Archive for September, 2016

Your New Best Friend – the Automatic Stay

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

If you are just now considering filing for bankruptcy, you probably aren’t aware of all the elements of the process. There are various tools that can protect you. In fact, one of the most beneficial tools for those filing bankruptcy is the automatic stay. The automatic stay is a part of all bankruptcy cases, and it stops all collection actions you may be facing from creditors or debt collection agencies.

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The automatic stay can be a powerful instruments for protecting them against a number of financial burdens. If you are facing eviction, repossession or foreclosure, losing utilities or benefits, or are having issues making child support payments, the automatic stay may benefit you and your family in a time of financial crisis.

Below are a few ways the automatic stay law can help you when filing for bankruptcy.
• It may stop utility disconnections. If you have been unable to pay your utility bill, companies may threaten to disconnect crucial resources such as water, electricity, and gas. Thankfully, the automatic stay will postpone these disconnections for a minimum of 20 days.
• It may stop foreclosure. In most cases, the automatic stay will postpone proceedings if your home mortgage is at risk of foreclosure. However, it is noted that a person consider Chapter 13 Bankruptcy if they want to keep their house during the bankruptcy process.
• It may stop eviction. In many cases, the automatic stay will prevent property owners from evicting tenants in improbable amounts of time. However, property owners may be able to find loopholes to evict you and your family sooner. While the automatic stay may be able to postpone the eviction for a few days or weeks, it is important to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation immediately.
• May be able to stop wage garnishments. When filing for bankruptcy, the automatic stay law will disallow any collection agencies to take any part of your salary. However, this may exclude and wages that may be taken to satisfy court judgments.

When to Call an Attorney

Bankruptcy does not always have to be an intimidating process. In fact, for some, bankruptcy might be the best option to get out of a sticky situation. For this reason, it is important to speak with a skilled bankruptcy attorney in Dallas to make sure your situation is looked at detail by detail. With tools such as the automatic stay, bankruptcy can be a helpful way to keep you and your family living in a comfortable situation.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.

You’re Wrong About Bankruptcy

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

No one wants to go through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a scary prospect. However, it may not be as bad as you think. There are a couple of things that you may be thinking that are just not correct.

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A person who files for bankruptcy has failed.

This could not be further from the truth. Filing for bankruptcy is not a personal failing. In fact, a person who makes the tough decision to file bankruptcy is actually taking action to improve their situation going forward. Moreover, many bankruptcies are the result of debts that were simply not the debtor’s fault. Perhaps you were seriously injured in an accident and struggled with medical bills. According to financial experts, more than half of all bankruptcies in the US stem from medical debt. You do not deserve to be punished simply for getting sick or injured. And you certainly should not feel bad about seeking assistance as you work to get back on your feet.

Bankruptcy will close doors for you in the future.

Again, this bankruptcy myth is simply not true. Depending on the precise circumstances, filing for bankruptcy will give you a chance to keep your important assets as you attempt to clear your debts and move forward with your life. Beyond that, many people who file for bankruptcy actually find that they have more options in the future because they are no longer saddled with crippling debts.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.

Use a Lawyer for Chapter 7

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

refer the Bankruptcy Network. Chapter 7 is the form of bankruptcy where you surrender all assets and are relieved of all debts. Some people may think that they don’t have much to lose, so they might as well try to fill out the forms themselves with an attorney. That is probably not a real great idea.

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As the Official Instructions to the bankruptcy forms state, “Completing the forms is only a part of the bankruptcy process. You are strongly encouraged to hire a qualified attorney not only to help you complete the forms but also to give you general advice about bankruptcy and to represent you in your bankruptcy case.”

So what’s the worst that can happen if you don’t use a lawyer? Lots.

1. You can lose your home. Many pro se (without a lawyer) filers are unfamiliar with the exemption laws under which some or all of the equity in your home might be able to be protected. The exemption laws vary tremendously from state to state; what is fully protected in one might be totally unprotected right across the state line. The timing of the filing may affect what exemptions are available. If there’s unprotected equity, the Chapter 7 Trustee might sell your home to pay some or all of your creditors (and take a commission on the distribution).

How your home is titled can also affect things. If it’s owned by you and your spouse, and you have no joint debt (other than the mortgage or a car loan), some states might protect your home regardless of how much equity there is in it. But some don’t. Most pro se filers don’t understand how the way in which a home is titled can impact whether the Chapter 7 Trustee might be interested in selling it.

A good bankruptcy attorney can review your situation and let you know whether there is any significant risk to your home if you file.

2. Fraudulent Conveyances. Some people think that giving away or selling property for a lot less than it’s worth just before filing bankruptcy is a good way to avoid its liquidation by a Ch 7 Trustee. It’s not. Called “fraudulent conveyances,” doing this could not only result in your being denied a bankruptcy discharge, it could end up with you serving jail time for bankruptcy fraud.

A good bankruptcy attorney can review your situation and let you know how to protect assets you don’t want to lose (and avoid fraudulent conveyance issues).

3. You can lose your claims. If you don’t schedule personal injury or medical malpractice claims, breach of contract claims, consumer protection violations, and other potential claims you might have (even if you don’t then plan on bringing them), you can lose them, no matter how strong a case you have. The concept of “judicial estoppel” could prevent you from even bringing the case if you didn’t disclose it in the bankruptcy.

A good bankruptcy attorney can make sure that your right to bring your claims is protected.

4. Don’t Schedule All Your Assets? You Can Lose Them. You are required to schedule ALL of your assets and ALL of your debts. An asset is anything you own, possess, or have any legal interest in. Your home with the big mortgage isn’t “owned by the bank”–it’s owned by you. The bank has a lien against it. And you’re required to schedule it. If you don’t, not only might your discharge be denied, you could end up serving jail time for bankruptcy fraud.

Note that just because an asset is scheduled doesn’t mean that you will lose it. You may be able to exempt it, it may not be part of the bankruptcy estate, or the Trustee can abandon it. The vast majority of my Chapter 7 clients keep everything they have.

A good bankruptcy attorney can make sure that your assets are properly scheduled and protected.

5. Preference Payments. Paying back loans to family and friends during the year before your case is filed is great way to get them sued for a “preference”. Of course you paid mom back before you paid Capital One. But if the payment is considered “preferential,” the Chapter 7 Trustee can sue mom to get that money back. There are some defenses to preference actions, but you need to know them and make them timely or they could be waived.

A good bankruptcy attorney can make sure that your case is timed so as to avoid preference actions.

A good bankruptcy attorney can make your Chapter 7 case easy. Handling it without one often makes it hard and can make it very, very painful (and expensive).

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.