Arkansas State Bankruptcy Exemptions


Section 1. Personal property exemptions of persons not heads of families

The personal property of any resident of this State, who is not married or the head of a family, in specific articles to be selected by such resident, not exceeding in value the sum of two hundred dollars, in addition to his or her wearing apparel, shall be exempt from seizure on attachment, or sale on execution or other process from any court, issued for the collection of any debt by contract: Provided, That no property shall be exempt from execution for debts contracted for the purchase money therefor while in the hands of the vendee.

Section 2. Heads of families -- Exempt personal property

The personal property of any resident of this State, who is married or the head of a family, in specific articles to be selected by such resident, not exceeding in value the sum of five hundred dollars, in addition to his or her wearing apparel, and that of his or her family, shall be exempt from seizure on attachment, or sale on execution or other process from any court, on debt by contract.

Section 3. Homestead exemption from legal process -- Exceptions

The homestead of any resident of this State, who is married or the head of a family, shall not be subject to the lien of any judgment or decree of any court, or to sale under execution, or other process thereon, except such as may be rendered for the purchase money, or for specific liens, laborers' or mechanics' liens for improving the same, or for taxes, or against executors, administrators, guardians, receivers, attorneys for moneys collected by them, and other trustees of an express trust, for moneys due from them in their fiduciary capacity.

Section 4. Rural homestead -- Acreage -- Value

The homestead outside any city, town or village, owned and occupied as a residence, shall consist of not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres of land, with the improvements thereon, to be selected by the owner; Provided, The same shall not exceed in value the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars, and in no event shall the homestead be reduced to less than eighty acres, without regard to value.

Section 5. Urban homestead -- Acreage -- Value

The homestead in any city, town or village, owned and occupied as a residence, shall consist of not exceeding one acre of land, with the improvements thereon, to be selected by the owner; provided, the same shall not exceed in value the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars, and in no event shall such homestead be reduced to less than one-quarter of an acre of land, without regard to value.

Section 6. Rights of widow and children

If the owner of a homestead die, leaving a widow, but no children, and said widow has no separate homestead in her own right, the same shall be exempt, and the rents and profits thereof shall vest in her during her natural life; Provided, That if the owner leaves children, one or more, said child or children shall share with said widow, and be entitled to half the rents and profits till each of them arrives at twenty-one years of age -- each child's rights to cease at twenty-one years of age -- and the shares to go to the younger children; and then all to go to the widow; and, provided, that said widow or children may reside on the homestead or not. And in case of the death of the widow, all of said homestead shall be vested in the minor children of the testator or intestate.

Section 10. Homestead rights of minor children

The homestead provided for in this article shall inure to the benefit of the minor children, under the exemptions herein provided, after the decease of the parents.

Arkansas Code

16-66-207. Exemption -- Family or public graveyards

(a) The clerk and recorder of deeds of the proper county, when any description of the metes and bounds of a family graveyard or public burial place shall be filed in his office, shall make a record of the description in the record of deeds, which shall be sufficient to exempt the land or burial place, not only from taxation, but also from execution.

16-66-208. Exemptions -- Wages -- Penalty

(a) (1) The wages of all laborers and mechanics, not exceeding their wages for sixty (60) days, shall be exempt from seizure by garnishment, or other legal process if the defendant in any case files, with the court from which the process is issued, a sworn statement that the sixty (60) days' wages, claimed to be exempt, is less than the amount exempt to him under the Constitution of the state, and that he does not own sufficient other personal property which, together with the sixty (60) days' wages, would exceed in amount the limits of the constitutional exemption.

(2) The party in whose favor the garnishment has been issued, and who asserts that a claim of exemption is invalid in whole or in part, by giving five (5) days' written notice to the person claiming the exemption, shall be entitled to a hearing before the court or judge issuing the garnishment upon the question of the validity of the claim of exemption. No supersedeas shall be issued for a period of five (5) days after the claim of exemption is made in order to provide time for the party in whose favor the garnishment has been issued to request such hearing. The notice required by this section shall be served by a person authorized to serve a summons under 16-58-107, and shall be filed in the office of the judge or the clerk issuing the garnishment.

(3) (A) If the claim of exemption is not valid, either in whole or in part, then the garnishment proceedings shall be stayed only as to such amount as the court may determine.

(B) If the claim of exemption is sustained, the wages of the person claiming such exemption shall not again be seized by garnishment or other legal process, for a period of sixty (60) days.

