Exemptions In Florida Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy in Florida is largely like filing in any other state, as debtors must follow federal law. However, Florida law outlines bankruptcy exemptions within the state that must be applied for anyone filing bankruptcy in the state. Fortunately, the exemptions allowed by state law are more liberal than those in other states, and even those under national law. If you are filing for bankruptcy, below are the most common exemptions allowed in Florida.
The Homestead Exemption
You are allowed to exempt the equity in your home under Florida law, and there is no cap on that equity. For example, if your home is valued at $750,000 and you no longer have a mortgage on it, neither the bankruptcy trustee nor your creditors can require a sale of the home to pay off your debt. The exemption applies to properties on a half-acre or less within a municipality, or properties on 160 acres or less located outside of a municipality. To use the exemption, you must have been the owner of the property for a minimum of 1,215 days prior to filing.
The Motor Vehicle Exemption
You can exempt up to $1,000 in the equity you have in your motor vehicle. This amount is not very high and so, it is not uncommon for borrowers to lose their vehicle when they file for bankruptcy in Florida.
The Wage Exemption
You can exempt as much as $750 of your weekly wages if you are the head of the family. The exemption applies to unpaid and paid wages, as well as any wages placed into your bank account for a maximum of six months prior to filing bankruptcy. Other family members can also keep up to three-quarters of their salary, or thirty times the minimum wage outlined under federal law, whichever amount is larger.
Exemptions for Personal Property
Certain types of personal property are exempt from being seized and sold to pay debts in bankruptcy. These include:
- A maximum of $1,000 in personal property, with the amount increasing to $4,000 for borrowers that choose not to use the homestead exemption
- Education savings and health savings
- Tax refunds and credits
- Prescription home health aids
- Any funeral costs paid to a state trust
- Certain property within a professional partnership
The Wildcard Exemption
If you choose not to use the homestead exemption, you can use the wildcard exemption to exempt up to $4,000 of your personal property. If you file bankruptcy jointly with your spouse, the wildcard exemption doubles to $8,000. If you own your home but do not have any equity in it, you can also use the wildcard exemption.
Our Bankruptcy Lawyers in Orlando Can Determine Which Exemptions are Right for You
If you are filing bankruptcy, our Orlando bankruptcy lawyers at Anderson & Ferrin, P.A. can advise on the exemptions available in your case and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 407-412-7041 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.