Articles Posted in Discharge

Published on:

If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors at the federal courthouse. This is a hearing with the trustee, and any creditors are invited to attend, though usually they decline to. You will be put under Oath and asked to produce a photo I.D. and social security card. Then the trustee will ask you some questions. Here are some sample questions that a trustee might ask.

1. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct?

2. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules?

Published on:

Automatic Stay, BankruptcyUpon filing for bankruptcy protection, an automatic stay is put in place. This means that creditors can not try and collect from you. So a creditor cannot call you to request payment, send bills to you, garnish your wages anymore, or repossess your car without court permission. If there is a foreclosure suit against you, that suit must also stop immediately. If your home is sold and you filed prior to the sale, that sale can be vacated. Obviously, this is a powerful tool bankruptcy. Many people file to stop creditors from taking actions against them or their property.

The automatic stay will remain in effect until one of the following things occurs:

1. A creditor petitions the court for relief from automatic stay and the court enters an order granting it;

Published on:

Two bankruptcy petition preparers in Wisconsin are in big trouble with the Court, facing possible criminal charges. Jennifer Abbott, who is a disbarred attorney, was cited with contempt by a bankruptcy judge. The Court said that she has violated bankruptcy Court Orders repeatedly and she refused to obey a subpoena issued by the U.S. Trustee’s office. Abbot has also been convicted of felony theft for stealing from a client.

The second bankruptcy petition preparer, Gaynor Morrison, is in trouble for failing to appear in bankruptcy Court when ordered to do so. Also, he was alleged to have been overcharging clients and failed to return fees to clients after being ordered to by the Court.

Bankruptcy petition preparers are non-attorneys who help people file for bankruptcy. Courts and trustees often comment that the petitions or other required documents are flawed when drafted by a bankruptcy petition preparer. If this happens and the case gets dismissed without discharge, people could lose valuable assets or have to pay additional filing fees. Not all bankruptcy petition preparers are unprofessional, but it is best to have a licensed attorney with knowledge of the complexities of the Bankruptcy Code prepare your bankruptcy documents. To contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today, call 904-685-1200.

Published on:

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, some of your debts must be paid through a Chapter 13 Plan. This plan lasts up to 5 years. A part of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that all of your monthly disposable income is committed to your unsecured creditors. Without proper budgeting, this may not leave money for unexpected expenses, like your car breaking down, unexpected medical bills, or needing to fly to California last-minute for a funeral. It is not uncommon for debtors to fall behind on their Plan payments on occasion. So what happens if you do?

If payments are a month or more behind, the Trustee will typically file a Motion to Dismiss your case for Failure to Make Plan Payments. If this is your first time missing a payment, the Court will enter an order giving you a specific amount of time to make up your payments, usually 60 or 90 days. The Order will state the date by which you need to be current.

One great way to make sure and not get behind on your payments is to have the money taken directly from your paycheck and given to the trustee. In the Jacksonville, Florida Middle District, we can have a judge sign an order for direct withdraw of those funds. This makes it much more difficult for debtors to get behind.

Published on:

Yes, you can still file for bankruptcy. However, a very important part of every bankruptcy case is your exemptions. Exemptions allow you to keep your real and personal property. There are federal exemptions, but most states have adopted their own exemption laws. To use Florida exemptions in your bankruptcy, there are residency requirements. If you have lived in Florida for the 730 days prior to your filing, you can use Florida’s exemptions. If you have not lived here for that long, then your exemptions will be those of the state in which you resided for during the 180 days prior to your filing or the federal exemptions, whichever your prior state’s law indicates.

Florida is often seen as having a liberal homestead exemption, as it allows you to keep your home despite unsecured creditors. However, to use the Florida homestead exemption, you must have owned the home for 1215 days, otherwise you can only protect up to $125,000 in equity. Since nearly half the homes in Florida are underwater on their mortgage, it is a rare circumstance that anyone has more equity that the federal system allows. If you are unclear what exemptions you are allowed to use, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today to discuss your specific case and what exemptions would be best for you.

