Property Exempt from Enforcement

When collecting a judgment there are assets that cannot be taken, these are called exempts properties. There are various reasons why some assets are deemed exempt from collection.

$2300 Combination

CCP 704.010

  • (a) Any combination of the following is exempt in the amount of $2,300
    1. The aggregate equity in motor vehicles.
    2. The proceeds of an execution sale of a motor vehicle.
    3. The proceeds of insurance or other indemnification for the loss, damage, or destruction of a motor vehicle.
  • (b) Proceeds exempt under (a) are exempt for 90 days after the time the proceeds are actually received by the judgment debtor.
  • (c) The fair market value of a motor vehicle is determined by used car price guides customarily used by California automobile dealers, unless it is not listed in such guides.
  • (d) If the judgment debtor has only one motor vehicle and it is sold at an execution sale, the proceeds are exempt in the amount $2,300 without making a claim. The levying officer can use the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles in determining whether the judgment debtor has only one vehicle.

Household Furnishings

CCP 704.020

  • (a) Household furnishings, appliances, provisions, wearing apparel, and other personal effects are exempt in the following cases
    1. If ordinarily and reasonably necessary to, and personally used or procured for use by, the judgment debtor and members of the judgment debtor's family at the judgment debtor's principal place of residence.
    2. Where the judgment debtor and the judgment debtor's spouse live separate and apart, if ordinarily and reasonably necessary to, and personally used or procured for use by, the spouse and members of the spouse's family at the spouse's principal place of residence.
  • (b) In determining whether an item of property is ordinarily and reasonably necessary, the court takes into account
    1. The extent to which the particular type of item is ordinarily found in a household;
    2. Whether the particular item has extraordinary value compared with items of the same type found in other households.
  • (c) If the item of a type ordinarily found in a household but determined not to be exempt because it has extraordinary value compared with items of the same type found in other households, the proceeds obtained at an execution sale of the item are exempt in the amount determined by the court to be reasonable and sufficient to purchase a replacement of ordinary value, if a replacement is reasonably necessary. Proceeds are exempt for a period of 90 days after the proceeds are actually received by the judgment debtor.

Jewelry & Heirlooms

CCP 704.040

Jewelry, heirlooms, and works of art are exempt to the extent that the aggregate equity does not exceed $6,075.

Exemption for Qualified Plans and Private Plans

  • (a) As used in this section, private retirement plan means
    1. Private retirement plans, including, but not limited to, union retirement plans.
    2. Profit-sharing plans designed and used for retirement purposes.
    3. Self-employed retirement plans and individual retirement annuities or accounts provided for in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, including individual retirement accounts qualified under Section 408 or 408A of that code, to the extent the amounts held in the plans, annuities, or accounts do not exceed the maximum amounts exempt from federal income taxation under that code.
  • (b) All amounts held, controlled, or in process of distribution by a private retirement plan, for the payment of benefits as an annuity, pension, retirement allowance, disability payment, or death benefit from a private retirement plan are exempt.
  • (c) Where an amount described in (b) becomes payable to a person and is sought to be applied to the satisfaction of a judgment for child, family, or spousal support against that person
    1. Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amount is exempt only to the extent that the court determines under subdivision (c) of Section 703.070.
    2. If the amount sought to be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment is payable periodically, the amount payable is subject to an earnings assignment order for support as defined in Section 706.011 or any other applicable enforcement procedure. But the amount to be withheld pursuant to the assignment order or other procedure will not exceed the amount permitted to be withheld on an earnings withholding order for support under Section 706.052.
  • (d) After payment, the amounts described in subdivision (b) and all contributions and interest returned to any member of a private retirement plan are exempt.
  • (e) Notwithstanding subdivisions (b) and (d), except as provided in subdivision (f), the amounts described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) are exempt only to the extent necessary to provide for the support of the judgment debtor when the judgment debtor retires and for the support of the spouse and dependents of the judgment debtor, taking into account all resources that are likely to be available for the support of the judgment debtor when the judgment debtor retires. In determining the amount to be exempt under this subdivision, the court shall allow the judgment debtor such additional amount as is necessary to pay any federal and state income taxes payable as a result of the applying of an amount described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) to the satisfaction of the money judgment.
  • (f) Where the amounts described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) are payable periodically, the amount of the periodic payment that may be applied to the satisfaction of a money judgment is the amount that may be withheld from a like amount of earnings under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 706.010) (Wage Garnishment Law). To the extent a lump-sum distribution from an individual retirement account is treated differently from a periodic distribution under this subdivision, any lump-sum distribution from an account qualified under Section 408A of the Internal Revenue Code shall be treated the same as a lump-sum distribution from an account qualified under Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code for purposes of determining whether any of that payment may be applied to the satisfaction of a money judgment.

Homestead Exemption Amount

704.730

  • (a) The amount of the homestead exemption is one of the following
    1. $50,000 unless the judgment debtor or spouse of the judgment debtor who resides in the homestead is a person described in paragraph (2) or (3).
    2. Seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000) if the judgment debtor or spouse of the judgment debtor who resides in the homestead is at the time of the attempted sale of the homestead a member of a family unit, and there is at least one member of the family unit who owns no interest in the homestead or whose only interest in the homestead is a community property interest with the judgment debtor.
    3. One hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) if the judgment debtor or spouse of the judgment debtor who resides in the homestead is at the time of the attempted sale of the homestead any one of the following
      • (A) A person 65 years of age or older.
      • (B) A person physically or mentally disabled and as a result of that disability is unable to engage in substantial gainful employment. There is a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that a person receiving disability insurance benefit payments under Title II or supplemental security income payments under Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act satisfies the requirements of this paragraph as to his or her inability to engage in substantial gainful employment.
      • (C) A person 55 years of age or older with a gross annual income of not more than $15,000 or, if the judgment debtor is married, a gross annual income, including the gross annual income of the judgment debtor's spouse, of not more than $20,000 and the sale is an involuntary sale.
  • (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the combined homestead exemptions of spouses on the same judgment shall not exceed the amount specified in paragraph (2) or (3), whichever is applicable, of subdivision (a), regardless of whether the spouses are jointly obligated on the judgment and regardless of whether the homestead consists of community or separate property or both. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, if both spouses are entitled to a homestead exemption, the exemption of proceeds of the homestead shall be apportioned between the spouses on the basis of their proportionate interests in the homestead.

Exemption for Life Insurance Policies

704.100

  • (a) Unmatured life insurance policies (including endowment and annuity policies), but not the loan value of such policies, are exempt without making a claim.
  • (b) The aggregate loan value of unmatured life insurance policies (including endowment and annuity policies) is subject to the enforcement of a money judgment but is exempt in the amount of $9,700. If the judgment debtor is married, each spouse is entitled to a separate exemption under this subdivision, and the exemptions of the spouses may be combined, regardless of whether the policies belong to either or both spouses and regardless of whether the spouse of the judgment debtor is also a judgment debtor under the judgment. The exemption provided by this subdivision shall be first applied to policies other than the policy before the court and then, if the exemption is not exhausted, to the policy before the court.
  • (c) Benefits from matured life insurance policies (including endowment and annuity policies) are exempt to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the judgment debtor and the spouse and dependents of the judgment debtor extent necessary for the support of the judgment debtor and the spouse and dependents of the judgment debtor.

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