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Whether it’s because of a job loss, a medical condition or predatory lending, many Floridians find themselves filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start and freedom from the burden of debt. The bankruptcy process requires the filer to list all assets, property and debt. A trustee is typically assigned to the case and is in charge of taking back some assets or selling property to repay creditors with the funds. However, bankruptcy laws give filers a host of exempt property. In other words, these types of property cannot be touched in a bankruptcy.

Many of these are dictated by the federal government, but each state usually has its own laws governing exemptions and can decide what can and cannot be taken away in a bankruptcy. Most states in the United States allow the trustee to repossess non-spousal inherited IRA accounts to repay creditors. However, in seven states, including Florida, IRA monies are protected from being reclaimed.

In 2014, the Supreme Court handed down a decision on the subject in Clark v. Rameker. It decided unanimously that these IRA accounts, and most IRA accounts, are not exempt in a bankruptcy. So, if your case is handled in federal court, it will not be considered exempt. However, if it is handled by the Florida courts, you will be able to claim the exemption.

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy or are already in the process, you may want to consider contacting an attorney. He or she can sit down with you to examine your financial situation and, using an extensive knowledge of the court system and exemption, help walk you through the process and make sure you take advantage of all exemptions.