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Will I lose all of my assets if I file bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called "liquidation bankruptcy." Many people take this to mean that the person who files bankruptcy will lose everything they own. This is not the case.

Bankruptcy exemptions protect many assets from creditors. An "exemption" means the bankruptcy trustee cannot take that asset and sell it pay creditors. As the result of bankruptcy exemptions, most people who file bankruptcy don't lose anything but their debts.

What assets can I keep in bankruptcy?

When you file bankruptcy in Florida, you can keep many of your personal assets through bankruptcy exemptions, including:

  • Unlimited equity in your homestead (not exceeding half an acre in a city or 160 acres in the country)
  • Household belongings valued up to $1,000 (you can keep up to $4,000 in household property if you don't use the homestead exemption)
  • Pension plans
  • 401(k) and IRA savings up to $1,171,650
  • Certain other savings accounts, including those for health, education and hurricanes
  • A car or truck that is not worth more than $1,000
  • Wages paid to you in the past six months, up to certain limits
  • Alimony and child support payments from your ex

This list does not include all assets that are protected by Florida's bankruptcy exemptions. To find out if your assets would be protected, contact Marrero, Chamizo, Marcer Law LP for a free initial consultation.

If you have assets you would lose by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy (such as rental property), you may be able to protect those assets by filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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