Colorado Bankruptcy Exemption Law at a Glance

The COBankruptcyLaw Library is not an official government site and does not contain the official version of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The official version of the Colorado Revised Statutes is available on the Internet as hosted by LexisNexis (the current printer) at http://www.michie.com/colorado. This online version of the exemption laws may provide more search and linking capabilities than are available elsewhere. This web site and its contents are for the convenience of users, who use the site solely at their own risk. If you are aware of an error on this site, please e-mail me.

In 2015, Colorado bankruptcy exemptions were revised by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor. Don't take a shortcut and end up shortchanged by any online exemptions summary, some of which are out-of-date. Be sure to review the actual language of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) or of the United States Code (U.S.C.) for the exact definitions, qualifications and scope of the exemptions. 

Also be aware that the availability and applicability of the exemptions may be affected by Colorado state court and bankruptcy court decisions. Federal non-bankruptcy exemptions are available to Colorado debtors; however, federal bankruptcy exemptions under 11 U.S.C. § 522(d) are not available in most Colorado bankruptcy cases

Section 110 of the Bankruptcy Code prohibits bankruptcy petition preparers from providing any legal advice, including help with exemptions. Anyone who needs help with Colorado exemptions should consult with an experienced attorney.

Colorado Exemptions

HomesteadColo. Rev. Stat.
Real property, mobile home, manufactured home, trailer or trailer coach, owned & occupied as home, $75,000/$105,000 if elderly/disabled (per property, not debtor)
Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim38-41-204
38-41-211
Proceeds from sale of homestead exempt for 2 years, segregated account (see 38-41-201)38-41-207
Homeowners' insurance proceeds exempt for 2 years, segregated account (see 38-41-201 & 38-41-207)38-41-209
  
Personal Property 
Wearing apparel, $2,00013-54-102(1)(a)
Watches, jewelry, & articles of adornment, $2,50013-54-102(1)(b)
Library, family pictures, school books (not including stock in trade), $2,00013-54-102(1)(c) 
One burial site or space in mausoleum13-54-102(1)(d)
Household goods (see definitions at 13-54-101), $3,00013-54-102(1)(e)
Provisions & fuel for use & consumption, $60013-54-102(1)(f) 
Agricultural stock in trade, tools of trade (see statutory language & limitations), $50,000 per debtor (& spouse, if married)13-54-102(1)(g) 
Veterans’ benefits for veteran, spouse or child if veteran served in war13-54-102(1)(h)
Military equipment of National Guard members13-54-102(1)(h.5)
Stock in trade, tools of trade (see statutory language & limitations), $30,000/$10,00013-54-102(1)(i)
Up to two motor vehicles or bicycles, $7,500/$12,500 if elderly/disabled13-54-102(1)(j)
Professional library, $3,00013-54-102(1)(k) 
Life insurance, $100,000 cash value from contributions more than 48 months prepetition. Cash value increases from extraordinary contributions within 48 months are not exempt.13-54-102(1)(l)
Proceeds of claim, including insurance, for loss, destruction or damage to otherwise exempt property, to the extent of the exemption available13-54-102(1)(m)
Personal injury proceeds except for obligations incurred for treatment or collection13-54-102(1)(n)
Federal or state income tax refunds attributed to earned income credit or child tax credit13-54-102(1)(o)
Professionally prescribed health aids13-54-102(1)(p)
Crime victim's compensation13-54-102(1)(q)
Lease or utility security deposits13-54-102(1)(r)
ERISA-qualified pension or retirement plans, deferred comp plans, & IRAs13-54-102(1)(s)
Court-ordered domestic support obligation or payment, including maintenance or child support, segregated account (see 13-54-102.5) 13-54-102(1)(u),
13-54-102.5 
Public or private disability benefits to $4,000 per month; excess amounts subject to garnishment under 13-54-10413-54-102(1)(v)
  
Insurance
Sickness & accident insurance benefits less than $200 per month; if receive lump sum, entire amount exempt10-16-212
Fraternal benefit society benefits10-14-403
Group life insurance policy or proceeds10-7-205
Homeowners' insurance proceeds exempt for 2 years, segregated account (see 38-41-201 & 38-41-207)38-41-209
Life insurance (see limitation & qualifications)10-7-106,
13-54-102(1)(l)
Life insurance proceeds if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary’s creditors10-7-106
Life insurance, $100,000 cash value from contributions more than 48 months prepetition for writs issued against the insured (calculation complicated if any contributions less than 48 months prepetition) 13-54-102(1)(l)(A)
Life insurance POD to designated beneficiary, unlimited amount exempt for writs issued against the insured; no exemption if beneficiary is insured's estate13-54-102(1)(l)(B), 
13-54-102(1)(lII)
  
Miscellaneous 
Court-ordered domestic support obligation or payment, including maintenance or child support, segregated account (see 13-54-102.5)13-54-102(1)(u),
13-54-102.5 
Property of business partnership7-60-125
  
