Individuals who are struggling to make ends meet often turn to bankruptcy to take control of their finances. When you file for bankruptcy, the court requires you to list all of your assets. Many clients get concerned when they learn that they must list their wedding rings on the list of assets. However, the Bankruptcy Code provides numerous exemptions that can be applied to exclude certain types of property from being included in your bankruptcy estate. Wedding rings are usually covered by exemptions.
Federal law provides an exemption for wedding rings. Additionally, each state has its own set of bankruptcy exemptions and most allow a debtor to keep wedding bands and engagement rings. In fact, they are often considered fully exempt, which means you can keep them regardless of their value.
In Florida, you are required to use the state bankruptcy exemptions. Florida does not provide a specific exemption for jewelry, but it does have a general personal property exemption. It allows you to keep any type of personal property (wedding rings, clothing, furniture, etc.) up to $1,000. This amount is doubled if you are married and file a joint bankruptcy case. Additionally, if you don’t need to use the homestead exemption to protect your house, you can exempt up to $4,000 of personal property.
It is important to understand that for bankruptcy purposes, the value of your rings will be significantly lower than what you paid for them. You will use the liquidation value (what you could sell the rings for) or their replacement value. One of our seasoned bankruptcy attorneys can assist you with determining the appropriate value of your rings before you file your case.
You should also understand that in many cases, the administrative expenses associated going after a low-value, non-exempt asset is not worth it to the trustee. They understand the sentimental value of your wedding rings and are typically reluctant to seize them. Thus, unless your rings are extremely high-value, it is likely you will be able to keep them in your bankruptcy filing.
To learn more about filing for bankruptcy protection and how it will impact your various different assets, contact the legal team at Faro & Crowder for help. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.