California State AssemblyThe National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, working closely with the California Assembly, successfully came to your aid to help raise bankruptcy exemptions in California effective January 1, 2013.

After a grueling 18 month battle, California Assembly Bill 929 was approved by the Governor on September 27, 2012 and took effect on January 1, 2013.

The bill, which serves to increase certain exemptions available to bankruptcy debtors under CCP Sections 703 and 704, will help lots of people keep more of their property when filing for bankruptcy in California.

Here’s what you need to know.

This legislation was originally introduced by Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski, a former bankruptcy lawyer and long-time consumer protection advocate. Rep. Wieckowski, who was named the Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee in the legislative session which began on December 1, 2012, is an important voice for honest California residents who have fallen on hard financial times and need the protection of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Some of the highlights of California Assembly Bill 929 include:

  • an increase in the dollar amount of the exemptions for various categories under CCP 703.140(b)
  • elimination of the exclusion for pain, suffering and actual pecuniary loss for the personal injury exemption under CCP 703.140(b)(11)(D)
  • expansion of the motor vehicle exemption under CCP 703.140 (b)(2) to one or more vehicles (it was previously the case that only one vehicle could be protected in bankruptcy)
  • an increase in the maximum income threshold for persons 55+ years of age to be eligible for the $175,000 homestead exemption under CCP 704.

Not The End Of California Bankruptcy Exemption Changes

Beginning April 1, 2013, and every 3 years thereafter, the Judicial Council is required to submit to the Legislature the amount by which the homestead exemptions may be adjusted based on the change in the annual California Consumer Price Index.  In other words, the California homestead exemption will be going up every three years based on the rise in the CCPI – a major boon to homeowners faced with rising costs.

Thanks To The NACBA Leadership

This new, consumer-friendly exemption scheme for California bankruptcy cases would never have been possible without the strong leadership of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys as well as the regional California chairs of the organization.  They worked hard so that you could benefit, and I’m glad they did.