(b) (1) The first twenty-five dollars ($ 25.00) per week of the net wages of all laborers and mechanics shall be absolutely exempt from garnishment or other legal process without the necessity of the laborer or mechanic filing a schedule of exemptions as provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(2) The term "net wages" as used in this subsection shall mean gross wages less the deductions actually withheld by the employer for Arkansas income tax, federal income tax, social security, group retirement, and group hospitalization insurance premiums and group life insurance premiums.

(c) Any officer violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to the fines and penalty mentioned in 16-66-214.

16-66-209. Exemption -- Proceeds of life, health, accident, and disability insurance

All moneys paid or payable to any resident of this state as the insured or beneficiary designated under any insurance policy or policies providing for the payment of life, sick, accident, or disability benefits shall be exempt from liability or seizure under judicial process of any court and shall not be subjected to the payment of any debt by contract or otherwise by any writ, order, judgment, or decree of any court. However, the validity of any sale, assignment, mortgage, pledge, or hypothecation of any policy of insurance, or, if any avails, proceeds, or benefits thereof, shall in no way be affected by the provisions of this section.

16-66-210. Homestead Exemption Act

(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Homestead Exemption Act of 1981".

(b) The homestead of any resident of this state who is married or the head of a family shall not be subject to the lien of any judgment, or decree of any court, or to sale under execution or other process thereon, except such as may be rendered for the purchase money or for specific liens, laborers' or mechanics' liens for improving the homestead, or for taxes, or against executors, administrators, guardians, receivers, attorneys for moneys collected by them, and other trustees of an express trust for moneys due from them, in their fiduciary capacity.

(c) (1) The homestead outside any city, town, or village, owned and occupied as a residence, shall consist of no more than one hundred sixty (160) acres of land, with the improvements thereon, to be selected by the owner. The homestead shall not exceed in value the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars ($ 2,500), but, in no event shall the homestead be reduced to less than eighty (80) acres, without regard to value.

(2) The homestead in any city, town, or village, owned and occupied as a residence, shall consist of not more than one (1) acre of land, with the improvements thereon, to be selected by the owner. The homestead shall not exceed the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars ($ 2,500) in value, but in no event shall the homestead be reduced to less than one-quarter ( 1/4) of an acre of land, without regard to value.

(3) Any homestead outside any city, town, or village, owned and occupied as a residence, which is annexed to or made part of an incorporated city or town within the State of Arkansas, shall retain its exemption under subdivision (c)(1) of this section as long as the land on which it is located remains rural in nature and has a significant agricultural use.

(d) The homestead provided for in this section shall inure to the benefit of the minor children, under the exemptions provided in this section, after the demise of the parents.

16-66-217. Election of bankruptcy exemptions

Residents of this state having the right to claim exemptions in a bankruptcy proceeding pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 522 shall have the right to elect either:

(i) The property exemptions provided by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Arkansas; or

(ii) The property exemptions provided by 11 U.S.C. 522(d).

16-66-218. Exemptions from execution under federal bankruptcy proceedings

(a) The following property shall be exempt from execution under bankruptcy proceedings pursuant to Public Law 95-598:

(1) The unmarried debtor's aggregate interest, not exceeding eight hundred dollars ($ 800) in value, and the married debtor's aggregate interest, not exceeding one thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($ 1,250) in value, in real or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, or in a burial plot for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor;

(2) The debtor's interest, not to exceed one thousand two hundred dollars ($ 1,200) in one (1) motor vehicle;

(3) The debtor's aggregate interest in the debtor's or the debtor's spouse's wedding bands, including diamonds mounted thereon not exceeding one-half ( 1/2) carat in weight;

(4) The debtor's aggregate interest, not to exceed seven hundred fifty dollars ($ 750) in value in any implements, professional books, or tools, of the trade of the debtor or the trade of a dependent of the debtor.

(b) The exemptions granted in subsection (a) of this section shall be in addition to the present exemptions granted by Arkansas law as listed below:

(1) The personal property of an unmarried person not the head of a family not exceeding a value of two hundred dollars ($ 200) in addition to such person's wearing apparel -- Arkansas Constitution, Article 9, Section 1;

(2) The personal property of a married person or head of a family not exceeding a value of five hundred dollars ($ 500) in addition to such person's wearing apparel -- Arkansas Constitution, Article 9, 2;

(3) Rural homesteads not exceeding one hundred sixty (160) acres of land with improvements thereon, up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($ 2,500) in value but in no event less than eighty (80) acres without regard to value -- Arkansas Constitution, Article 9, 4;

(4) The urban homestead not exceeding one (1) acre of land with improvements thereon, but not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($ 2,500) in value, but in no event to be less than one-quarter ( 1/4) of an acre of land without regard to value -- Arkansas Constitution, Article 9, 5;

