Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions
The Bankruptcy Code provides that certain property is considered “exempt” meaning that it is not considered part of the bankruptcy estate. By being exempt, the property is taken out of the bankruptcy estate and it may not be administered or liquidated by a Chapter 7 trustee to pay creditors. In a Chapter 13 case, exempt property is not counted in the “chapter 7 liquidation test” computation of the amount a person is required to pay back to unsecured creditors under their Chapter 13 plan.
Most persons filing for bankruptcy relief in Florida are required to to use only the Florida exemptions together with certain federal exemptions. In some cases, such as when a person has not resided in Florida for more than 2 years, the exemptions of another state or the federal bankruptcy exemptions must be used.
The Florida Constitution provides for a very generous homestead exemption. A homestead is fully exempt – irrespective of value – up to the extent of 1/2 acre if located within a municipality and up to 160 acres if located outside a municipality.
Florida provides for a $1,000 exemption for personal property. In addition, where a person does not claim or receive the benefits of a homestead exemption, an additional $4,000 exemption of personal property is allowed.
Florida provides for an exemption of $1,000 in value for motor vehicles. Motor vehicles includes includes cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Other Exempt Property
Other property that is generally exempt includes with certain exceptions:
- retirement and pension benefits
- social security benefits
- life insurance policies
- workers compensation claims
- IRS earned income credit refund