Published on:

repoIf your vehicle has recently been repossessed, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy might help you get your vehicle back! Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a reorganization of your debts, which requires a monthly payment plan for up to 5 years. If you file bankruptcy soon enough after the repossession of your vehicle and the vehicle has not yet been resold or auctioned off, the automatic stay that goes into place as soon as a bankruptcy is filed will prevent the creditor who repossessed your vehicle from taking any further actions to collect the debt, which includes preventing them from being able to sell your vehicle.

If you are able to file a Chapter 13 before your vehicle is sold, your next step is to file a Chapter 13 Plan that shows that you are not only able to begin making your monthly car payments again, but that you will bring your car payments current through the Plan. If this is the case, your vehicle should be released back to you. You must also be able to show the bankruptcy court that the vehicle is a necessity and that you can afford your monthly payments by providing documentation of your income.

In a lot of instances once your vehicle’s lender receives notice of the bankruptcy as well as the Chapter 13 Plan (which shows that they will be adequately protected), the lender should willingly release your vehicle back to you. However, this is not always the case. If your lender refuses to return your vehicle to you, you will then need to ask the court for help. If you have proven that your vehicle is a necessity, that your Chapter 13 Plan gives the lender adequate protection, and that the vehicle is insured, the court should order your lender to return your vehicle to you.

Published on:

CreditReportGraphicWhat your creditors are able to report to the credit bureaus is controlled by the Fair Credit Report Act, also referred to as the FCRA, and requires your creditors to only report information that is accurate and correct. Once you receive your bankruptcy discharge your creditors are only allowed to report your discharged debts as having a balance of zero, along with the fact that is was included in a bankruptcy. In order to ensure that your creditors are reporting the most accurate information after having received your bankruptcy discharge, it is best to wait 30 to 60 days after receiving your discharge and then pull your credit report from all three credit bureaus. Once you have your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus you should review each of them in great detail; making sure that each of your debts included in your bankruptcy is being reported as having been included in the bankruptcy and with a zero balance. If one of your creditors is incorrectly reporting the status of one of your debts you should then dispute it through the FCRA. Keep in mind that a creditor should never report a discharged debt as having a balance, being active, late, charged off, or as being a new debt.

If you are planning on filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, your debts will not appear as having been included in the bankruptcy and with a zero balance until you finish your Chapter 13 Plan and receive your discharge; approximately 5 years after you file. However, as soon as you file your bankruptcy, your creditors are supposed to stop reporting to the credit bureaus under the original credit agreement. If they choose to continue reporting, they should report according to your confirmed Chapter 13 Plan. This will allow your credit report to slowly begin to improve shortly after you file bankruptcy, instead of having to wait the entire 5 years before your credit begins to improve. If a creditor is reporting information that is not correct, you dispute it through the FCRA just like you would if a creditor was reporting incorrect information after you received your discharge.

How creditors should report debts during a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case was decided in a 2008 case. Before then, there were no rules telling creditors how they should report a debt that is being included in a Chapter 13.

Published on:

home_under_waterMany people over the last several years have been forced to file bankruptcy because they faced foreclosure. In many of these bankruptcies, the homeowner chose to surrender their home because it did not make financial sense to try and keep it. Years later they find out that the home is still deeded in their names and are understandably shocked as they further learn they have also remained financially responsible for the property taxes, homeowner associations dues, etc. associated with that home. This is because even though you elected to surrender your home through bankruptcy and receiving the discharge relieved you from the liability of the mortgage debt, the bankruptcy did not automatically take the property out of your name and put the deed to the home in the name of your mortgage holder. So what can you do? The answer to this question is not going to be what you want to hear.

There are 2 ways in which the deed of your surrendered home can be transferred out of your name. The first is for your mortgage holder to agree to a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is where the bank agrees to take back possession of the home and you simply sign the deed over to your mortgage holder and provide them with the keys. In order to get a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, you must reach out to your mortgage holder and ask them if they will agree to a deed-in-lieu. If your mortgage holder refuses to accept a deed-in-lieu, your only other option is to wait for your mortgage holder to foreclose on the home. When your mortgage holder begins the foreclosure process, it is important to make sure they are only foreclosing “in rem.” This means they are only asking the court for possession of the home and not suing you personally for the debt, since the debt was discharged through your bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, it may take your mortgage holder years to begin foreclosing on the home. It is important to know that as long as the property remains deeded in your name, you will remain responsible for the property taxes, homeowner association dues, the upkeep of the property, etc. If it does take your mortgage holder years to foreclose, it could also mean you will have to wait even longer after you received your discharge in order to purchase a new home. This is because the foreclosure judgment will most likely be reported on your credit report.

Published on:

One of the major concerns that most people have when they begin to consider whether or not they should file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is what will happen to their property. Will it be taken from them or will they be able to keep it? But what most do not consider is the property that they may acquire after they have already filed their bankruptcy. It can easily be assumed that all property you own at the time you file your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will be part of your bankruptcy estate. But what if you inherit property or are the victim in a car accident in which you have the right to file a lawsuit after filing?

First and foremost, there is a duty in a Chapter 13 to update your schedules when you acquire new assets until your Chapter 13 Plan is completed. This rule applies to property you acquire pre-confirmation as well as property acquired post-confirmation. Luckily, not every little piece of property you acquire post-confirmation requires you to update your schedules. It is suggested that only major ones require disclosure.

