Bankruptcy Exemptions in Florida
Filing for bankruptcy to fight off massive debt can be a pretty frightful experience, if you are going through it without the help of a bankruptcy lawyer. The common message in news and entertainment medias is that bankruptcy is going to take away all of your debt, but also all of your possessions. The reality could not be further from the truth. With a carefully planned bankruptcy and Florida State’s own bankruptcy exemption rules, you may be able to walk away from your debt with more to your name that you first believed.
If you are a resident of Florida who has lived within the state for at least 730 days (2 years), you should qualify for most, if not all, of Florida’s bankruptcy exemptions.
Some of the most prominent, common, and useful bankruptcy exemptions in Florida are:
Automobile: Florida bankruptcy exemptions are not too kind to motor vehicles. You will only be able to exempt up to $1,000 worth of your car’s value should you file for bankruptcy.
Benefits and polices: Many benefits or compensation earned through employment or hardship are fully exempt under Florida bankruptcy law. This may include workers’ compensation benefits, monies earned through personal injury lawsuits, and life insurance policy payments made directly in your name.
Homestead: If you own a home or property in a city or township that is less than half an acre, it can qualify for an unlimited homestead exemption, meaning you can protect its entire value from bankruptcy collections. The same can be said if you own land in an isolated or rural area that is less than 160 acres.
Personal affects: You can keep up to $1,000 worth of your own “stuff” through Florida’s personal property exemptions; this can include furniture, electronics, appliances, etc. You should also be able to keep the full value of your prescription medications, medical saving accounts, and also savings based on hurricane relief funds.
Wages: The first $750 you earn each week through wages and salary are protected through wage exemption. Beyond that, or money earned by people who are not the head of your household, are likely to be collected.
Wildcard: If you do not or cannot benefit from the homestead exemption (see above), you are given the choice of the “wildcard exemption.” This will allow you to keep $4,000 of personal property that otherwise would have not been exempt.
The list of exemptions for your own bankruptcy filing could be shorter than the list above, or significantly longer. It all depends on the details of your case and your personal finances and expenses. To get a complete idea of how much you can protect from bankruptcy, be sure to contact our Jacksonville bankruptcy attorneys at Albaugh Law Firm today. We can even get you started with a free and confidential case evaluation.