Updated December 31, 2018
Like all states, Florida has a set of exemptions you can use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, or retirement account) you can keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
When you're ready to prepare your bankruptcy petition, check out the tips in Filing for Bankruptcy in Florida.
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 can also use 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 (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?
All law references are to Florida Statutes Annotated, with a few noted exceptions.
222.01, .02, .03, .05; Fla. Const. 10-4 – Unlimited amount of equity in real or personal property, including a mobile or modular home and condominium. Property cannot exceed 1/2 acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere. The spouse or child of a deceased owner can claim the exemption. Also, tenancies by the entireties in real property are exempt as to the debts of one spouse. Spouses cannot double this exemption.
You can learn more about Florida's generous homestead exemption by reading Florida Bankruptcy & the Homestead Exemption.
222.25(1) – Up to $1,000 equity in one vehicle.
222.25(4) - If you don't use the homestead exemption, you can claim up to $4,000 in any property of your choice.
222.22 - Prepaid hurricane savings accounts, prepaid medical savings account, and health savings account deposits, and prepaid college education trust deposits.
222.25 - Prescribed health aids; federal income tax credits or refunds.
497.56(8) - Pre-need funeral contract deposits.
222.25(4); Fla. Const. 10-4(a)(2) - Any personal property up to $1,000 total, or up to $4,000 if no homestead claimed.
222.11 - For the head of the 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 needed for support received up to three months before the bankruptcy filing.
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 current federal limits.
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.
222.25(3) - Earned income tax credit.
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 a crime-related injury.
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.
You can also add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes many bankruptcy exemptions available in Florida; however, it doesn't include all exemptions and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. Also, Florida might have changed the amounts since the last update.
Because you'll be responsible for ensuring that you're claiming all of the exemptions available to you, it's prudent to do independent research or to consult with a local bankruptcy lawyer.