(5) The rural or urban homestead of a widow or surviving dependent children including the rents and profits from such homestead -- Arkansas Constitution, Article 9, 6;

(6) Sixty (60) days' wages, not exceeding the limits imposed by the Arkansas Constitution, Article 9, 1 and 2, but in no instance less than twenty-five dollars ($ 25.00) per week -- 16-66-208;

(7) Proceeds of life, health, accident, and disability insurance -- 16-66-209;

(8) State Police retirement benefits -- 24-6-202, 24-6-205, 24-6-223;

(9) Stipulated premium insurance benefits -- 23-71-112;

(10) Mutual assessment insurance benefits -- 23-72-114;

(11) Fraternal benefit society benefits -- 23-74-119 [repealed];

(12) Assets of delinquent insurer -- 23-68-120;

(13) Rights to unemployment benefits and benefits received but not mingled with other funds except for debts incurred for necessities furnished during the time of unemployment -- 11-10-107 -- 11-10-110;

(14) Workers' compensation benefits -- 11-9-110;

(15) Public welfare assistance grants -- 20-76-430;

(16) All contributions made by a debtor to an individual retirement account, as that term is defined for federal income tax purposes and state income tax purposes, for a period exceeding one (1) year prior to the filing of a petition of bankruptcy. However, the maximum amount of individual retirement account contributions that may be claimed under this subdivision shall not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($ 20,000) for an individual and twenty thousand dollars ($ 20,000) for a husband and wife combined;

(17) All other benefits exempt by law but not specifically enumerated herein.

16-66-219. Wedding rings exempt

A person's wedding ring shall be exempt from attachment, execution, and seizure for satisfaction of debts.

16-66-220. Pension and profit-sharing plans

(a) (1) A person's right to the assets held in or to receive payments, whether vested or not, under a pension, profit-sharing, or similar plan or contract, including a retirement plan for self-employed individuals, or under an individual retirement account or an individual retirement annuity, including a simplified employee pension plan, is exempt from attachment, execution, and seizure for the satisfaction of debts unless the plan, contract, or account does not qualify under the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(2) A person's right to the assets held in or to receive payments, whether vested or not, under a government or church plan or contract is also exempt unless the plan or contract does not qualify under the definition of a government or church plan under the applicable provisions of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

(b) (1) Contributions to an individual retirement account that exceed the amounts deductible under the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and any accrued earnings on such contributions are not exempt under this section unless otherwise exempt by law.

(2) However, the limitations of subdivision (b)(1) of this section do not apply to an individual retirement account established pursuant to and qualifying under 408(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

23-79-134. Exemption of proceeds -- Annuity contracts -- Assignability of rights

(a) Benefits, rights, privileges, and options under any annuity or variable annuity contract, which are due or prospectively due the annuitant, shall not be subject to execution, attachment, or garnishment, nor shall the annuitant be compelled to exercise the rights, powers, or options under the contract, nor shall creditors be allowed to interfere with or terminate the contract except:

(1) As to amounts paid for any annuity or variable annuity with intent to defraud creditors, including interest thereon, and of which the creditor has given the insurer written notice at its home office prior to the making of payments to the annuitant out of which the creditor seeks to recover. The notice shall specify the amount claimed, or such facts as will enable the insurer to ascertain the amount, and shall set forth such facts as will enable the insurer to ascertain the insurance or annuity contract, the person insured or annuitant, and the payments sought to be avoided on the ground of fraud; and

(2) If the total benefits presently due and payable to any annuitant under all annuity contracts under which he or she is an annuitant shall at any time exceed the exemptions granted an annuitant by law, a court of appropriate jurisdiction may order the annuitant to pay to a judgment creditor or apply on the judgment, in installments, such portion of the excess benefits as to the court may appear just and proper, after due regard for the reasonable requirements of the judgment debtor and his or her family, if dependent upon him or her, as well as any payments required to be made by the annuitant to other creditors under prior court orders.

(b) If the contract so provides, the benefits, rights, privileges, or options accruing under the contract to a beneficiary or assignee shall not be transferable nor subject to commutation, and, if the benefits are payable periodically or at stated times, the same exemptions and exceptions contained in this section for the annuitant shall apply with respect to the beneficiary or assignee.

(c) An "annuity contract" within the meaning of this section shall be any obligation to pay certain sums at stated times, during life or lives, or for a specified term or terms, issued for a valuable consideration, regardless of whether or not the sums are payable to one (1) or more persons jointly or otherwise, but does not include payments under life insurance contracts at stated times during life or lives or for a specified term or terms.

