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Can Creditors Seize Personal Property in Florida?

Assuming that you have not given the creditor a lien on any specific property, Florida law allows a debtor to protect a certain amount of personal property from the claims of creditors. If you own a home in Florida, the protection that you are allowed is $1000.00 per person. In other words, if your belongings are worth $2000.00 you can designate one half of the items as exempt. The other half would be available to creditors to satisfy their judgements and they can obtain a court order for seizure of such items. If, however, you do not own a home in Florida, then the protection that you are allowed for personal property goes up to $5000.00 per person. There is also an additional $1000.00 per person automobile exemption that you can apply to any equity that you have in an automobile, motorcycle, or trailer.
Keep in mind that the above assumes that you are filing bankruptcy or that the creditor has sued you and obtained a judgment stating that you owe them money. Without a judgment, the creditor has no right to seize any of your property. There is however, one notable exception. The lender that financed your automobile does have the right of repossession as soon as you fall behind on payments, and they are not required to obtain a judgment or any kind of court order.

Also, be aware that if you have not lived in Florida continuously for at least two years before your bankruptcy is filed, Florida law may not apply to your case. In this situation, it is very important that you consult a bankruptcy professional that is able to analyze your residence history and determine what law will apply and what protections for assets may be allowed in your case.

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Robert J. Warren, P.A., Attorney at Law - Gainesville Bankruptcy Attorney
Located at 703 N. Main St., Suite C, Gainesville, FL 32601.
Phone: (352) 377-6600.
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