Existing law identifies particular property of a debtor that is exempt from enforcement of a money judgment. Existing law provides for the adjustment of these exemption amounts based on changes in the annual California Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Those exemptions are available to a debtor in a federal bankruptcy case, unless the debtor elects certain alternative exemptions available under federal bankruptcy law. Existing law also provides that a specified portion of equity in a homestead (as defined) is exempt from enforcement of a judgment debt, and establishes the amounts of the homestead exemptions available based on specified criteria.

This legislation increases the dollar amount of the exemptions for a debtor’s interest in motor vehicles, jewelry, and implements, professional books, or tools of the trade of the debtor or the debtor’s dependent. Additionally, beginning April 1, 2013, and every 3 years thereafter, the Judicial Council is required to submit to the Legislature the amount by which the dollar amounts of the homestead exemptions may be adjusted based on the change in the annual California Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Further, this bill increases the amounts of the homestead exemptions (to $175,000) for persons 55 years of age or older who meet specified income criteria.