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Tools of trade is a term generally used in bankruptcy law to determine what property a person would commonly use for the purpose of making a living, as items that are tools of trade are separately exempt from attachment with an additional amount above that normally given for a person's property.

Under bankruptcy law, the applicable exemption for tools of the trade is determined by state law (state exemption statutes) or federal law (federal bankruptcy exemptions) and by the amount of time a person spent living in a particular state prior to filing. An attorney can help determine which assets are exempt and which exemptions are applicable.

For example, a person might be allowed an exemption for household goods, and could use an additional exemption for tools of trade. Anything the person can show is used by them for earning a living is carried under this separate exemption. Thus, a candlemaker would have to list a personal computer under household goods, but a computer programmer could be able to claim a computer as part of the tools of trade.