Major exemptions available when filing for bankruptcy in Florida are listed below. Florida has opted not to allow its residents to utilize federal exemptions, so only Florida statutes that define and list the exemptions can be used. A lawyer should be consulted to determine the particulars of each exemption and to determine all available exemptions that may be filed.

  • Homestead (equity in dwelling used as residence)
    – Property cannot exceed ½ acre inside a municipality or 160 acres outside the municipality
    – Unlimited value in property
  • Equity in automobile
    – Up to $1,000 in value in one motor vehicle
  • Personal property
    – Household items (Animals, appliances, furniture, clothes, etc.), up to $1,000 in value – this includes jewelry and heirlooms (double if married)
  • Wages
    – Head of family can exempt up to $750 per week ("head of family" is any natural person who provides more than half the support for children or other dependents)
  • Insurance
    – Disability benefits
    – Unmatured life insurance is also usually exempt, but exceptions apply
  • Pensions
    ERISA qualified benefits needed for support
    -County employees (includes firefighters and police officers)
    – Public employees
    – Public retirement benefits
  • Public benefits
    – Unemployment
    Workers compensation
    – Public assistance
    Social security
    – Veteran’s benefits
  • Alimony and child support
    – Amount reasonably necessary for support of debtor and dependents
  • Wildcard
    – Up to $4,000 in personal property can be exempted if the debtor does not use the homestead exemption

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Bankruptcy is a very complicated process and filing an exemption incorrectly can lead to that property being seized, even if the property would have been exempt had the exemption been filed correctly. The Florida bankruptcy exemption statute must be used when filing for exemptions. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the particulars of filing for bankruptcy, and can recommend what chapter of bankruptcy is right for you. A Florida lawyer can also ensure that your exemptions are filed correctly.