Posts Tagged: ‘Chapter 7 Bankruptcy’

The Most Common Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions

January 12, 2018 Posted by kingcade

If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, you can use Florida bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property.  In addition, residents are provided unlimited exemptions for homestead, annuities, and the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy.

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. To claim the full value of the homestead exemption in Florida, you must have owned the property for at least 1,215 days before the bankruptcy filing.

Personal Property Exemptions:  

  • Personal property up to $1,000. Personal property can include such items as furniture, art, and electronics. (Art. 10 Sec. 4, Fl. Constitution)
  • Education savings, health savings, and hurricane savings. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.22)
  • Prescribed health aids. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.25)
  • Prepaid medical savings account and health savings account deposits (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.22(2))
  • Tax credits and refunds (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.25(3))
  • Funeral costs per Florida’s Preneed Funeral Contract Consumer Protection Trust Fund (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 497.456)
  • Particular partnership property (Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 620.153, 620.8307)

Florida Motor Vehicle Exemption:

  • Bankruptcy filers can exempt up to $1,000 in motor vehicle equity, more if you are married and filing jointly.

Exemptions for Wages in Florida:

  • Wages of a head of the family are entirely exempt up to $750 per week, or the greater of 75% or 30 times the federal minimum wage.

Pensions and retirement funds are exempt in Florida:

  • ERISA qualified retirement plans and pensions (including 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, profit sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRA’s, and other defined benefit plans) are fully exempt. (11 U.S.C. Section 522; Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.21.)
  • IRA’s and Roth IRA’s are exempt up to $1,171,650. (11 U.S.C. Section 522(b)(3)(C)(n).)
  • Public employee retirement benefits. (Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 121.131, 121.055(6)(e).)
  • State and County officers and employees retirement system benefits. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 122.15.)
  • Firefighter pensions. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 175.241.)
  • Municipal police pensions. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 185.25.)
  • Teachers’ retirement benefits. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 238.15.)

Alimony and Child Support Exemptions:

Alimony and child support, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor (the bankruptcy filer) and any dependent of the Debtor, are exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.201.)

Exemptions for Insurance Policies and Annuities:

  • The proceeds of a life insurance policy payable to a specific beneficiary are fully exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.13.)
  • The cash surrender value of a life insurance policy and the proceeds of an annuity contract are fully exempt. However, annuity proceeds resulting from lottery winnings are not exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.14.)
  • Disability income benefits are exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.18.)
  • Fraternal benefit society benefits are exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 632.619.)

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If you have any questions on the topic of bankruptcy exemptions or are in a 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How To File For Bankruptcy with Student Loan Debt

December 26, 2017 Posted by kingcade

For consumers struggling with significant debt, filing for bankruptcy may be your best option to provide you with a fresh start. If your debts consist of federal student loans, it is not an easy process to get these discharged in bankruptcy; however, it is possible.

The first thing you must do is to decide whether you will file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the goal is to get unsecured debt wiped out. This means, you have little disposable income available to pay off your debts. If you choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your plan is to get your debts restructured in order to repay some of it. This also means you likely have some disposable income to repay part of your debt.

The most important part of your case when you have student loan debt is that you must prove “undue hardship” to the court. This means that you must prove that you cannot pay back your federal student loans. In order to prove undue hardship, you and your bankruptcy attorney must file a petition called an adversary proceeding, which is unique to bankruptcy involving student loan debt.

In most courts, The Brunner Test is used to evaluate hardship. Below are 3 factors of The Brunner test outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office:

  • The filer cannot maintain a basic standard of living if paying back federal student loans
  • The filer can prove the hardship will last for a large percentage of the repayment period
  • The filer honestly tried to repay the loans before filing

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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

Beware of these Holiday Debt Traps

December 22, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The holidays are officially here and if you have some last minute shopping to do this weekend, make sure and avoid these common holiday debt traps.  Last year shoppers took on an average of $1,003 worth of debt, up from $986 in 2015.  The merriment and excitement of holiday shopping can be replaced with anxiety and fear of debt in the New Year.

Keeping up with the Joneses. The pressure to purchase the latest and greatest holiday gifts ranging from expensive electronics to brand new cars all contribute to holiday debt.   From the tree, to elaborate light displays and decorations, if not limited to a budget can all leave you with debt in the New Year.

Hot holiday toy crazes. On average, parents plan to spend $495 per child, according holiday shopping data from Rubicon Project.  When the ‘must-have’ toy items start to run out, prices increase.  Plan accordingly, and budget throughout the year for holiday spending.

Store credit cards. Avoid store credit cards at all costs.  The 10% off the day of purchase can have big consequences if a single payment is missed on one of these cards, such as 29.99 percent APR.

Holiday parties. Hosting hordes of holiday visitors and entertaining guests can cost hundreds of dollars, not only adding to your grocery bill, but your utilities in the month of December.

Indulgent spending. The problem is that many consumers do not plan for holiday spending. Sometimes, they mentally plan to go into debt.  We advise planning ahead for the next season, start checking items off the list in February or in the summer months when fewer people are buying and prices are lower.

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:

http://www.wbir.com/article/money/magnify-money/watch-out-for-these-holiday-debt-traps/507-493900752

Steps to Take if a Creditor Has Seized Your Bank Account

December 21, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you owe a debt to a creditor or a collection agency, they can legally seize your bank account and take back what is owed. However, agencies are supposed to notify debtors about the lawsuit beforehand. Unfortunately, creditors can take everything in your bank account and leave you with nothing if it is the same amount or less than what is owed.

Although your options are limited, here are three of your best options at this point.

  1. File Bankruptcy. If a creditor seizes your account and you immediately file for bankruptcy, you may be able to recover some or all of the money that was in your account. In some states, you can “exempt” those funds that were seized from your bank and the creditor would be forced to return it.
  2. Contest the Lawsuit. You may be successful in contesting the lawsuit if you were not properly served.
  3. Stop using your Account. If the first two options fail, it may be in your best interest to avoid keeping funds in your bank account. Creditors may continue to seize your funds until the balance is paid in full.

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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 attorneywho 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.

Things Not To Do Before Filing Bankruptcy

December 20, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the list of actions to avoid is just as important as the list of things to do before filing. If you do not avoid these simple decisions, it may prevent you from getting debt relief.

  • Do not transfer assets out of your name. Doing so raises huge red flags in bankruptcy court, particularly if the transferal of assets occurs right before bankruptcy filing. In some cases, hasty asset transfers may be illegal.
  • Do not use a credit card for large cash advances. Many filers choose to max out their credit cards before filing for bankruptcy because they fear losing credit later or they assume the debt will be discharged. However, if someone has no intention of paying money back, it is considered fraud.
  • Do not pay off a preferred creditor. Oftentimes, bankruptcy filers try to pay off debts with friends and family members before filing. However, bankruptcy court may make them give the money back so other creditors can get their share.
  • Do not make large purchases. It may seem like a good time to make large, expensive purchases since your debts are about to be discharged, however; the bankruptcy court may consider these purchases fraudulent.

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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.