Whether you are filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you should be aware and take advantage of the numerous asset exemptions established under state law. Property and assets exempt from bankruptcy proceedings cannot be liquidated by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and cannot be factored into a Chapter 13 Plan of Reorganization.
However, it can be difficult to fully understand bankruptcy exemptions in Jacksonville without assistance from an experienced legal professional. Once retained, a bankruptcy attorney could ensure that you know about every exemption available in your circumstances and help you maximize the amount of property and personal wealth you can keep throughout your case.
Exempt Personal Property
Most individuals filing for bankruptcy in Jacksonville are required to use the exemptions established under state law rather than those allowed under federal law. As it turns out, Florida’s exemptions are significantly more generous than federal exemptions in several areas.
For example, unlike many other states, Florida allows bankruptcy petitioners to exempt all equity in their homestead, provided that the petitioner has owned the property for more than 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy. Anyone who has owned their home for less than that amount of time is limited to the federal homestead exemption. As of 2019, the exemption is $25,150 for individuals and $50,300 for married couples. The amount increases every three years.
Additionally, each petitioner can protect $1,000 worth of personal property like furniture or electronics. If a petitioner does not use the homestead exemption, Florida’s “wildcard” exemption protects an additional $4,000 of personal property. Finally, each bankruptcy petitioner can claim up to $1,000 in motor vehicle equity as exempt from liquidation during Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Financial Bankruptcy Exemptions in Jacksonville
In addition to personal property, bankruptcy petitioners can exempt money in specially designated savings accounts meant for any of the following:
- Healthcare, including deposits in prepaid medical savings accounts
- Hurricane preparation
- Funeral costs
Petitioners who are the head of a family can also exempt a maximum of $750 in paid and unpaid weekly wages earned before the bankruptcy filing. In contrast, petitioners who are not the head of a family can exempt all but 25 percent of their weekly pay or 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less. Various types of pension plans are exempt, including municipal police pensions, firefighter pensions, retirement benefits for teachers, and all ERISA-certified retirement plans.
Anyone who receives alimony or child support payments can exempt those from their bankruptcy proceedings, provided that those payments are reasonably necessary for the debtor to support themselves and their family. Numerous public benefits are also exempt from bankruptcy proceedings, including social security benefits, workers’ compensation, and disability income. An experienced lawyer in the area could examine a debtor’s particular case and determine if they are eligible for any of these bankruptcy exemptions.
Consult a Qualified Attorney About Jacksonville Bankruptcy Exemptions
The list of exemptions above is not exhaustive, and there may be many additional exemptions that you could benefit from in your unique situation. The court generally will not remind you of these exemptions, though, so enlisting help from a qualified attorney could be in your best interests.
You could have a much easier time taking advantage of the bankruptcy exemptions in Jacksonville with help from a legal professional. Call today to set up a consultation and discuss what may be possible.