Like all states, Florida has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions – but Florida is not one of them. In Florida, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Florida, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to Florida Statutes Annotated.
222.01, .02, .03, .05; Fla. Const. 10-4 - Real or personal property, including mobile or modular home and condominium, to unlimited value. Property cannot exceed: 1/2 acre in a municipality, or 160 acres elsewhere. Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim exemption. May file homestead declaration. Also, tenancies by the entireties in real property are exempt as to debts of one spouse.
To learn more about Florida's generous homestead exemption, check out Florida Bankruptcy & the Homestead Exemption.
222.22 - Prepaid hurricane savings accounts, prepaid medical savings account and health savings account deposits, and prepaid college education trust deposits.
222.25 - Motor vehicle up to $1,000; prescribed health aids; federal income tax credits or refunds.
497.56(8) - Pre-need funeral contract deposits.
Fla. Const. 10-4 - Any personal property up to $1,000 total, or up to $4,000 if no homestead claimed.
222.11 - For head of family, 100% of earnings up to $750 a week; applies to either unpaid or paid wages, or wages deposited in a bank account for up to 6 months.
222.21 - Federal government employees' pension payments that are needed for support and were received up to 3 months prior to the bankruptcy.
11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).
11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,171,650.
121.131 - State officers and employees.
122.15 - County officers and employees.
175.241 - Firefighters.
185.25 - Police officers.
222.21 - ERISA - qualified benefits, IRAs and Roth IRAs.
238.15 - Teachers.
222.201 - Public assistance, reemployment assistance, Veterans' benefits, and social security.
440.22 - Workers' compensation.
960.14 - Crime victims' compensation unless seeking to discharge debt for treatment of crime related injury.
Alimony and Child Support
222.201 - Alimony and child support needed for support.
222.13 - Death benefits payable to a specific beneficiary.
222.14 - Annuity contract proceeds excluding lottery winnings; life insurance cash surrender value.
222.18 - Disability or illness benefits.
632.619 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
769.05 - Damages to employees for injuries incurred in hazardous occupations.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Florida. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Florida may have changed the amounts since this list was last updated in June of 2011. Consider cross-checking this list with www.legalconsumer.com, which updates the state exemption amounts regularly, or check with your local bankruptcy court.