There are many people struggling to pay their bills right now, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Filing for bankruptcy is a great option for people who are underwater and unable to pay their debt, rent, mortgage or other bills. But what exactly happens to your Publix stock when you file for bankruptcy and is it exempt?
Like most if not all states, Florida has a set of exemptions you can use to protect your property during a bankruptcy, whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. During a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will give proceeds to your lenders from property they have sold. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be able to keep all of your property, but you will have to pay the value of your disposable income or the nonexempt property equity, whichever is more.
Keep in mind that the bankruptcy code has a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions, but each state decides whether or not residents can use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Like most states, Florida does not allow its residents to use federal bankruptcy exemptions. Instead, you will need to use the Florida bankruptcy exemptions.
You need to live in Florida for at least two years, or 730 days, before filing for bankruptcy. If you own a home, you can exempt all of the equity in your residential property that meets Florida’s guidelines. You can exempt an unlimited amount of equity in your home or property covered by the homestead exemption, as long as you have owned your property for at least 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy.
Some personal property, excluding real estate, is also exempt during bankruptcy, including personal property up to $1,000 or $4,000 if the homestead exemption is not used, education savings, health savings, hurricane savings, prescribed health aids, prepaid medical savings account and health savings account deposits, tax credits and refunds, funeral costs and certain partnership property.
There are also a number of exemptions for pensions and retirement funds in Florida, which might apply to Publix stock. These exemptions include ERISA qualified retirement plans and pensions, public employee retirement benefits, State and County officers and employees retirement system benefits, firefighter pensions, municipal police pensions, teachers’ retirement benefits.
If your Publix stock is part of your retirement plan, then there is typically no limit to how much of your Publix stock can be protected. That being said, we recommend speaking to a local bankruptcy attorney if you are still unclear about the exemption of Publix stock when filing for Florida bankruptcy. The papers on your Publix stock account need to be eyeballed by a legal attorney before they can render a legal opinion.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Florida and want to retain your Publix stock, the Van Horn Law Group can help. Contact us or visit our website to learn more here.
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