Sunday, June 14, 2015
Forida Statutory $4,000 Personal Property Exemption
Since the enactment of section 222.25(4), Florida Statutes (effective July 1, 2007) there has arisen the issue of whether this section's new $4,000.00 personal property exemption (which is available to those that do not "claim or receive the benefits of a homestead exemption" under Art. X, Sec. 4 of the Florida Constitution) is in addition to the $1,000.00 personal property exemption of Art. X, Sec. 4(a)(2) or whether it includes it. The case of In re Bezares, Case No. 07-12820 (Bankr.M.D.Fla. October 23, 2007)(Paskay, J.) addressed this issue and concluded that the new $4,000.00 of personal property exemption provided by section 222.25(4), Florida Statues is in addition to the $l,000.00 constitutional personal property exemption.
In this case, the chapter 7 trustee argued that the maximum allowable personal property exemption claim is $4,000.00. The trustee cited the legislative history of section 222.25(4), Fla.Stat. which supported the trustee's position The debtor argued that the the $4,000.00 exemption was in addition to the $1,000.00 constitutional personal property exemption based on the well established principle that the legislature has no power to abrogate, alter or amend any provision of the Constitution.
The Court agreed with the argument of the Debtor and stated that the only method by which the Florida Constitution can be altered or amended is by virtue of Article XI, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution. A statutory amendment of the constitutional $1,000.00 personal property exemption would be a violation of the Florida Constitution. Based on this argument, the Court held that section 222.25(4), Fla. Stat. added $4,000.00 to the previous $1,000.00 exemption to make a total of $5,000.00 of personal property exemption for those who not "claim or receive the benefits of a homestead exemption."
Miami Miami, FL, USA