To qualify for the homestead exemption, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have equity in your home (your home’s value is greater than the debt you owe on it)
- If in a municipality, the property must be no greater than half an acre in size
- If not in a municipality, the property must be no greater than 160 acres
- You must have owned the property for at least 1,215 days at the time of filing for bankruptcy
If your property does not meet the criteria above, you can still exempt $146,450 for single filers and $292,900 for joint filers under the Florida homestead exemption. If you choose not to exercise the homestead exemption at all (including in scenarios where you do not own any property), you can instead utilize Florida’s “wildcard” exemption of $4,000 for single filers and $8,000 for joint filers.
Florida also offers a personal property exemption of up to $1,000 in value for single filers and up to $2,000 for joint filers. This encompasses a wide umbrella of items, including furniture, clothing, art, and electronics, as well as certain types of savings accounts. You will also be able to protect $1,000 in equity for your car ($2,000 if joint filing), but you are also permitted to apply some or all of your personal property or wildcard exemptions toward your vehicle, if you so choose.
Again, liquidation can seem scary, but it does not have to be. Our experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa can evaluate the details of your estate and help you maximize exemptions to limit or even eliminate the impact of liquidation on your property.
Discharging Your Debts Through Chapter 7
Once the liquidation process has been completed, a bankruptcy court will permit the discharging of most of your unsecured debts, one of the key benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is what effectively creates the “clean slate” that stabilizes your financial situation and helps you live more sustainably going forward.
Some of the types of unsecured debt you can typically discharge include:
- Credit card debt
- Medical bills
- Utility bills
- Personal loans
However, it is important to understand that Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not wipe out all types of debt. Debts that typically cannot be discharged include:
- Student loans (except in specific circumstances of substantial hardship)
- Court fines
- Debts omitted from bankruptcy filing
- Debts gained since bankruptcy filing
- Child or spousal support
- Taxes and government fines (with some limited exceptions)
- Debt stemming from fraud, embezzlement, or larceny
Let Us Help You Find New Footing
We at Cremeens Law Group PLLC empathize with the stress and uncertainty substantial debt creates, and our goal is to transition you out of financial crisis and help you regain control over your life. Our Tampa Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys can evaluate the circumstances specific to your financial situation and determine if Chapter 7 is the most advantageous solution for you. Should you retain our services, we will help prepare your estate for liquidation and assist you in navigating each step of the process.
Find out if Chapter 7 bankruptcy might help you through a free consultation. Dial (813) 683-8688 or contact us online to schedule yours today.