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When you owe a creditor money, a lot of threats might occur. Some of those threats might be some about what creditors can do if they can get a judgment against you. While some of these threats are factual, others might not be. It is vital for those facing debt collectors to understand their rights to protect their property. One of these options helps to keep your home secure.

Your home is generally protected from creditors unless the creditor holds a lien or mortgage on your home. Florida’s homestead exemption protects up to half an acre in an incorporated area or up to 160 acres in an unincorporated area. You must claim your home as a homestead with the court by filing specific forms and an affidavit in order to have this protection.

Your vehicle is another asset that can be protected from creditor judgments. Florida allows $1,000 of your vehicle’s worth to be protected. If you don’t own a home, you can claim a $4,000 personal property exemption in addition to the $1,000 vehicle exemption. That means you have a total of $5,000 worth of exempted property in your vehicle.

In the case of the $4,000 personal property exemption, you can choose the property that is exempted under that umbrella. This allows you to protect a bank account or other personal property as long as it isn’t the property that was used to secure a loan.

Navigating through how to handle property during collection proceedings and bankruptcy filing can prove difficult. Learning about how to keep your property safe is vital.

Source: The Florida Bar, “Debtors’ Rights In Florida: Claiming Your Exemptions From Judgments” Dec. 28, 2014