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  • Writer's pictureLauren A. Merritt, P.A.

What is Exempt Personal Property?

When a loved one dies, certain personal property owned by that person at death can be classified as "exempt personal property" not subject to creditors’ claims.

Requirements for Exempt Personal Property:

1) The deceased person must have been a Florida resident; and

2) The property must pass to a surviving spouse or the decedent’s children.

What is the Benefit of Exempt Personal Property? Property that is declared “exempt” personal property by the court is protected from forced sale to satisfy outstanding creditor claims. However, property is not exempt from perfected security interests (i.e. car loans).

What Personal Property Can Qualify as Exempt Personal Property? The following property may qualify as exempt personal property: a) Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s usual place of abode up to a net value of $20,000 as of the date of death; b) Two motor vehicles, held in the decedent’s name and regularly used by the decedent or members of the decedent’s immediate family as their personal motor vehicles; c) Qualified tuition programs such as advance payment contracts and participation agreements under the Florida Prepaid College Trust Fund; and d) Certain statutory educator death benefits pursuant to Florida Statute 112.1915. How Do You Claim Exempt Personal Property? A person entitled to exempt property should file a Petition to Determine Exempt Property with the court handling the probate proceeding. A Petition to Determine Exempt Property must be filed by the later of a) 4 months after the date of service of a copy of the notice of administration; or b) 40 days after the date of termination of any proceeding involving the construction, admission to probate, or validity of the will or involving any other matter affecting any part of the exempt property. Want some guidance on the steps to take after a loved one dies in Florida?

If you have probate questions, email me at or give me a call at (850) 741-2999. Lauren A. Merritt, P.A. 111 S. De Villiers Street, Ste. B Pensacola, FL 32502

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