Best if printed in landscape.
Exempt property -- items/property the legislature has defined as "beyond the reach of creditors;" property that cannot be taken from a debtor even though the creditors have not been fully repaid what they are owed. The purpose for defining exempt property is so a debtor and family have at least enough resources to meet their survival needs and to allow them a small foundation on which to rebuild their financial health.
The states define exempt property; for example, North Dakota defines exempt property as
N.D.C.C. §47-18-01. Homestead exemption - Area and value. The homestead of any person,
whether married or unmarried, residing in this state shall consist of the land upon which the
claimant resides, and the dwelling house on that land in which the homestead claimant resides,
with all its appurtenances, and all other improvements on the land, the total not to exceed eighty
thousand dollars in value, over and above liens or encumbrances or both. The homestead shall
be exempt from judgment lien and from execution or forced sale, except as otherwise provided in
this chapter. In no case shall the homestead embrace different lots or tracts of land unless they
N.D.C.C. §28-22-02. Absolute exemption. The property mentioned in this section is absolutely
exempt from all process, levy, or sale:
- All family pictures.
- A pew or other sitting in any house of worship.
- A lot or lots in any burial ground.
- The family Bible and all schoolbooks used by the family and all other books used as
a part of the family library not exceeding in value one hundred dollars.
- All wearing apparel and clothing of the debtor and his family.
- The provisions for the debtor and the debtor's family necessary for one year's
supply, either provided or growing, or both, and fuel necessary for one year.
- The homestead as created, defined, and limited by law.
- All crops and grain, both threshed and unthreshed, raised by the debtor on not to
exceed one hundred sixty acres [64.75 hectares] of land in one tract occupied by the
debtor, either as owner or tenant, as the debtor's home, but the provisions of this
subsection in no way affect seed, thresher, or landlord liens, and if the debtor takes
advantage of this subsection the debtor may not take any additional alternative
exemptions provided under this chapter.
- All insurance benefits resulting from insurance covering any or all of the absolute exemptions.
- Any housetrailer or mobile home occupied as a residence by the debtor or the
debtor's family, except that it is not exempt from process, levy, or sale for taxes
levied on it pursuant to chapter 57-55.
N.D.C.C. §28-22-03. Additional exemption for head of a family. In addition to the absolute
exemptions mentioned in section 28-22-02, except in subsection 8 thereof, the head of a family,
personally or by his agent, may select from his other personal property, any goods, chattels,
merchandise, money, and other personal property not exceeding in value the sum of five
thousand dollars, which also is exempt from all attachment or mesne process, levy and sale
upon execution, and any other final process issued from any court.
N.D.C.C. §28-22-03.1. Additional exemptions for residents. In addition to the exemptions from
all attachment or process, levy and sale upon execution, and any other final process issued from
any court, otherwise provided by law, a resident of the state may select:
- In lieu of the homestead exemption, up to seven thousand five hundred dollars.
- A motor vehicle exemption not to exceed one thousand two hundred dollars, or a
motor vehicle exemption not to exceed thirty-two thousand dollars for a motor
vehicle that has been modified at a cost of not less than one thousand five hundred
dollars to accommodate an individual with a permanent physical disability who is the
owner of that motor vehicle.
- Pensions, annuity policies or plans, and life insurance policies that, upon the death
of the insured, would be payable to the spouse, children, or any relative of the
insured dependent, or likely to be dependent, upon the insured for support and
which have been in effect for a period of at least one year; individual retirement
accounts; Keogh plans, Roth individual retirement accounts under section 408A of
the Internal Revenue Code [Pub. L. 105-34; 111 Stat. 825; 26 U.S.C. 408A], and
simplified employee pension plans; and all other plans qualified under section 401 of
the Internal Revenue Code [Pub. L. 83-591; 68A Stat. 134; 26 U.S.C. 401], and
section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code [Pub. L. 93-406; 88 Stat. 959; 26 U.S.C.
