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Florida Exemptions


As most people are aware, Florida is known as a debtor's haven. The exemptions available to Florida residents create great obstacles and challenges for creditors. However, unless properly directed, many debtors fail to fully take advantage of these exemptions. In dealing with both creditors and debtors, Schatzman & Schatzman, P.A. possesses the unique ability and knowledge to properly counsel its debtor clients and is sensitive to the concerns and demands of its creditor clients.

Some of the exemptions generally available in Florida include an unlimited homestead; wages (with some exceptions); $1,000.00 in personal property (an additional $4,000.00 may be available if not claiming a homestead); unlimited pensions, annuities and retirement accounts; $1,000.00 equity in an automobile; life insurance proceeds and cash surrender value; and prepaid college tuition.

While most people believe that a person's wages are entirely exempt from attachment in Florida, such is not the case. In 1994, the Florida legislature passed several amendments to the Florida exemption laws, including the wage exemption. An individual's earnings are only exempt if he/she provides more than 50% of the support for a child or a dependent ("Head of Family"). And even if they qualify as a Head of Family, such earnings, if traceable, may only be exempt for a period of six months. If someone does not qualify as a Head of Family, a creditor may garnish up to 25% of the debtor's weekly disposable wages or salary.

  FLORIDA EXEMPTION STATUTES

Art. 10, §4(a)(1); F.S. §§222.01, 222.02, 222.05  Homestead- Unlimited value for 160 acres outside of a municipally or one-half acre within a municipality (Under the Bankruptcy Code, the exempt portion of a Homestead may be limited to $160,375.00 of equity)
Art.10, §4 (a)(2) Personal Property - $1,000 per person
F.S. §222.25(4) Personal Property - up to $4,000 per person if not claiming or receiving benefits under Florida's homestead exemption
F.S. §121.131 Retirement benefits - Public employees - 100%
F.S. §122.15 Retirement benefits - county officers and employees - 100%
F.S. §175.241 Retirement benefits - Firemen - 100%
F.S. §185.25 Retirement benefits - Police - 100%
F.S. §222.11(2)(a) Head of Family - Disposable earnings< or =$500/week-100%
F.S. §222.11(2)(b) Head of Family - Disposable earnings>$500/week-100% unless otherwise agreed to in writing
F.S. §222.11(2)(c) Non-Head of Family - Disposable earnings>$500/week-greater of 75% or 30 x federal minimum wage
F.S. §222.13 Life insurance proceeds-100%
F.S. §222.14 Life insurance - cash surrender value/annuity contracts-100%
F.S. §222.18 Disability benefits - 100%
F.S. §222.201 Property listed in subsection (d)(10) of section 522 of Bankruptcy Code
F.S. §222.21(1) Pension money of U.S. pensioner - 3 months if needed for support
F.S. §222.21(2) Retirement or profit-sharing benefits qualified under IRC - 100%
F.S. §222.22 Prepaid Education Expense Trust Fund - 100%
F.S. §222.25(1) Equity in one motor vehicle - $1,000
F.S. §222.25(2) Health aids, professionally prescribed - 100%
F.S. §222.25(3) Interest in a refund or a credit received or to be received pursuant to § 32 of the IRS Code - 100%
F.S. §238.15 Retirement benefits - Teachers - 100%
F.S. §443.051(2) Unemployment Compensation Benefits - 100% except support
F.S. §497-413 Preneed Funeral Contract Consumer Protection Fund -100%
F.S. §620.68(2)(c) Partnership property, specific
F.S. §632.619 Fraternal Benefit Society Benefits 100%
F.S. §744.626 Veteran's benefits - 100%
F.S. §769.05 Damages for Injury or death at work, hazardous occupations - 100%
F.S. §960.14 Crime victim's compensation - 100%
F.S. §440.22 Workers' Compensation