Pensions & Retirement 
ERISA-qualified pension or retirement plans, deferred comp plans, & IRAs13-54-102(1)(s)
Firefighters & police officers, old hire pension plans31-30.5-208
Firefighters & police officers, new hire pension plans31-31-203
Public employees (PERA)24-51-212
Teachers (repealed, eff. 1/1/10; now see PERA, § 24-51-212.)22-64-120
Veterans13-54-102(1)(h), 
13-54-104
  
Public Benefits 
Aid to blind, aged, disabled, AFDC26-2-131
Crime victim's compensation13-54-102(1)(q)
Unemployment compensation8-80-103
Veterans’ benefits for veteran, spouse or child if veteran served in war13-54-102(1)(h)
Workers' compensation8-42-124
  
Tools of Trade 
Agricultural stock in trade, tools of trade (see statutory language & limitations), $50,000 per debtor (& spouse, if married)13-54-102(1)(g)
Stock in trade, tools of trade (see statutory language & limitations), $20,00013-54-102(1)(i)
Professional library, $3,00013-54-102(1)(k)
  
Wages 
75% minimum of earned but unpaid earnings, pension payments (see statute for specific details & calculation)13-54-104
  
"Wildcard" Exemption 
Unlike the federal bankruptcy exemption scheme and the exemption laws in other states, there is no "wildcard" exemption under Colorado law. 
  

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Exemptions

Death & Disability Benefits U.S.C.
Disability and death benefits paid to federal government employees as a result of work injuries 5 U.S.C. § 8130 
75% of earned but unpaid wages  15 U.S.C. § 1673 
Death and disability payments paid pursuant to the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act  33 U.S.C. § 916 
Seamen’s clothing  46 U.S.C. § 11110 
Seamen’s wages exempt except from execution other than for the support of a spouse or minor children  46 U.S.C. § 11111 
Compensation paid for injury or death resulting from a war risk hazard under the War Hazards Compensation Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1701, et seq.  42 U.S.C. § 1717 
  
Miscellaneous  
Credits given to members of the Klamath Indian tribes in Oregon by the Secretary of the Interior 25 U.S.C. §§ 543545 
Money accruing from any lease or sale of lands held in trust by the United States for any Indian 25 U.S.C. § 410 
Homesteads purchased out of the trust or restricted funds of individual Indians from taxation and title to such homesteads shall be held subject to restrictions against alienation or encumbrance except with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. 25 U.S.C. § 412a 
Debts incurred by a seaman while on a voyage 46 U.S.C. § 11111 
  
Money, Benefits, Proceeds  
A United States service member’s deposits in a savings institution while the depositor is on permanent duty outside of the United States 10 U.S.C. § 1035(d) 
Payments of benefits due or to become due under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance 38 U.S.C. § 1970(g) 
Benefits due or to become due under Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance 38 U.S.C. § 1970(g) 
Veterans’ benefit 38 U.S.C. § 5301(a) 
Exempts from offset by federal government agencies an amount not to exceed $9,000 owing to a debtor under the Social Security Act, the Black Lung Benefits Act, or laws administered by the Railroad Retirement Board 31 U.S.C. § 3716(c)(3)(A)(i) 
The Secretary of Treasury "shall exempt from administrative offset ... payments under means-tested programs when requested by the head of the respective agency," and the Secretary is given discretion to exempt from administrative offset such other payments that are requested for exemption by the "head of a payment certifying agency." 31 U.S.C. § 3716(c)(3)(B) 
Railroad workers’ unemployment insurance benefit 45 U.S.C. § 352(e) 
  
Personal Property  
Personal property exempted from levy for collection of federal taxes 26 U.S.C. § 6334 
Property of organizations designated by the President of the United States as being entitled to the privileges, exemptions, and immunities provided by the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. §§ 288, et seq.) 28 U.S.C. §§ 16091610 & 1611 
  
Retirement Benefits  
Government (civil service) employees' retirement payments 5 U.S.C. § 8346(a) 
Annuities paid to members of the armed services, based on retirement or retainer pay 10 U.S.C. § 1440 
Foreign service employees – benefits, annuities, or payments to survivors of foreign service employees under the Foreign Service Retirement and Disability System 22 U.S.C. § 4060(c) 
Special pensions awarded to persons on the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard Medal of Honor roll 38 U.S.C. § 1562(c) 
Payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Veterans’ Administration 38 U.S.C. § 5301 
Retirement annuities paid pursuant to the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974, 45 U.S.C. §§ 231 et seq45 U.S.C. §§ 231231m 
Social security benefits 42 U.S.C. § 407 
Central Intelligence Agency retirement benefit payment 50 U.S.C. §§ 403403n403r403s 
  
Survivors' Benefits  
Military survivor annuities paid pursuant to the Survivor Benefits Plan 10 U.S.C. § 1450(i) 
Annuities paid to survivors of a Justice or judge of the United States, a Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, a Director of the Federal Judicial Center, or an administrative assistant to the Chief Justice of the United States 28 U.S.C. § 376(n) 
Benefits paid to surviving spouses of lighthouse service personnel 33 U.S.C. § 775