or personal property used as a residence up to $132,900. Tenancies by the entirety may be exempt as to debts of one spouse.

Personal Property

§§ 517.09 & 2329.66 – Burial plot.

§ 2329.66 – (1) motor vehicle up to $3,675; (2) cash, bank, and security deposits, tax refund and money due within 90 days up to $450 total; (3) household goods, furnishings, appliances, books, animals, musical instruments, firearms, hunting and fishing equipment and crops up to $575 per item, jewelry up to $1,550; $11,525 total (4) health aids; (5) wrongful death recoveries for person you depended upon for support; (6) compensation for lost future earnings needed for support; (7) personal injury recoveries up to $23,000; and (8) Tuition credit or payment.


§ 2329.66 – Greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings. Judge may approve more for low income debtors.

In re Jones, 318 B.R. 841 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2005)


11 U.S.C. § 522 – Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).

11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) – IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,245,475.

§ 145.56 – Public employees.

§ 146.13 – Volunteer firefighters’ dependents.

§ 742.47 – Police officers and firefighters.

§ 2329.66 – Public safety officers’ death benefits; ERISA-qualified benefits, IRAs Roth IRAs and Keoghs needed for support.

§ 3309.66 – Public school employees.

§ 5505.22 – State highway patrol employees.

Public Benefits

§§ 2329.66 & 2743.66 – Crime victims’ compensation received within one year of filing for bankruptcy.

§§ 2329.66 & 3304.19 – Vocational rehabilitation benefits.

§§ 2329.66 & 4123.67 – Workers’ compensation.

§§ 2329.66 & 4141.32 – Unemployment compensation.

§§ 2329.66 & 5107.12 – Public assistance.

§§ 2329.66 & 5115.07 – Disability assistance.

Tools of Trade

§ 2329.66 – Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $2,325.

Alimony and Child Support

§ 2329.66 – Alimony and child support needed for support.


§ 2329.66 – Benevolent society benefits to $5,000.

§§ 2329.66 & 3917.05 – Group life insurance policy or proceeds.

§§ 2329.66 & 3921.18 – Fraternal benefit society benefits.

§§ 2329.66 & 3923.19 – Disability benefits needed for support.

§ 3911.10 – Life, endowment or annuity contract dividends, interest, loan, cash, or surrender value for your spouse, child or other dependent.

§ 3911.12 – Life insurance proceeds for spouse.

§ 3911.14 – Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.


§§ 1775.24 & 2329.66 – Business partnership property.


§ 2329.66 – $1,225 of any property.