(d) A "variable annuity" contract within the meaning of this section shall be any obligation to pay sums at stated times, during life or lives, or for a specified term or terms, issued for a valuable consideration, regardless of whether or not the sums are payable to one (1) or more persons jointly or otherwise, where the sums payable vary directly according to investment experience with respect to the variable annuity contract, but does not include annuity contracts or payments under life insurance contracts at stated times during life or lives, or for a specified term or terms.

11-10-109. Protection of rights and benefits -- Assignment, pledge, or encumbrance of benefits prohibited

(a) Except as elsewhere provided in this section and 11-10-110, any assignment, pledge, or encumbrance of any right to benefits which are or may become due or payable under this chapter shall be void.

(b) Such rights to benefits shall be exempt from levy, execution, attachment, or any other remedy whatsoever provided for the collection of debt.

(c) Benefits received by any individual, so long as they are not mingled with other funds of the recipient, shall be exempt from any remedy whatsoever for the collection of all debts except debts incurred for necessities furnished to such individual or his or her spouse or dependents during the time when that individual was unemployed.

(d) Any waiver of any exemption provided for in this section and 11-10-110 shall be void.

(e) Benefits shall be subject to tax levies issued by the Internal Revenue Service in accordance with 26 U.S.C. 6331(h) provided that an agreement is entered into between the Internal Revenue Service and the Arkansas Employment Security Department and approved by the United States Department of Labor that provides for the payment of all administrative costs associated with processing the tax levies.

11-9-110. Compensation nonassignable, etc., and payable to dependents only -- Child support obligations excepted.

(a) The right to compensation shall not be assignable and shall not be subject to garnishment, attachment, levy, execution, or any other legal process, except for child support obligations and moneys retained by the Department of Correction under 12-30-406(a)(1).

(b) Money compensation to dependents of a deceased employee shall not constitute assets of the estate of the deceased employee and shall be payable to and for the benefit of the dependents alone.

(c) (1) On or after June 30, 1993, the Workers' Compensation Commission shall forward monthly a computer tape listing the name, address, and social security number, if available, on all persons for whom the commission has established a file during the preceding month to the Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Revenue Division of the Department of Finance and Administration. The computer tape shall also include the name of the workers' compensation carrier and the name of the employer.

(2) The same information shall be provided to individuals who apply for the information with the commission on an individual employee to an individual certifying that they have an interest in the child support obligations of the employee on whom the information is requested.

(d) (1) Amounts withheld from weekly compensation benefits for child support obligations shall not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the benefit amount.

(2) Amounts withheld from a lump-sum settlement on a joint petition for child support obligations shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the settlement amount.

(e) Any amount withheld under subsection (d) of this section shall be paid through the appropriate court payable to the person or agency to whom the obligation is payable.

(f) Any amount withheld pursuant to the provisions of this section shall for all purposes be treated as if it were paid to the employee as workers' compensation and paid by the employee to the person or agency to whom the obligation is payable.

(g) For purposes of this section, "child support obligations" is defined as only those support obligations which are contained in a decree or order of the circuit court which provides for the payment of money for the support and care of any child or children.

23-79-133. Exemption of proceeds -- Accident and health insurance

The proceeds or avails of all contracts of accident and health insurance and of provisions providing benefits on account of the insured's disability that are supplemental to life insurance or annuity contracts shall be exempt from all liability for any debt of the insured and from any debt of the beneficiary existing at the time the proceeds are made available for his or her use.

23-71-112. Benefits not subject to attachment

The money or other benefit, charity, relief, or aid to be paid, provided, or rendered by an insurer authorized to do business under this chapter shall not be liable to attachment or other process and shall not be seized, taken, appropriated, or applied by any legal or equitable process, by operation of law, to pay any debt or liability of a policy or certificate holder or of any beneficiary named in the policy or certificate.

23-72-114. Benefits not subject to attachment

No money or other benefits to be paid, provided, or rendered by any insurer, not to exceed one thousand dollars ($ 1,000), shall be liable to attachment, garnishment, or other process, or be seized, taken, appropriated, or applied by any legal or equitable process or operation of law to pay any debt or liability of any member or beneficiary, or any other person who may have a right thereunder, either before or after payment.

23-79-132. Exemption of proceeds -- Group life

(a) (1) A policy of group life insurance or the proceeds thereof payable to the individual insured or to the beneficiary thereunder shall not be liable, either before or after payment, to be applied by any legal or equitable process to pay any debt or liability of the insured individual, or his or her beneficiary, or of any other person having a right under the policy.

