Articles Posted in Chapter 13

investment and bankruptcy lawyers serving tampaFor most of those who are faced with bankruptcy,  some find it particularly challenging to make an informed decision about the right attorney to hire. However, even when faced with the dire pressure of a financial crisis, it is important to make a cool and collected decision when choosing a lawyer.

Avoid Bankruptcy Mills

Some legal practices have become known as “bankruptcy mills,” as they focus on churning and burning as many cases as possible instead of fulfilling the specific needs of individual clients. Although it can be hard to identify this without being a bankruptcy lawyer yourself, reading reviews and interviewing several different lawyers can substantially reduce the possibility of this occurring.

investment and bankruptcy lawyers serving tampaBankruptcy protection gives debtors a fresh start. But before filing, it is important to know the common mistakes people make during the process.

Not Being Truthful 

The means test is the first step to filing bankruptcy. It consists of several financial questions that will determine if you can pay your creditors. If you don’t mention all of your income or assets, your case could be dismissed. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you make sure everything is presented correctly.

investment and bankruptcy lawyers serving tampaThe rising cost of healthcare is one of the top three reasons people file for bankruptcy, even if they have health insurance. If you’re struggling to pay your medical bills, continue reading to learn about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Pre-bankruptcy Counseling 

Federal law mandates that you must attend ninety minutes of approved credit counseling before you’re allowed to file for bankruptcy. The cost differs from provider to provider, but it’s often around $50.

investment and bankruptcy lawyers serving tampaThe American dream of home ownership has become a nightmare for thousands of Floridians. But you don’t have to face foreclosure proceedings alone; there are many ways to fight foreclosures and protect your assets. Savage & Villoch, your bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa, can help you plan the best alternatives for this stressful time.

Your alternatives depend on a thoughtful examination of your financial situation. Your attorney can guide you in the labyrinth of decisions to be made, such as whether your inability to make mortgage payments is short- or long-term and what relief programs apply to each situation, whether you qualify for a wide array of mortgage modification programs, or whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. We can help demystify the process and let you know what to expect. Most of all, you are not alone in this stressful time.

Make sure you learn the specific options in your case. Such problems as “underwater” mortgages–those in which the home’s value has decreased–have their own set of alternatives and relief programs. You may have also heard about the “show me the note” defense, which many people have used to defend against foreclosures by showing the court that the loan was made pursuant to fraudulent practices. It’s a tricky defense, and whether it applies to you will have to be investigated by your attorney. Mortgage modifications are often fought tooth-and-nail by lenders, so it is in your best interests to have a knowledgeable advocate getting you the best modification possible.

logo-squareIn most bankruptcies in the State of Florida, the filer does not have to appear in court.  He, or she, only has to attend a “meeting of creditors,” which also includes a “bankruptcy trustee.”  Appearing before a judge usually occurs if the filer is challenging a debt and claims he does not owe it, or that he owes only part of it.  Although bankruptcy is the best legal means of “eliminating (or ‘discharging’) most, or all, of your debt,” there are certain things bankruptcy can, and cannot, do for you.  Bankruptcy is able to:

1) Stop home foreclosure and vehicle repossession, while you “catch up on missed payments” –Bankruptcy can even make creditors return property which they’ve already confiscated.

2) Stop wage garishment and debt collection calls,

logo-squareFiling for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean you are an irresponsible person or an untrustworthy consumer.  In fact, studies conducted at the National Bureau of Economic Research found that even those well-paid Tampa Bay ball players you love were filing shortly after they retired their jerseys (actually, more than 78% of them). The reason behind this occurrence is what’s known as “financial stress,” and we all go through it. Regardless of whether we make millions or simply survive from paycheck to paycheck, we are all definite candidates for bankruptcy if things go awry.

Three Tips to Help You Prepare for a Smooth Bankruptcy 

Financial stress or not, you need to proceed with caution.  Before you even think about getting started, be sure to arm yourself with strong team of professionals. You could be doing irreparable damage to your case and not even know it.  A good attorney will always give you detailed instructions on the dos and don’t of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, there are some basic things everyone should know before moving forward.

logo-squareDuring a bankruptcy filing, most people wish to keep their home and vehicle. In some cases, secured creditors will ask people filing bankruptcy to sign a reaffirmation agreement. In nearly all cases, this is not a good idea for a number of reasons.

What is a reaffirmation agreement?

Reaffirmation agreements are in effect an agreement that you owe a lender money. One of the things that many bankruptcy filers are unaware of is that when they file bankruptcy, the promissory note portion of the mortgage is part and parcel of the bankruptcy. If you do not sign a reaffirmation agreement, and later have trouble paying your mortgage, the lender cannot hold you accountable for the debt. This also means if your home is sold for less than what you owe, the lender cannot successfully pursue a deficiency judgment.

logo-squareI bet that up until this point, you haven’t given much thought to the financial security of celebrities. I also bet that a recent article in the Washington Post reporting on the bankruptcy rates of NFL players may change your mind.  According to the research, football players are just as likely to file for bankruptcy as anyone else in their age bracket.

What I take from this, is that anyone can find themselves in a bankruptcy situation. Financial security is not static and it may be harder to amend fluctuations on your own than you think. If you find yourself asking whether bankruptcy is right for you or your business, it is best to find an experienced professional to discuss your bankruptcy options.

  • Do you want to liquidate your assets and start fresh?

logo-squareThe decision to file for bankruptcy is a personal one for you and your family. There are many reasons to consider bankruptcy, and here are some of the most common:

Getting out of credit card debt: Credit card debt is one of the main reasons why people in America today consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can easily become overwhelmed with credit card debt, especially when you consider the interest, late fees and other penalties, and ever-increasing minimum monthly payments. High credit card balances are one type of debt usually discharged or eliminated by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In addition, when you file for bankruptcy, the court places a stay of protection on you that stops all debt collection attempts. That includes phone calls, letters, and lawsuits.

Choosing to go through bankruptcy is usually a final attempt by people in a difficult financial situation, who are trying to salvage what they may of their lives. They are sinking – due to the market collapse, a job loss, business going under, unexpected medical emergencies and the attendant sky-high bills, a mortgage they can no longer afford, the kids’ college tuition, or maybe just from poor money management – whatever the reason, their financial boat is under water. Creditors are threatening to take the few assets they’ve managed to keep and they’re facing utter ruin. At this point they need to find the best bankruptcy lawyer they can – the best one for them, specifically.

To this end, they must ask qualifying questions of their prospective lawyer:

  • What kind of bankruptcy should I file: Chapter 7 or 13, or is my situation more complex than that?
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