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Washington Asset Protection Laws

Filed under Asset Protection Strategies. Fact checked on April 22, 2012.

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These assets are exempted from a state court or bankruptcy proceeding in Washington.

Homestead: Real property or mobile home up to $125,000. No limit if seeking to discharge debts on failure to pay a state income tax on retirement benefits that were received while a resident of Washington. Must record homestead declaration before sale of home if property unimproved or home unoccupied.

Pensions and Retirement Benefits: ERISA-qualified plans. Funds exempt for city employees, volunteer firefighters, state patrol officers and public employees. IRA exemptions for conventional, Roth, education, SEP and SIMPLE plans. Roth IRAs and regular IRAs up to $1,245,000 per person.

Insurance: Annuity contract proceeds to $250 per month. Group life insurance policy or proceeds. Life insurance proceeds or avails if beneficiary is not the insured. Fraternal society benefits. Disability benefits, proceeds or avails. Fire insurance proceeds for destroyed exemption.

Personal Property: Appliances, furnishings, household goods, home and yard equipment up to $6,500 total if single ($13,000 if married). No limit on any property located within Washington if seeking to discharge debt based on failure to pay a state income tax on retirement benefits that were received while a resident of Washington. Burial plot sold by nonprofit cemetery association. Books up to $3,500. Clothing, furs, jewelry and ornaments up to $3,500. Food and fuel for comfortable maintenance. Keepsakes and pictures. Motor vehicle up to $3,250 for singles; 2 vehicles up to $6,500 if married.

Tools of Trade: Farm trucks, stock, tools, seed, equipment and supplies of farmer up to $10,000 total. Library, office furniture, office equipment, and supplies of physician, surgeon, attorney, clergy or other professional up to $10,000 total. Tools and materials used in another's trade up to $10,000.

Miscellaneous: Business partnership property.

Wages: Greater of 30 times federal minimum hourly wage or 75% of debtor's weekly disposable earnings.

Public Benefits: Unemployment benefits. Industrial insurance (workers' compensation). AFDC. Crime victim's compensation. General assistance. Old-age assistance.

Wild Card: $3,000 of any personal property, with a limit of $1,500 for cash, bank deposits, bonds, stocks and securities.

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