Washington State Legislature Passes Significant Amendments to Personal Property Exemptions with Fair Shot Act Effective July 23, 2023.

Release Date: 
Mon, 05/15/2023

The Washington State legislature has enacted significant changes to the Washington personal property exemption statutes, amending RCW 6.15.010, 51.32.040, 6.67.100, and 6.27.140. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5173 was signed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 9, 2023 and the changes become effective July 23, 2023. Among the changes under the amendment are the following:

  • Pursuant RCW 6.15.010(1)(d), each married person of a spousal community is now “entitled to his or her own exemptions in this subsection…”  In effect, this amendment doubles the personal property exemptions available to a marital community.
  • Pursuant to RCW 6.15.010(1)(d)(ii), a wildcard exemption has been created exclusive to bankruptcy cases: “In a bankruptcy case, any other personal property, except personal earnings as provided under RCW 6.15.050(1), not to exceed $10,000 in value. The value shall be determined as of the date the bankruptcy petition is filed…”
  • The amendment to RCW 6.15.010(1)(d)(iv) increased the exemption in a motor vehicle from $3,500 to $15,000 in aggregate value for each debtor.
  • Exclusive to bankruptcy cases, RCW 6.15.010(1)(d)(viii) creates an unlimited exemption in personal injury proceeds: “In a bankruptcy case, the right to or proceeds of personal 20 injury of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a 21 dependent; or the right to or proceeds of a payment in compensation 22 of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the 23 debtor is or was a dependent are free of the enforcement of the 24 claims of creditors, except to the extent such claims are for the 25 satisfaction of any liens or subrogation claims arising out of the 26 claims for personal injury or death.”

Practice tips related to the amendments to Washington personal property exemption statutes will be included in a future article on the WAWB Best Practices Page.