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How does homestead exemption work in a bankruptcy?

Tampa, FL |

I have a $50,000 homestead exemption on my foreclosed property. The house is worth than
I owe. I am going to be filing for chapter 7.

Attorney Answers 7


  1. In Florida you get an exemption from property taxes for your homesteda of $50,000. This is different than the Florida Constitutional homestead which protects the home from the grab of your creditors. I believe you are confusing the two. As a general proposition the Constitutional Florida Homestead exemption protects the entire value of the home, however there a few carve outs that can weaken the protection. Consult with an attorney before filing bankruptcy if your goal is to protect the home from falling into the bankruptcy estate.


  2. A bankruptcy exemption protects your equity in real estate from creditors and the bankruptcy trustee cannot take this money if claim the exemption on your bankruptcy schedules. But I am confused, if the property is foreclosed, you may no longer own it and may be ineligible to claim any equity in the property as a homestead. Hope this perspective helps!


  3. Your question does not identify the property as your residence. Here in Ohio, the homestead exemption only applies to your residence. It can be a condo, a house, a trailer, a teepee, whatever, but if the property is not your residence (rental property, for example) you cannot claim the homestead exemption on it.

    I am not your attorney unless you and I have signed a retainer agreement. What I am saying is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without engaging my services, this is for consideration only.


  4. The homestead exemption only benefits you as against unsecured creditors. If the house is worth less than the debt, you might as well forego the homestead exemption and take the $4k wildcard. If that does not make sense to you then perhaps you will consider professional assistance.

    Posting questions anonymously and receiving general answers do not substitute for consulting with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which you live. Answers posted here by Kevin C Gleason are only intended for general education of the public on legal matters. Please consult a qualified professional before deciding what to do about your situation.


  5. The Homestead exemption protects the equity in your homestead property. If the house is already foreclosed, I don't see where the issue even arises.


  6. You are confusing the homestead exemption for property taxes, with the homestead exemption in bankruptcy. If you are living in the home and do not take the homestead exemption the home will become part of the bankruptcy estate. The trustee may then sell your interest or force you to pay rent. If you are not living in the home, the $4,000 wild card exemption may benefit you more.
    Consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your are before filing.

    Although I’m going to give you a lot of valuable information in this answer you must understand that this answer is not legal advice. Moreover, reading this answer will not establish an attorney–client relationship between us. The only way that I can give you legal advice is if you hire me. To hire me, you must sign a written agreement, called a retainer agreement, which sets forth the terms of my representation of you and the details of our attorney–client relationship, including the cost. Only after you have hired me as your bankruptcy attorney by signing a retainer agreement, will I be able to give you legal advice. Until that time, however, I can only help you educate yourself by providing you with some useful information about bankruptcy and dealing with your creditors.


  7. You probably need and attorney to deal with your case. I only say that because if you mess up your exemptions you can lose your stuff and we are more expensive to hire after filing the case because it take a lot more time to fix a case that it does to just do one in the 1st place.

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