Posts Tagged: ‘Chapter 13 Bankruptcy’

The Dangers of Filing Bankruptcy Pro Se

March 6, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Filing for bankruptcy “pro se” means that an individual represents himself or herself in the bankruptcy process.  It is a risky decision and there are a number of pitfalls associated with the same.  Filing for bankruptcy has a complex set of rules, forms, statutes and judicial decisions.  Some people choose to represent themselves because they think they cannot afford to hire a bankruptcy attorney or they may think they have a simple case.  Whatever the reasoning, it is not a wise decision.

Here are some of the most common problems with filing for bankruptcy pro se (without an attorney):

Filing the wrong type of bankruptcy– Each type of bankruptcy is designed to solve specific problems.  Property is treated very differently when it comes to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  If you file the wrong Chapter bankruptcy, you run the risk of losing valuable property or end up not being able to discharge certain debts.

Losing property you should have been able to keep– Filing for personal bankruptcy allows you to claim “exemptions,” which can save your home, even your business.  If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, you can use Florida bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property.  Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country. To use Florida’s exemptions, you must have resided in Florida for at least 730 days before filing your bankruptcy petition. Here are the most common Florida bankruptcy exemptions.

Not properly filling out the bankruptcy forms– When filing for bankruptcy, you will have to fill out much more than a standard bankruptcy petition.  You will be expected to submit dozens of supporting documentation, listing every single debt, all of your creditors and all of your assets.  If you make a mistake or miss something, costly delays can result.  Not to mention, you run the risk of your case being completely dismissed and rejected all together.

Continued creditor harassment– When you hire an attorney to file your bankruptcy, creditors are required by law to only speak with your attorney and may no longer harass you about your debt.  If you choose to represent yourself in bankruptcy, the lender may try and lift the automatic stay, which is what protects your from continued creditor calls while your bankruptcy is ongoing.   A consumer has specific rights when a creditor violates the automatic stay.

Failing to take required education courses– In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers must take approved credit counseling courses before filing for bankruptcy, and complete a financial management course before receiving their bankruptcy discharge. Many pro se filers get confused about these requirements and if they fail to file the proper certificate, their entire case can be dismissed.

Failure to understand the above concepts will be problematic if a creditor challenges the dischargeability of a debt or if the bankruptcy trustee alleges you have committed fraud—or anything else that could crop up during the case. When you find yourself on the receiving end of a complaint or motion, an attorney is essential to your success.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pitfalls-filing-chapter-7-bankruptcy-without-attorney.html

Life After Bankruptcy: Getting a Credit Card Again

October 25, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you have recently filed for bankruptcy, you may be wondering about the possibility of getting a new credit card. Before you apply for a credit card, it is important to make sure you have a stable job and the ability to pay your other bills such as rent and utilities.

If bad financial decisions led to your bankruptcy, you may want to avoid getting a credit card for a while. However, if unexpected events such as a divorce or a job loss led to your money problems, you may be able to handle a credit card again.

Below are three important things to consider before filling out a credit card application:

  1. Timing is everything. Your bankruptcy must be discharged before you can get a credit card. Lenders will deny a line of credit during a bankruptcy proceeding because the account can be included in the bankruptcy. It takes approximately three months for debts to be discharged after the initial filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy entails a three to five-year partial repayment plan and therefore takes much longer to be fully discharged.
  2. Weigh your options, good and bad. A recent bankruptcy will drag down your credit score for some time. As a result, you will likely receive credit card offerings from subprime lenders. Keep in mind that these credit cards typically come with higher interest rates and low limits. In addition, they typically require frequent fees that are much higher than most. A better option after a bankruptcy discharge is a secured credit card. This type of card is designed for consumers with bad or no credit. They are backed by a security you are required to put down. Secured cards have low limits and high interest rates but do not typically charge annual fees.
  3. Monitor your credit score. If you do get a secured card, do not spend more than 30 percent of the credit limit and pay off the balance every month. If you follow these two rules, your credit score should improve in time.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Key Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

October 20, 2017 Posted by kingcade

There are two main bankruptcy options available to people who are drowning in consumer debt, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Choosing the right one is critical for success in wiping away your debts. Below is a guide that shares the basic attributes of both options to help you decide which option will work best for you.

