What Property Can I Keep in Bankruptcy?

When an individual comes to my office, one of the first questions he or she often asks is,"What property can I keep in bankruptcy?" This is an important question, and at my Tampa, Florida, bankruptcy law firm, I help clients find answers.

Experienced Counsel and Guidance in Florida Bankruptcies

I am Timothy J. Sierra, Attorney At Law. I am available to talk with you one-on-one about your specific situation, advise you about whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is right for you and help you find secure solutions to your financial problems. Contact me online today for a free initial consultation.

General Property Exemptions

Under Florida law, you are eligible to keep a certain amount of property and assets after bankruptcy. Florida exemptions apply if an individual has lived in Florida for two years prior to filing. These exemptions usually include:

  • Your homestead
  • $1,000 of equity in your car
  • $1,000 in personal property
  • IRAs and retirement accounts

If you do not own a home, you can claim an additional $4,000 in personal property. These amounts are per person, so a married couple is entitled to twice the exemptions. There are many other exemptions under Florida law and nonbankruptcy federal apply that may apply in your case. I urge you to contact the office to discuss your specific exemption questions.

Exemptions in Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

In most Chapter 7 bankruptcies, all property is exempt. However, if the value of your property does exceed the allowed exemptions or is not exempt, you have two options:

  1. Physically turn over property to the trustee. The trustee will then sell the property and distribute the proceeds to your creditors.
  2. "Buy back" the property from the trustee. Trustees may arrange a pay schedule to allow you to redeem the property.

If you want to keep nonexempt property, I may advise you to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7. In Chapter 13, you can create a three- to five-year plan to repay all or part of your debts. The amount you repay is determined by your income and expenses as determined by the means test and secondly, how much money your creditors would get if your nonexempt property were liquidated in a Chapter 7. If you make the required monthly payments, you will not have to surrender any property to the trustee.

Learn More About Bankruptcy Laws in St. Petersburg, Clearwater or Tampa, Florida

To talk with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer about your individual situation and needs, schedule a free initial consultation. Call the Tampa office toll free at 877-492-7449 or locally at 813-463-2256, or contact the firm online. Messages are returned within 24 hours.

*We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.