Understanding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions In Florida
If you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, some of your estate MAY be liquidated to repay your creditors. In most bankruptcy cases, the trustee finds very little to liquidate and consumers are allowed to protect or exempt some of their assets from liquidation. All states have various bankruptcy exemptions. In this article, we’ll discuss what you must turn over to the bankruptcy trustee and what can be protected using Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions in Florida.
There are two types of exemptions. The first involves specific property that cannot be liquidated to repay a creditor. The second involves a wildcard exemption. The wildcard exemption allows you to protect any personal property that is not otherwise listed as exempt from liquidation. This can include valuable collectibles, your car, bank accounts, income tax returns, and just about anything else that is deemed personal property. Real property is not personal property and therefore, the wildcard exemption does not apply. The wildcard exemption allows you to protect $4,000 in personal assets regardless of what they are. The wildcard exemption can only be used if the debtor does not exempt real property such as their homestead. If the Debtor exempts their homestead, for example, they are only entitled to $1000 personal property exemption and cannot use the wildcard exemption. If this is a joint filing, the wildcard exemption allows $4000 per debtor. The personal property exemption allows $1000 per person and $2000 if a joint case is filed.
Alimony and child support payments
Both of these can be conditionally exempted from bankruptcy liquidation. Monies that are necessary for the debtor’s support or their child’s support are exempt from bankruptcy liquidation.
Motor vehicle exemptions
You can protect up to $1,000 in motor vehicle equity or twice that amount if you are married. Wildcard exemptions can be used to protect additional equity.
Florida residents can protect an unlimited amount of equity in their home so long as it was purchased 1,215 days prior to the bankruptcy filing. This is among the most generous homestead exemptions in the country. However, there are exceptions.
Florida law allows you to protect up to $750 per week, 75% of your wages or 30 times the minimum wage, whichever is greater.
Certain insurance policies are exempt from liquidation. These include life insurance, accident insurance, and fraternal order society benefits.
Most retirement accounts are exempt from liquidation in Chapter 7. These include 401(k)s, IRAs, and similar benefit plans. They also include public employee pensions, teacher pensions, and police officer and firefighter pensions and benefit plans.
Public benefits and entitlements
Social security, disability payments, and unemployment payments are exempt from bankruptcy liquidation in Florida.
A creditor cannot liquidate any health aids you possess or funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA). Certain personal injury judgments may also be exempt.
Other exemptions may apply to your case. A Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer can ensure that you make the best use of your exemptions. Exemptions are complicated and can be tricky.
Talk to a Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
The Law Offices of Carol Galloway help consumers struggling with financial debt wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Call a Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer at our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your options immediately.