Can I Keep My Property?

One of the first questions clients frequently ask me is, "Can I keep my property?" Often, they believe they will lose all of their property through bankruptcy. That is a myth.

Is your home facing foreclosure? Bankruptcy can stop it. Has your creditor threatened to repossess your car? Bankruptcy can stop it. Are you considering selling your property in order to pay bills? You may not have to.

In fact, many people are able to go through bankruptcy without losing anything at all. That is because certain property is exempt from bankruptcy liquidation (collection and sale). The exemption laws are challenging and the information below is simply an overview. We can discuss how the laws apply to you when we meet for your no-cost initial consultation.

What Are The Bankruptcy Exemptions In Florida?

Here is a partial list of the property exempted from bankruptcy under Florida law:

  • Home: The homestead exemption allows you to keep the home where you currently live. Florida's homestead exemption is very generous and does not have a dollar limit. There is a limit, however, to how many acres of property you can keep.
  • Motor vehicle: You can keep a car with up to $1,000 in equity. Equity is the difference between how much you owe and how much the car is worth. If, for example, you owe $700 on your car and your car is worth $1,400, then you have $700 in equity.
  • Personal property: You can keep up to $1,000 in miscellaneous personal property, including clothes and furniture. Under Florida's wild-card exemption, you can exempt an additional $4,000 per person if you do not claim the homestead exemption (see above). Your personal property is valued at the current market value based on how the property would sell at a public sale such as a garage sale.
  • Retirement accounts: Retirement benefits are exempt from bankruptcy, including 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions and public retirement accounts.
  • Government benefits: If you receive public assistance, veterans benefits, Social Security, disability benefits, workers' compensation or unemployment benefits, these are exempt from bankruptcy.
  • Wages: You can exempt six months of the "head of family's" wages, up to $750 per week.
  • Support: Child support and alimony orders that are necessary for support are exempt from bankruptcy.

As you can see, there are numerous exemptions under Florida law that may allow you to keep your property and start fresh financially. The above list is not exhaustive. There are other exemptions that we can discuss together.

A Bright Light During Difficult Times

I am Sam Pennington, a bankruptcy attorney with more than 25 years of bankruptcy law experience. I became a lawyer to help people weather the tough storms of their lives. Bankruptcy can lead to a better tomorrow. You may even be able to keep your property. Learn more by calling 407-278-7776 or 352-508-8277 or sending me an email to set up a free consultation at my Orlando or Tavares, Florida, law office.

Pennington Law Firm, PA, is a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.