Bankruptcy Exemptions in General

When filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, like all states, Florida has a set of exemptions you may use. One of the biggest questions, when you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, is whether you will be able to keep your property and that all depends on which exemptions you can use on your bankruptcy petition. They are called “exemptions” because they “exempt”, or in other words “excuse”, certain property from being turned over to the Bankruptcy trustee. In most cases, exemptions protect most everyday items that the debtors own unless you property exceeds the allowable amount for the exemption. Certain exemptions protect entire categories of property like your residence if less than one acre or retirement accounts, regardless of value.

Unlike some states where they allow their debtors to choose between the state exemptions and federal bankruptcy exemptions, Florida is not one of them. In the state of Florida, debtors must use the state exemptions, as well as being able to use the federal no bankruptcy exemptions. Additionally, if a married couple is filing jointly in Florida, each debtor may claim the full amount of each exemption, unofficially known as “doubling”. Exempt property cannot be used to pay debts. Therefore, a debtor is permitted to keep all exempt property.

Because you’ll be responsible for ensuring that you’re claiming all of the exemptions available to you, it’s prudent to do independent research or to consult with a local bankruptcy lawyer. If you wish to discuss this topic or learn more, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Ray Garcia, P.A., at 305-227-4030 or via email at legal@raygarcialaw.com for a free consultation.