California has two sets of exemptions which can be used in a bankruptcy case.    The exemptions are codified in California Code of Civil Procedure sections 703 and 704.  A debtor filing bankruptcy must choose which set of exemptions to use

You  cannot use both!

Which State’s exemption laws would apply to your case? [pullquote]See more on exemptions.[/pullquote]

Below are both the 703  and 704 series exemptions, current as of May 2017.  These figures are adjusted every 3 years and sometimes more often due to lobbying efforts. There are many differences between the two exemptions, but the primary difference is that the 703 series allows the use of a “wildcard” exemption which can be used to protect the value in ANY assets, up to a total of approximately $30,000 (assuming no homestead exemption is utilized).  The 704 series allows a larger homestead exemption, which would need to be used if there is more than minimal equity in one’s home.  There are, of course, other differences, but these are the main ones.

In certain circumstances, a person filing bankruptcy in California may use the federal bankruptcy exemptions, depending on where you resided during the 2 years prior to filing your case.

The California 703 Series Exemptions

See CCP_703.140. for the 703 series exemptions.

The 704 series contains a new homestead exemption for the following amounts:[pullquote]New Higher California Homestead Exemption![/pullquote]


  • (a) The amount of the homestead exemption is the greater of the following:
  • (1) The countywide median sale price for a single-family home in the calendar year prior to the calendar year in which the judgment debtor claims the exemption, not to exceed six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000).
  • (2) Three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000).
  • (b) The amounts specified in this section shall adjust annually for inflation, beginning on January 1, 2022, based on the change in the annual California Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the prior fiscal year, published by the Department of Industrial Relations.

In bankruptcy, these amounts do not apply however if your homestead was purchased less than 1215 days prior to filing the bankruptcy case

The amounts can also be reduced if there were transfers to increase equity in the property which are determined to be fraudulent.

The remaining 704 series exemptions can be found here:

See CCP704 for the 704 series exemptions.