Florida Bankruptcy and Your Property
If you file for bankruptcy in Florida, will you lose all of your property? Some people put off filing for bankruptcy because they fear they are going to lose everything that they own. But this is not always the case. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are provisions that exempt certain types of property.
In order to file for bankruptcy and use the Florida exemptions, you must have been living in the state for at least 730 days. If this is not the case, when you declare bankruptcy in Florida you will utilize the exemptions from the state in which you lived the balance of the 180 days prior to the two years before you filed.
In Florida, when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll find that there are various types of property that the state exempts. These exemptions are specific to the State of Florida. States decide whether or not their residents may use federal bankruptcy exemptions, and Florida has decided against such.
Florida allows residents to unlimited exemptions on annuities and the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy. Other exemptions include:
- Personal property up to $1,000, including furniture, art, and electronics. This exemption is $4,000 if you are not claiming a homestead.
- Education savings, health savings, and hurricane savings.
- Prescribed health aids.
- Prepaid medical savings account and health savings account deposits.
Homestead and Vehicle
The Florida homestead exemption is extremely generous. Under Chapter 7, you may claim the unlimited amount of value in your home or other types of property included in the homestead exemption. An important point, in a municipality the property cannot be larger than a half acre and outside of a municipality, it may be as much as 160 acres.
Also, to get the full exemption, you must have owned the property a total of 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy. If this is not the case, then your property is exempt up to $146,450.
As an individual, up to $1,000 in motor vehicle equity is exempt. If you are married and filing for joint bankruptcy, the exemption is $2,000.
Other Homestead and Property Information
Those filing for bankruptcy can run into trouble if they have not kept up the mortgage payments on their home. If you gave a creditor a “security interest” in your home, automobile, or other personal property, they may be able to take it. Bankruptcy does not remove security interests. If payments are not made in a timely manner, then the creditor may be able to sell your home or the property either during or after your bankruptcy.
However, after you file for Chapter 7, there are various ways that you can keep collateral or mortgaged property. Usually, you may still hold your property if you continue to make payments on the debt until it is paid off, or, in order to retain it, you can pay the creditor the amount that the property is worth. Additionally, if you have put your household items up as collateral for a loan, you can retain that property without repaying any more of the debt. Finally, if the creditor exhibits improper conduct or if they use fraudulent practices, you may be able to hold onto your property.
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For More Specific Information
The information above serves as a general outline regarding common exemptions under Florida’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy statute. Under Chapter 13, you may usually keep all of your property; however, the worth of said property would be used to help determine how much of your debt you will have to pay back in the three- to five- year bankruptcy period. If you have question regarding bankruptcy in Florida contact the Law Office of Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan today at 561-264-6850.