Once again I address the issue of whether a debtor’s asset, not exempt where he currently resides, becomes exempt by virtue of Florida residency. Or, if an asset is not exempt in another state can it become exempt by a debtor moving to Florida? In answering this question for a client I came upon an old bankruptcy case where an Arizona resident owned an annuity comprising lottery winning. This debtor encountered financial problems, moved to Florida, and filed bankruptcy shortly thereafter. The issue was whether the annuity issued in Arizona was exempt in the Florida bankruptcy.
To begin with this bankruptcy judge provided an explanation of Florida residency. Florida residency, he said, is established by a good faith intention evidenced by positive overt acts after removal from a prior residence. The court found that the annuity was exempt even though it was issued in Arizona when the debtor was an Arizona resident. The judge referred to judicial policy that statutory exemptions are to be liberally construed in favor of debtors.