Published on:

Bankruptcy, Honesty, Oath, PerjuryWhen filing for bankruptcy, it is very important to be very honest and disclose everything. If you do not, you risk having your bankruptcy denied, discharge revoked or even prison time in the worst case scenario. When you sign your bankruptcy documents, you are doing so swearing that they are true under penalty of perjury. If the trustee finds out that something you have in your schedules is incomplete or untrue, this will raise a red flag and the trustee will scrutinize your bankruptcy schedules even more.

A common way that people fail to disclose everything in bankruptcy is trying to hide assets. Debtors might leave off a gold watch or a private bank account. This is a big mistake. When filing for bankruptcy, you must list all of your assets. Even if you think an asset is inconsequential or minute, you should list it. It is better to have overkill than to raise a red flag.

Another thing debtors sometimes fail to list is creditors that happen to be friends or relatives. Or maybe the debtor does not want a specific creditor to know that they have filed for bankruptcy, so they do not want to list that creditor. You should not do this. You need to list all creditors to whom you currently owe any kind of debt on your bankruptcy papers. The trustee wants to make sure that all of your creditors get their fair share of your estate. No matter your intentions, make sure to list every creditor. If you do not and the trustee finds out, this will raise a red flag.

Published on:

doctor-284x290Doctors practicing in the Jacksonville area should consider their options in bankruptcy if they’ve been found liable for medical malpractice, especially if they were not covered by insurance.

Some debts are non-dischargable, as referred to in our previous entry. However, 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(6) prevents a debtor from discharging debts arising from willful and malicious injury to another person.

In Kawaauhau v. Geiger attorneys argued about the definition of “Willful”, as it could mean an intentional act that brings about an injury or an act that brings about an intentional injury. The Supreme Court oversaw the case and unanimously found that Congress intended the statute to prevent only intentional injuries, not intentional acts that lead to injuries. This means that a doctor who commits negligence can still discharge their liability for that injury in bankruptcy.

Published on:

If you have filed a bankruptcy in Jacksonville and have had debts discharged in the Florida bankruptcy court, a creditor cannot make an attempt to collect on that debt. If the creditor does, they are likely violating 11 USC §524. §524 serves as an injunction preventing the creditor from contacting the discharged debtor. This is similar to an injunction in family law commonly known as a Restraining Order. However, while a violation of a Restraining Order can lead to imprisonment, violation of a bankruptcy discharge injunction often leads to money being awarded to the client.

Discharge violations occur often and are sometimes overlooked by clients who just want to move on with their lives. The amount of money a client can be awarded depends on the severity and frequency of the collection attempts. Generally, the cost to bring an action against the creditor is paid for by the money collected from them. That means that a client could pay nothing out of pocket and could still walk away with cash.

If you are being contacted by a creditor who should have been discharged in your bankruptcy and would like them to stop, please contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer or call us at (904) 685-1200 for a free consultation.

Published on:

Debt can be classified as secured, unsecured, or priority. A secured debt is one that is collateralized by property. This means that if you default on the debt, the creditor can take the property that secures the loan. Your mortgage loan is probably secured by your home. Your auto loan is probably secured by your auto.

An unsecured debt is when you make a promise to repay the debt, but the debt is not secured by any collateral. If you default on the promise, the creditor cannot take your property without obtaining a judgment.

A priority debt is a debt that is entitled to repayment ahead of other debts that you owe. Taxes and some attorney fees are priority debts. A list of priority debts can be found in 11 U.S.C. §507.

Published on:

Most debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, there are a few debts that are not:

1. Debts arising from fraudulent conduct 2. Government-backed student loans (unless severe hardship can be shown)

3. Debts stemming from death or personal injuries related to your operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated 4. Certain taxes and fines 5. Some debts not listed on your bankruptcy 6. Domestic support obligations (alimony, child support, etc.)

Contact Information