Tag Archives: exemption

Law v Siegel: Supreme Court Strongly Protects Exemptions from Trustees

The United States Supreme Court on March 4, 2014 in Law v Siegel thwarted a trustee’ s attempt to surcharge the homestead exemption.  Based on a strict statutory construction, Justice Scalia for a unanimous court gave debtors great protection to assert their statutory exemption rights.  In a highly pro-debtor opinion, the Court basically held that Congress created a scheme for exempt property, and the courts cannot avoid congressional intent by creating other exceptions that are not in the Code.  Though trustees and creditors might have other remedies, exempt property remains exempt.  This case could have a great impact in Florida bankruptcy cases. Below is the syllabus of the Opinion. Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2013 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has…
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Unemployment Compensation in Bank Account Held Not Exempt

A common bankruptcy issue is whether the right to receive an exempt asset, such as worker’s compensation or social security, extends until after receipt and the funds are sitting in the debtor’s bank account.  (The above assets would continue to be exempt).  But what about unemployment insurance?  Apparently, no case had been decided  previously.  A person receiving unemployment generally needs to spend this payment for necessities. But a case decided this past week held that $15,631 in a bank account from unemployment was not exempt. (I must assume the husband and wife debtors had savings and used the savings money first for living expenses.  They saved the unemployment hoping this would be exempt.  This is a practice my Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy clients have utilized in other contexts, such as saving social security income in one bank account and spending for living expenses from non-exempt savings.) Judge Williamson in the Middle District of Florida reviewed…
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