' Keep Assets After Bankruptcy - Law Offices of Robert M. Geller

What Can I Keep if I File for Bankruptcy?

How to Keep Assets After Bankruptcy

Hi, my name is Robert Geller and I am a consumer bankruptcy attorney in the Tampa Bay area. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about what you can keep when you file bankruptcy. Most people out there think that they will lose everything if they file bankruptcy. Truthfully, that’s not true. Most of my clients keep all of their assets when they file bankruptcy. What you can keep when you file bankruptcy is determined by where you have lived for a period of two years prior to filing the bankruptcy.

Exemption Scheme

So most of my clients have lived in Florida for two years and we go by what is called the Florida exemption scheme. Bankruptcy is a federal law, but the federal law differs to certain States to determine what you can keep. We in Florida go by the Florida exemption scheme. Let’s just say, hypothetically, you’ve only lived in Florida for six months. Then we would look at where you’ve last lived for the period of two years. We would have to look to see if that state lets you use their exemption schemes. Most states do not let you use their exemption schemes if you do not live there. Then you go to the federal exemption scheme.

If you have not lived in Florida and let’s say it’s a state that says, “You can’t use our exemptions. You don’t live here. You have to go to federal”. The federal law allows you certain exemptions like 3,600 approximately dollars for automobile. It gives you a wildcard exemption for all your personal property. It gives you exemptions for jewelry. Federal law is somewhat limited on the exemption for your home.


Let’s say you have a home and it’s worth $400,000 – $500,000. The federal law does not give you an unlimited exemption scheme. For my Florida clients, which is the majority of them and probably would be most concerned about what I’m discussing today. In Florida, there are two forms of exemption schemes for what you can keep. In Florida, if you are a homeowner and if you want to keep your home and exempt your home, your home is completely exempt, no matter what it is worth with certain exceptions. Then you are allowed to keep generally a thousand dollars for your personal property. There’s a way your lawyer can explain to you the value that, and you get a thousand dollar exemption for you, the value or equity you have in your automobile.

There are other exemptions that apply in all cases. Your retirement is completely exempt. Your social security benefits are completely exempt. Most annuities are completely exempt and there are some other exemptions that are completely exempt in Florida even if you own a home. If you are not a homeowner and you have lived in Florida for the last two years and we followed the Florida exemption scheme, then you get to keep a thousand equity in automobile, plus an additional $4,000 what is called the wild card, plus an extra thousand dollars towards your personal property or total of $6,000 in personal property.

Advice to Keep Assets After Bankruptcy

My best advice to you is to seek the advice of that experienced bankruptcy lawyer, who can guide you through what you can’t keep. You are welcome to click on the link that’s attached and we’ll be glad to provide you with more information or you certainly can give us a call. We’ll be glad to talk to you. Again, my name is Robert Geller and I look forward to helping you build a bridge to a brighter future.

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Tampa Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
807 West Azeele Street
Tampa, FL 33606
T: (813) 254-5696
T: (800) 853-7549
F: (813) 253-3405

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St. Petersburg Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
125 5th Street South
(Wells Fargo Financial Center)
2nd Floor, Suite G
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: (727) 532-3939

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Pasco Office

23526 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33559
T: (813) 336-2320

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