Contrary to popular belief, people who file for bankruptcy don’t lose all of their possessions. Many assets are considered exempt, especially if you require them to live or work. Here’s a quick synopsis on what property you may get to keep when you file for bankruptcy and how to get help protecting your assets when seeking debt relief.
Florida has a special homestead exemption that many other states do not. If your home is on less than ½ acre in a municipal area or less than 160 acres outside the city, you can claim an unlimited amount of equity in personal or real property.
The state’s vehicle exemption is not as generous; you can claim up to $1,000 in equity in one vehicle. If you don’t use the homestead exemption, you can claim up to $4,000 in the equity of any property you choose.
Your Personal Property
You can claim $4,000 in the personal property if you do not use the homestead exemption or use the exemption for your vehicle. Other personal property that is automatically exempt includes preplanned funeral deposits, Federal tax refunds or income credits, health aids prescribed by a doctor, and certain prepaid savings accounts.
You will still retain access to public benefits after filing for bankruptcy, like social security, disability benefits, Veterans’ benefits if applicable, workers’ compensation benefits, and public assistance like welfare or food stamps.
Other benefits are also protected from bankruptcy in Florida, including damages paid to an employee after a work-related accident, death benefits, and annuity contract proceeds that don’t originate from lottery winnings.
Your Wages and Pensions
The state allows an exemption of up to $750 per week for the primary wage-earner in the family. Pension payments for employees of the federal government, up to three months prior to the bankruptcy filing, are also exempt. Funds sheltered in retirement accounts are exempt from both taxes and bankruptcy, such as 401(k) and 403(b) accounts, SIMPLE IRAs, money purchase plans, and profit-sharing accounts.
Filing for Bankruptcy? Protect Your Assets with the Help of a Florida Bankruptcy Attorney
Filing for bankruptcy on your own can put your assets at risk. If listed improperly on your bankruptcy application, you could lose property that would have otherwise been considered exempt. Get the help of an experienced Florida bankruptcy attorney by calling the Caplan Bankruptcy and Family Law Firm for a consultation at (407) 543-1801.