If a debtor chooses to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida they must list all their assets and debts on their bankruptcy petition.  Assets include real estate, cars, and personal property.  Jewelry falls under personal property.  If a debtor is filing for bankruptcy in south Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach) and they don’t own a home then they can exempt $5,000 worth of personal property (clothes, bank accounts, furniture, jewelry).  If a debtor owns a home, and intend to keep it) they can only exempt $1,000 worth of personal property.  So if a debtor owns jewelry the first thing they should do is go get it appraised to find out what the going rate for that jewelry is.  Then they must list it on their schedules (when they file).  If the debtor’s jewelry value exceeds the exemption amount then the debtor can come up with a payment plan with the trustee to keep the jewelry, however if they cannot come up with a payment plan then the debtor will likely have to surrender the jewelry.


Debtor who doesn’t own a home


Bank: $3,000

Furniture: $1,500

Jewelry: $2,500

In this situation the debtor is OVER his exemptions by $2,000 and the trustee will likely force the debtor to surrender the jewelry or come up with the $2,000 over the next few months.

Same situation where a debtor owns the home and wants to keep it:

In this situation the debtor can only exempt $1,000 worth of personal property and the debtor has $7,000 worth of personal property so the debtor would need to come up with $6,000 to keep the other personal property or he would likely have to surrender the property to the trustee.

In the second situation the debtor would probably have been better off if they filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy in South Florida.

An ideal candidate for chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debtor who has regular income, has assets that exceed their exemptions, and has more than one mortgage on their property.

Shmucher Law, PL is a bankruptcy law firm with offices located in Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, Boca Raton, and Miami Florida.  They handle consumer and business Chapter 7 bankruptcies as well as individual Chapter 13 bankruptcies.