As a general rule, the following post-petition acquired types of property will always be considered to be a part of your bankruptcy estate and require disclosure to your Chapter 13 Trustee:

Continue reading →

Published on:

If you are thinking of filing bankruptcy due to a Wage Garnishment Order, you are probably wondering whether or not the bankruptcy will simply only stop future garnishments or whether it will also help you to get your garnished wages back. As long as your wages are not being garnished due to unpaid child support or student loans for example, then filing bankruptcy will stop your future wages from being garnished and it might be possible to get some of your garnished wages back. But, the surroundings circumstances must be in your favor in order to get you wages back; specifically,

  1. The wages garnished must have been $600.00 or more within the 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy as you can only recover garnished wages from the 90 days preceding filing bankruptcy; and
  2. You can exempt the wages once they are returned to you.

Continue reading →

Published on:

home-in-handsIf you have ever looked into filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you probably found out rather quickly that the purpose of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is to liquidate all of your assets in order to pay your creditors; except for a few things you might be able to exempt. You then most likely became concerned whether or not you would be able to keep your property as you found out, that Florida does not offer much in the way of exemptions. Specifically, other than being able to protect the majority of retirement accounts, the main and most common Florida exemptions used are the following:

  • The Homestead Exemption: Unless you have owned your current homestead property and/or your previous homestead property for 1215 days prior to filing bankruptcy, then you can only exempt up to $146, 450. If you file jointly, then you can protect up to $292,900;
  • Personal Property Exemption: If you claim the Homestead Exemption, then you are able to exempt only up to $1000 of personal property; $2000 of person property if filing jointly. If you do not use the Homestead Exemption, you can exemption up to $4000 in personal property; $8000 if filing jointly; and
  • $1,000 in a motor vehicle, or $2,000 if filing jointly.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Yes an owner of a LLC can file bankruptcy in Florida. There is nothing that prevents a member of a multi-member limited liability company (MMLLC) from filing a personal bankruptcy in Florida or anywhere else in the United States. Additionally, if a member files a personal bankruptcy, the assets of the MMLLC can be protected from being taken by your bankruptcy trustee to settle your personal debts. This is because assets of a Florida multi-member LLC are not considered part of your bankruptcy estate. Charging orders are the exclusive remedy against a multi-member LLC in Florida. Once a charging order is obtained any distribution you might be entitled to receive from the multi-member LLC could be taken by the party holding the charging order. Most creditors find a charging order unattractive because along with the right to obtain distributions comes the responsibility for income taxes on the income generated by the ownership interest in the Florida LLC.

Continue reading →

Published on:

moneyIn order to be able to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the United States Bankruptcy Code requires that you must be an individual and have a regular source of income.   You must also have enough regular income to be able to make a monthly chapter 13 plan payment as well as pay your everyday living expenses. Specifically, Section 101(30) states “[t]he term `individual with regular income’ means individual whose income is sufficiently stable and regular to enable such individual to make payments under a plan under chapter 13 of this title, other than a stockbroker or a commodity broker.”

Courts have unambiguously held that “an individual” precisely only refers to a flesh and blood human being. Thus, businesses are not eligible to file bankruptcy under chapter 13.

But what exactly is considered “regular income”? The best example of “regular income” would be salary employment, which has a predetermined compensation amount that is paid either monthly, weekly, bi-weekly or semi-monthly and earned during the normal course of employment. This is the type of person chapter 13 was originally designed for. However, there are many other types of incomes, many of which can also be considered “regular income.” Another easily identifiable type of “regular income” would be an hourly employee who has a set amount of hours they will work each week, but any income received from overtime or bonuses would not be included in determining the amount of your “regular income”.

Published on:

If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy and you have any kind of intellectual property (i.e. a patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret), it is very important to understand the affects filing bankruptcy may or may not have on your intellectual property.

Section 365(n) of the United States Bankruptcy Code provides specific protections for licenses, but does not provide any protection for trademarks. All other types of intellectual property (patents, copyrights and trade secrets) are generally determined to be an executory contract and are treated as such in bankruptcy.

If it is the licensor who is filing bankruptcy, then they have the right to either assume or reject the license. If they choose to assume the license, then they must meet the very specific requirements for assuming an executory contract in bankruptcy. In order to assume an executory contract while in bankruptcy, the debtor licensor must cure all outstanding defaults and make sufficient assurances for continued performance moving forward. If both of these criteria are met, the licensee generally will not take issue with the assumption as long as the debtor licensor actually performs. If the licensor chooses to reject the license, safe guards have been put in place to prevent the licensee from losing their rights to use the intellectual property. Specifically, the licensee has the ability to choose to keep its rights to the intellectual property, but must make any mandatory royalty payments.

Published on:

All too often business owners are forced to file personal bankruptcies when their corporation or LLC fails. This often comes as a shock to them as they thought they had shielded themselves from being personally liable for their business debts when they created their corporation or LLC.

There are many bankruptcy options for people with personal business debt. Which option is right for you depends on whether your business is a sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation; whether you are personally liable for your business’ debts; and what your goal is for your business moving forward.

The scenario we will address today is one in which you have a corporation that is liable for a few business loans as well as a couple of commercial leases. You no longer wish to continue operating the corporation, the corporation has no assets, and you want to make sure you cannot be sued personally for these debts. Unfortunately you personally guaranteed each debt, because you quickly found out that as a small business it is impossible to obtain a loan or lease without personally guaranteeing them.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If your income is low enough to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and most of your assets can be protected, a Chapter 7 is the easiest and fastest option for you. A Chapter 7 will absolve you of all personal liability for all of the corporation’s loans and leases as well as any personal credit card or medical debts you may have. However, the corporation will remain liable for the business debts, so it may make sense to also file a business Chapter 7 for your corporation. In addition, you may also want to speak with a CPA regarding the advantages of revoking your S-Election to become a C-Corporation prior to filing as you may trap forgiveness of debt income inside the business.

Continue reading →

Contact Information