Many clients come to the Noble Law Firm thinking that their only option is to file a Bankruptcy. However, many times Bankruptcy is not the best option. The state of Florida offers a great deal of protection to its residents. Florida Statute 222, titled Homestead and Exemptions, enumerates the various properties and other assets that are 100% protected from creditors. For example, in most instances, a Florida resident’s home is 100% protected from creditors. Additionally, if one is considered to be “head of household”, their wages cannot be garnished and 6 months of their salary may also be protected. Furthermore, most IRAs, retirement accounts and college savings accounts for one’s children are also protected.
In addition to the statutory protections, there are several proactive steps an individual can take to preserve his wealth. For example, in Florida, a married couple can own any piece of property through Tenants by the Entirety. Ownership of property through Tenants by the Entirety, usually does not allow a creditor to seize this property. It is usually recommended that married couples own all of their property by tenants in the entirety.
Additionally, there are various type of corporate entities that provide strong protection against creditors. These corporate entities include S corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, and Family Limited Partnerships. Each of these entities has advantages and disadvantages depending on the nature of the business and the type and level of protection that each individual client desires.