Chapter 7 is a form of liquidation. This means the debtor’s assets are allocated among each of the creditors. In most Chapter 7 cases, debtors do not have assets above the legal threshold, which is set by state law and therefore they do not have to give up anything. The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy case lasts approximately three and a half months from filing to discharge. Approximately 96 percent of debtors who file under Chapter 7 receive a discharge of their debts.

When a debt is discharged, it is no longer legally owed. Unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills are typically dischargeable, with the exception of student loans. Secured debts such as mortgages or car loans are typically either relinquished or kept by continuing payments.

Chapter 13 is a form of a repayment plan. The debtor’s obligations are combined in one, regular payment calibrated to the debtor’s income. However, certain obligations such as utility bills might be paid outside the plan.

Chapter 13 plans can last anywhere from three to five years, but most are five-year plans. Approximately 41 percent of debtors who filed under Chapter 13 received a discharge of their debts and another 10 percent first tiled under Chapter 13 and later converted to Chapter 7 and received a discharge that way.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

OJ Simpson Defense Attorney F. Lee Bailey Files Again for Bankruptcy

July 5, 2017 Posted by kingcade

F. Lee Bailey, OJ Simpson’s former defense attorney has filed for bankruptcy once again; this time to create a payment plan to resolve a federal tax debt owed.

Bailey recently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows a person who has a steady income to create a payment plan with creditors.  His latest bankruptcy filing will allow Bailey to discharge certain debts he could not eliminate in his Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy filing last year.

Bailey resolved his personal IRS debt through the earlier bankruptcy filing, but the federal government retained liens on some of his property that could not be discharged in the prior case.

His attorney said he estimates the IRS liens on Bailey’s property are worth about $100,000, but the government could dispute that as federal officials previously estimated their secured claims against Bailey at around $600,000.

Bailey owed the IRS approximately $5 million, in total.  Bailey’s filing in the Chapter 13 case states that he has assets worth between $100,000 and $500,000 and debts between $1 million and $10 million.

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If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy History Suggests Intent to Hinder and Delay Creditors

November 22, 2016 Posted by kingcade

The Tenth Circuit Court recently heard the Rupp v. Pearson case where the debtor’s historical use of bankruptcy filings suggested improper purpose to hinder and delay creditors.

Mrs. Pearson had filed nine, mostly unsuccessful, bankruptcies since 1993. In 1997, she filed two unsuccessful chapter 13 cases before filing a chapter 7 petition and receiving a discharge. She later filed two more unsuccessful chapter 13 cases and had one pending chapter 13 case. She then filed another chapter 7 case seeking another discharge of her debts. The second chapter 7 case was filed two weeks after the dismissal of her chapter 13, and immediately upon the passage of the eight-year period.

The bankruptcy court inferred that Ms. Pearson was a “system-gamer.” This means that she routinely filed chapter 13 cases simply to stall collection efforts and with no actual intention of complying with the terms of her own plans. She then filed for chapter 7 relief as soon as the law allowed.

During one of Ms. Pearson’s filings, she agreed to contribute her expected tax return to the extent it exceeded $2,000. However, she kept the entire $4,829 refund and spent it on non-exempt personal items. This resulted in the bankruptcy court dismissing one of her chapter 13 cases. When she filed a chapter 7 case two weeks later, the trustee filed an adversary complaint seeking to have Ms. Pearson’s discharge denied due to her misappropriation of the tax refund with intent to defraud creditors, in violation of section 727(a)(2)(A). “In our view, the (trustee’s) complaint states a plausible claim that Ms. Pearson’s failure to turn over to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy estate the required portion of the tax refund was part of a scheme to hinder and delay creditors.”

However, the Tenth Circuit Court rejected the reasoning of the lower courts in finding that the complaint failed to state a claim for relief due to an absence of “fraud markers” and the fact that the complaint failed to negate the possibility of innocent uses of the tax refund. Rather, the circuit court noted that cases under 727(a)(2)(A) are fact-specific and not subject to rigid formulas.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.