Most Florida residents wait until the last possible moment before they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, this might not be the best idea since debt can snowball fast and turn into an uncontrollable situation. However, because people are generally afraid of what they might have to liquidate during Chapter 7, they wait until things get completely out of control before they even think about reaching out to a bankruptcy attorney. This is unfortunate because the earlier the bankruptcy process starts, generally, the easier the process will be.

Fortunately, a lot of the liquidation fears of bankruptcy filers are generally unfounded. That is because Chapter 7 has a lot of categories for assets and many of them will be exempt from the liquidation process — particularly if those assets are required for daily life and/or the performance of one’s job duties.

Florida residents in particular benefit from a list of important bankruptcy exemptions. As long as one has resided in Florida for a period of two years, the bankruptcy filer can qualify for these exemptions.

Some of the items that will be exempt in a Florida Chapter 7 filing include:

— Money saved for college

— Life insurance and annuities

— Benefits related to workers’ compensation, veterans’ benefits, disability benefits, unemployment and public assistance

— Your vehicle up to a certain value

— 401 (k)s, IRAs, other retirement money and pensions

— Home furnishings and personal property up to certain values

— Employment wages

At the Cohen Law Firm, our goal for Chapter 7 filers is to preserve as many of their assets as possible. In many cases, a bankruptcy attorney can try to re-categorize a bankruptcy filer’s assets to try and make sure that they are exempt. Sometimes, a lot more assets qualify as exempt than the bankruptcy filer initially believed was possible.