(2) The proceeds of the policy, when not made payable to a named beneficiary or to a third person pursuant to a facility-of-payment clause, shall not constitute a part of the estate of the individual insured for the payment of his or her debts.

(b) This section shall not apply to group life insurance issued pursuant to 23-83-106 to a creditor covering his or her debtors to the extent that the proceeds are applied to payment of the obligation for the purpose of which the insurance was so issued.

24-7-715. Benefit rights not subject to legal process

(a) (1) The right of a person to an annuity, to the return of accumulated contributions, to the annuity itself, to any annuity option, and to any other right accrued or accruing under the provisions of this act, and all moneys belonging to the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency laws, or any other process of law whatsoever and shall be unassignable, except as is specifically provided in this act.

(2) However, the employer shall have the right of setoff for any claim arising from embezzlement by, or fraud of, a member, retirant, or beneficiary.

(b) In the event an individual is no longer an active teacher or employee of any public school district in this state, nor on leave of absence, and is found by any court of competent jurisdiction of this state to be willfully refusing or failing to support minor dependent children of the individual in violation of a court order providing for such support, although the individual is financially able to do so, then the court may, in its discretion, order the accumulated contributions, annuity or annuity options, or any other funds accruing under the provisions of this act to be paid into the registry of the court for such further disposition as the court shall deem just and proper.

(c) (1) If, under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, there is created a court order which directs payment of all, or a portion of, a person's accumulated contributions, the payment shall be made by the system to the court.

(2) The person shall be notified by the system of the payment and shall be given an opportunity to redeposit with the system the amount of the payment.

(3) If the payment is not redeposited, then any system annuity otherwise payable to, or on behalf of, the person shall be reduced in the proportion that the payment bears to the person's accumulated contributions before the payment.

24-6-223. Interest in fund not transferable or subject to legal process

(a) No person entitled to any interest or share in any pension, any return of contributions or accumulated contributions, or any other benefit payable or to be made payable from funds of the system shall have the right to anticipate such entitlement or to sell, assign, pledge, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of or encumber such entitlement, nor shall any interest or share in any pension, any return of contributions or accumulated contributions, or any other benefit payable or to be made payable from funds of the system be liable for the debts or liabilities of the person or persons entitled thereto, or be subject to attachment, garnishment, execution, levy, sale, or judicial proceedings, or be transferable by any means, voluntarily or involuntarily, except as expressly provided for in this subchapter.

(b) Should a member be covered by a group insurance or prepayment plan participated in by the Department of Arkansas State Police and should he be permitted to, and elect to, continue the coverage as a retirant, nothing contained in this section shall prevent the board, upon the member's written request, from deducting from his pension the payments required of him to continue coverage under the group insurance or prepayment plan.

(c) The State of Arkansas shall have the right of setoff for any claim arising from embezzlement by, or fraud of, a member, retirant, or beneficiary.

24-11-814. Subjection of fund to legal process

(a) Either before or after its order of disbursement by the board to disabled members of the fire department, or to the surviving spouse, guardian of any minor children, or dependent parent of the deceased or retired member of the department, no portion of the pension fund shall be held, seized, taken, subjected to, detained, or levied on by virtue of any attachment, garnishment, execution, injunction, or other order or decree, or any process or proceeding whatever, issued out of or by any court of this state, for the payment or satisfaction, in whole or part, of any debt, damages, claim, demand, or judgment against a member, his or her surviving spouse, the guardian of his or her minor children, or the dependent parent of any deceased member, nor shall the fund or any claim thereto be directly or indirectly assigned or transferred, and any attempt to so assign or transfer shall be void.

(b) The fund shall be sacredly held, kept, and distributed for the purpose of pensioning the persons named in this act and for no other purpose whatever.

24-11-417. Subjection of fund to legal process

(a) No portion of the pension and relief fund shall at any time be subject to seizure or levy under any process whatsoever for the payment of any claim or debt held against any disabled member or the surviving spouse, dependent parent, or child of a deceased or retired member.

(b) The fund shall be securely held and distributed for the purpose of pensioning the persons mentioned in this subchapter and for no other person or purpose whatsoever.

24-10-616. Subjection of benefit rights to legal process

The right of a person to an annuity, the return of accumulated contributions, the annuity itself, any annuity option, any other right accrued or accruing under the provisions of this chapter, and all moneys belonging to a plan shall not be subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency laws, or any other process of law whatsoever and shall be unassignable, except as is specifically provided in this chapter. However, an employer shall have the right of setoff for any claim arising from embezzlement by, or fraud of, a member, retirant, or beneficiary.

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