Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief

How to Protect Your Home in Bankruptcy

When facing the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, whether it be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the thought of losing your home can be frightening. In fact, losing one’s home can be one of the biggest concerns holding someone back from filing for bankruptcy. The lawyers at Kingcade Garcia McMaken work hard to protect people from losing their assets in a bankruptcy case, including the filer’s home.

Automatic Stay

One of the first protections filers receive when proceeding with any type of bankruptcy case is the automatic stay. The automatic stay keeps creditors from continuing any collections actions, and it immediately goes into effect after the bankruptcy petition is filed.

Florida’s Homestead Exemption

Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country. Under Florida’s bankruptcy exemptions, a homeowner can exempt an unlimited amount of value in his or her property so long as the property covered is not more than half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres in any other location.  The homestead exemption protects real or personal property, including a home, condominium, or mobile or modular home. The key is, however, the homeowner must have bought and owned the property for at least 1,215 days prior to the bankruptcy filing.  Otherwise, the home may not be exempt.

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filer has a chance to work with the bankruptcy trustee on a repayment plan regarding qualifying debts. The filer will have a chance to keep his or her property, including the person’s home, if that individual is current on mortgage payments. However, most bankruptcy filers are not current with their mortgages and many are even facing foreclosure.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows them to catch up on mortgage payments in the repayment plan, while making current payments. It is important that the person be able to make these payments, however, for the plan to be successful. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the homeowner will need to work out an arrangement directly with the lender on payments owed. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will pay off the filer’s creditors by selling nonexempt assets, and while the home may be protected under the bankruptcy exemption, the homeowner is still responsible for the debt associated with the home.

Real estate issues can be complex, and when they are combined with financial issues the importance of having a legal advocate on your side can make all the difference in keeping valuable property, such as your home.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at

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