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Texas Bankruptcy Exemptions

May 14, 2020

You have a choice of exemptions when filing bankruptcy. You can file according to the federal exemptions or according to Texas. Texas is debtor friendly and rather generous with exemptions.


Your main home you occupy has an unlimited homestead exemption, so long as your homestead is not over 10 acres for an urban family home and including any improvements. If you live in a rural area with a family you are entitled to a 200-acre exemption, and 100 acres if you are single. The exception to this is a claim on behalf of a mortgage lender, IRS, property taxes if you owe them and for homeowners associations. If you sell your home the proceeds of the sale are exempt for six months post sale.

If your property acreage is larger than what is outlined above by the homestead exemption, you may need to file a homestead declaration.

Personal Property – What about my pet? My tools? My livestock?

Personal property belonging to a single person has an exemption of up to $50,000. Families have an exemption of up to $100,000.

Included is the list of exemptions per the Texas statute:

  • Home furnishings including heirlooms

  • Food

  • Clothing

  • Jewelry not over $25,000

  • Two Firearms

  • Sporting or athletic equipment

  • A two, three or four wheeled motor vehicles for each family member or single adult with a valid driver's license or one who relies on someone with a valid driver's license for their benefit

  • Farm and ranch motor vehicles and their implements

  • Tools, books, equipment, boats and motor vehicles for trade or professions

  • Animals including food to feed them:

    • The household pets

    • Two horses, mules or donkeys with a saddle, blanket and bridle for each

    • Twelve head of cattle

    • Sixty head of “other” types of livestock

    • One hundred twenty fowl

  • Current earnings from personal services, except for child support

  • Unpaid commissions for personal services not over 25 percent

  • Health aides prescribed for the debtor

  • Alimony or separate maintenance received or anticipated to be received by the debtor for a dependent of the debtor

  • Bible

  • Qualified Savings plans including stock bonuses, pensions, annuities, deferred compensation, profit-sharing, health savings plans, education, only to the degree the plan is exempt from taxes or until taxes are deferred until payment to the person. This includes Roth, retirement plans, and Coverdell education savings plans.

Your Car

Yes, as listed above in personal property you may claim as an exemption 1 motor vehicle per member in the household. You can exempt the vehicle also, if the person living in the home doesn't have a driver's license, but relies on another family member for use.

Other Exemptions Include:

Firefighter and police pension plans

Judge's pension

Pensions belonging to state employees, elected officials or municipal employees

Teacher retirement

Insurance for fraternal benefit societies such as the Elks club, Knights of Columbus

Health, life and accident insurance, Texas employee uniform group insurance, Texas public school employees' group insurance and Texas state college or university employee benefits.


Federal law has a wildcard provision for property exemptions. The debtor's property interest up to $1,250 plus up to $11,850 of any unused amount of the exemption of $23,675.

This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.