408], and pension or retirement plans sponsored by nonprofit corporations or
associations organized and operated exclusively for one or more of the purposes
specified in 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3), and proceeds, surrender values, payments, and
withdrawals from such pensions, policies, plans, and accounts, up to one hundred
thousand dollars for each pension, policy, plan, and account with an aggregate
limitation of two hundred thousand dollars for all pensions, policies, plans, and
accounts. The dollar limit does not apply to the extent this property is reasonably
necessary for the support of the resident and that resident's dependents, except that
the pensions, policies, plans, and accounts or proceeds, surrender values,
payments, and withdrawals are not exempt from enforcement of any order to pay
spousal support or child support, or a qualified domestic relations order under
sections 15-39.1-12.2, 39-03.1-14.2, and 54-52-17.6. As used in this subsection, "reasonably necessary for the support" means required to meet present and future
needs, as determined by the court after consideration of the resident's
responsibilities and all the present and anticipated property and income of the
resident, including that which is exempt.
- The debtor's right to receive, or property that is traceable to:
a. A payment, not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars, on account of
the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent, to the
extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of
b. A payment, not to exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars, on account of
personal bodily injury, not including pain and suffering or compensation for
actual pecuniary loss, of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a
c. A social security benefit, except that the benefit is not exempt for enforcement
of any order for the support of a dependent child.
d. Veteran's disability pension benefits, not including military retirement pay,
except that the benefits are not exempt from process levy or sale for
enforcement of any order for the support of a dependent child.
N.D.C.C. §28-22-04. Specific alternative exemptions. Instead of the exemption granted in
section 28-22-03, the head of the family may select and choose the following property, which
then is exempt:
- All miscellaneous books and musical instruments for the use of the family not
exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars in value.
- All household and kitchen furniture, including beds, bedsteads, and bedding used by
the debtor and his family, not exceeding one thousand dollars in value, and in case
the debtor owns more than five hundred dollars worth of such property, he shall
select therefrom such articles to the value of one thousand dollars, leaving the
remainder subject to legal process.
- Livestock and farm implements not exceeding four thousand five hundred dollars in
- The tools and implements of any mechanic, whether a minor or of age, used and
kept for the purpose of carrying on his trade or business, and in addition thereto
stock in trade not exceeding one thousand dollars in value. The library and
instruments of any professional person not exceeding one thousand dollars in value.
N.D.C.C. §28-22-05. Exemptions of a single person. In addition to the absolute exemptions
mentioned in section 28-22-02, except in subsection 8 thereof, a single person, in person or by
his agent, may select from his other personal property, goods, chattels, merchandise, money, or other personal property not exceeding in value the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars, which is exempt.
Federally defined (bankruptcy law) exempt property
11 USC §522; more specifically, §522(d).
N.D.C.C. §28-22-17. Nonavailability of federal bankruptcy exemptions. In accordance with the
provisions of section 522(b) of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 [Pub. L. 95-598; 92 Stat.
2586; 11 U.S.C. 522(b)], residents of this state are not entitled to the federal exemptions
provided in section 522(d) of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. The residents of this state are
limited to claiming those exemptions allowable by North Dakota law.
Exception to exempt status; when can a creditor seize exempt property --
N.D.C.C. §47-18-04. When homestead subject to execution. A homestead is subject to
execution or forced sale in satisfaction of judgments obtained in the following cases:
- On debts secured by mechanics' or laborers' liens for work or labor done or
performed or material furnished exclusively for the improvement of the same.
- On debts secured by mortgage on the premises executed and acknowledged by
both husband and wife, or an unmarried claimant.
- On debts created for the purchase thereof and for all taxes accruing and levied
- On all other debts when, upon an appraisal as provided by section 47-18-06, it
appears that the value of said homestead is more than eighty thousand dollars over
and above liens or encumbrances thereon, and then only to the extent of any value
in excess of the sum total of such liens and encumbrances plus said eighty thousand