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Exemptions: Asset Protection

What property can I keep?

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An understanding of the law of exemptions exempt is necessary for many reasons. Asset protection is a goal of individuals engaged in estate planning to preserve their estate for the next generation. wills An understanding of the ability of creditors to obtain your assets may help with investment decisions. No one knows what the future will bring, and a loss of job or lack of medical insurance coverage could lead to substantial debt and a risk of creditors seizing your assets.

If you are already in debt, an understanding of exemptions is necessary to know what your rights are if a creditor is now attempting to seize your assets. Additionally, a thorough review of whether your property is exempt must be made prior to filing a bankruptcy. Though most individuals retain all of their property in a bankruptcy, non-exempt property can be taken in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to pay your creditors.

Florida law has been known to be generous in protecting the assets of individuals. Traditionally, Florida residents who file bankruptcy could utilize the same exemptions in bankruptcy court. This is still largely true. However, there have been substantial changes which greatly limited this protection. There are now restrictions to the unlimited homestead exemption. Additionally, you must be a resident of Florida for two years to claim the Florida exemptions in bankruptcy court. If not, your exemptions would be based on the state where you previously resided. There is a special 3year and 4 month requirement as to the unlimited homestead protection. See new bankruptcy law

Strangely, one person might have only $5,000 in total assets and would lose almost all of the property to creditors or a bankruptcy trustee. Another person might have assets valued at $1,000,000 and be able to keep all of the assets as exempt.(click for a list of exemptions).


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