Homestead Protection: The Texas Property Code allows a family or a single person living in an urban community to exempt an unlimited amount of equity in a homestead consisting of not more than 10 acres of land which may be in one or more contiguous lots, together with any improvements thereon. If used for the purposes of a rural home, the homestead for a family may consist of not more than 200 acres which may be in one or more parcels, with the improvements thereon; and for a single, adult person, not otherwise entitled to a homestead, not more than 100 acres, which may be in one or more parcels, with the improvements thereon. The Bankruptcy Code limits the homestead exemption available under Texas law to $136,875.00 if the homestead was acquired within the 1,215-day period prior to the filing, but the calculation of that amount does not include any equity that has been rolled over during that period from one house to another as long as the other home was also located within Texas. For those who have violated securities laws or engaged in certain criminal conduct, the cap is $136,875.00. To the extent the homestead was obtained through fraudulent conversion of nonexempt assets during the 10-year period before the filing, the exemption is reduced by the amount attributed to the fraud.
Trusts, Pension, Retirement and Profit Sharing Plan Protection: The assets contained in most trusts, and most pension, retirement and profit sharing plans, are not property of the bankruptcy estate and can not be seized by the bankruptcy trustee. If the trust or retirement plan has a provision preventing the proceeds from being transferred or assigned, and the provision is enforceable under federal or state law, the assets are excluded from the bankruptcy estate. Almost all retirement plans and trusts have such a provision. Additionally, The Texas Property Code allows an individual to exempt an unlimited amount of assets held in any stock bonus, pension, profit-sharing, or similar plan, whether vested or unvested, including a retirement plan for self-employed individuals, and under any annuity or similar contract purchased with assets distributed from that type of plan, and under any retirement annuity or account described by Section 403(b) or 408A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and under any individual retirement account or any individual retirement annuity, including a simplified employee pension plan.
Health Savings Account Protection: The Texas Property Code allows an individual to exempt an unlimited amount of assets held in any health savings account unless the plan, contract, or account does not qualify under the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Insurance Policy and Annuity Contract Protection: The Texas Insurance Code allows an individual to exempt an unlimited amount of cash value in insurance policies and the proceeds of insurance policies provided to an insured or beneficiary under an insurance policy or annuity contract issued by a life, health, or accident insurance company.
Personal Property Protection: The Texas Property Code allows a family to exempt qualified personal property having an aggregate fair market value of not more than $60,000.00, exclusive of the amount of any liens, security interests, or other charges encumbering the property. A single adult who is not a member of a family may exempt personal property having an aggregate fair market value of not more than $30,000, exclusive of the amount of any liens, security interests, or other charges encumbering the property. Qualified personal property includes, but is not limited to the following:
(1) Home furnishings, including family heirlooms;
(2) Provisions for consumption;
(3) Farming or ranching vehicles and implements;
(4) Tools, equipment, books, and apparatus, including boats and motor vehicles used in a trade or profession;
(5) Wearing apparel;
(6) Jewelry having a fair market value not exceeding $15,000.00 for a family and $7,500.00 for a single person.
(7) Two firearms;
(8) Athletic and sporting equipment, including bicycles;
(9) A two-wheeled, three-wheeled, or four-wheeled motor vehicle for each member of a family or single adult who holds a driver’s license or who does not hold a driver’s license but who relies on another person to operate the vehicle for the benefit of the non-licensed person;
(10) Unpaid commissions for personal services not to $15,000.00 for a family and $7,500.00 for a single person;
(11) The following animals and forage on hand for their consumption:
(A) two horses, mules, or donkeys and a saddle, blanket, and bridle for each;
(B) 12 head of cattle;
(C) 60 head of other types of livestock; and
(D) 120 fowl; and
(12) Household pets.
College Savings Plan Protection: The Texas Property Code provides that a person’s right to the assets held in or to receive payments or benefits under any of the following is exempt from attachment, execution, and seizure for the satisfaction of debts:
(1) any fund or plan established under Subchapter F, Chapter 54, Education Code, including the person’s interest in a prepaid tuition contract;
(2) any fund or plan established under Subchapter G, Chapter 54, Education Code, including the person’s interest in a savings trust account; or
(3) any qualified tuition program of any state that meets the requirements of Section 529, Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
Wage Protection: The Texas Property Code provides that all current wages are exempt, except for the enforcement of court-ordered child support payments;
Alimony and Child Support Protection: The Texas Property Code provides that all alimony, child support, or separate maintenance received or to be received by the debtor for the support of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor are exempt.
Professional Health Aid Protection: The Texas Property Code provides that all professionally prescribed health aids of a debtor or a dependent of a debtor are exempt.
Social Security Benefit Protection: Social Security benefits are generally protected from assignment or garnishment for debts in bankruptcy. The Social Security Administration’s responsibility for protecting benefits against legal process and assignment usually ends when the beneficiary is paid. Once paid, the benefits continue to be protected only as long as they can be identified as Social Security benefits. For example, money in a bank account where the “only” deposits into the account are direct deposits of Social Security benefits are “identifiable” and generally protected.
Workers Compensation Benefit Protection: All workers compensation benefits are exempt from seizure.
Disability Income Protection: Disability benefits are exempt from seizure.
Unemployment Compensation Benefit Protection: Unemployment benefits are exempt from seizure.