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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

Those who are unfamiliar with the details of bankruptcy, which typically includes anyone who has not filed for bankruptcy, may incorrectly believe that all of your debts disappear upon filing. While bankruptcy is meant to help rid you of significant debt, the process will still require you to pay off most of your debts. The details of this financial breakdown vary depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file as well as the depth of your debts. Many filers do, however, get some form of a break, known as a discharge. Before moving forward with the bankruptcy filing process, it is important to understand what exactly you are responsible for and which of your debts will be forgiven without full repayment.

What Is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

A bankruptcy discharge is a legal term for debt forgiveness. In other words, a discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for a number of specified debts, not requiring him or her to pay back the discharged debts. A discharge is a permanent legal order that restricts the debtor’s creditors from taking action to obtain money for the outstanding debts. A bankruptcy discharge does not, however, cancel out any liens that a creditor may have against a property, meaning that a creditor is still able to enforce a lien and recover the associated property.

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney

For most people facing financial difficulties, the thought of filing for bankruptcy can seem out of reach. You keep thinking, “This will be the month where I get things together,” then find yourself hit with another round of unforeseen expenses. This cycle can go on for months, or even years, before people start to seriously consider filing for bankruptcy. There is a reason for this—no one actively chooses bankruptcy until it is the very last option—but this denial can allow your debt to continue building until it feels insurmountable. As a result of COVID-19, many Americans are facing the possibility of bankruptcy, which is why it is important to have the following considerations in mind before moving forward with this legal process.

Reasons You Should Consider Bankruptcy

As previously mentioned, many people do not realize that they are on the verge of bankruptcy, or that their situation is a common reason why others file for bankruptcy. If you are in the middle of any of the following scenarios, filing for bankruptcy can be a common remedy:

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on individual families and the economy as a whole, governors across the country put up protections against evictions and foreclosures. Now seven months into the pandemic, states have begun allowing these eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to expire, Florida included. Governor Ron DeSantis’ moratorium expired on October 1, leaving many Floridians panicked about how they will make ends meet. You may be concerned about your family’s financial well-being, feeling as if you are on the brink of bankruptcy. Luckily, financial assistance is available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have picked up where some of the states left off.

Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative

In late June, Gov. DeSantis announced $250 million in CARES Act funding would be used as rental and mortgage assistance for families who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Known as the Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative, the large sum of $250 million has been divided into two even pools. One was administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) as short-term rental assistance and the other half was released to counties throughout the state based on its reemployment assistance rate. According to the official press release, this second $120 million will be used for rental and homeowner assistance programs such as rehabilitation, new construction, mortgage buydowns, and more for those who have been impacted by COVID-19. The FHFC has information about the progress of the program.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Finding yourself drowning in debt is never the place that anyone expects to see themselves a few years down the road. Unfortunately, life can serve you with unforeseen circumstances—an ongoing illness that requires regular treatment or the loss of a job and regular income—and you can quickly see your debts piling up. Filing for bankruptcy is often people’s last resort; however, you may come to the realization that you actually do not qualify for bankruptcy. Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not be able to take this route when trying to get your finances under control. While it is always best to consult a bankruptcy attorney to know for sure, you may conduct your own financial analysis first to determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy is an option for you.

Passing the Means Test

There are two common ways to file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of your assets, then using these liquidated funds to pay off your debts. Not all assets are eligible, allowing you to keep a number of your assets in the process. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides you with a financial fresh start once the legal process is complete. Sounds like a great option, right? While this type of bankruptcy is helpful for many families, not everyone qualifies to use its benefits. In 2005, a means test was created in order to make it more difficult for wealthy consumers to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test uses Florida’s median family income for your household size as an indicator of your eligibility. In 2018, this income threshold totaled to $53,267 per household. In other words, if your household makes less than this amount, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If, however, your household has a combined income that is higher than this amount, you will need to follow additional steps to determine your eligibility. 

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney asset protection

Everyone’s biggest fear with filing for bankruptcy is losing everything -- your house, vehicles, savings, and more. What many do not know is that filing for bankruptcy does not mean that everything is taken away from you. There are a number of exemptions that Florida allows its residents to keep their assets even after filing for bankruptcy. In order to classify for such exemptions, you must be a Florida resident, not a recently relocated individual. You must have lived in Florida for the past two years to qualify, and if not, you will have to follow your previous state’s exemption requirements. Although it is always best to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer, you should be aware of possible exemptions available to you.

Homestead Exemption

If you are a Florida homeowner, you will likely be able to keep your home after filing for bankruptcy. Most states limit the amount of equity you can have in your house, but Florida is slightly more lenient. As long as you bought and have owned your property 1,215 days (a little less than 3.5 years) before filing, and your property does not exceed a half-acre in size, you qualify for Florida’s homestead exemption.

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Surfside bankruptcy and repossession attorney

Having your belongings taken from you is a frightening situation to imagine. If this occurs, it typically involves your most valuable assets, such as your home or car. Most people have heard the term foreclosure and understand that this means having your home taken away from you. What many may not realize is that any items you have purchased with the help of a loan can be repossessed by the lender if you fail to make payments. This can be a terrifying thought, especially if you rely on your car to get to and from work. Luckily, there are actions that you can take with the help of a skilled bankruptcy attorney to avoid such drastic measures.

How Does Repossession Work?

The term “repossession” refers to the lender reclaiming ownership over the object for which they have helped pay. This can include a house, vehicle, jewelry, furniture, or any other tangible asset that you may be in the process of paying off. Home foreclosures take a period of time and require a number of notices to be made to the owner before repossession can occur. However, vehicle repossession is not always so drawn out. Lenders are technically able to repossess items as soon as a payment is missed and do not need a court order to do so. This often involves a tow truck appearing on your driveway to take your car away. This is typically not the best option for lenders since the value of the car is less than what they would receive from you as you continue to make your payments. However, if you are delayed on multiple payments, it is not out of the question for your lender to seek payment in some form, even if that means repossessing the vehicle.

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is often the last thing that a person wants to do, which is why many people only consider bankruptcy if they feel they have no other options. Many people may falsely believe that filing for bankruptcy means handing over everything they have. Luckily, there are two types of bankruptcy which allow individuals to choose which one works best for them and avoid losing all of their assets to pay off their debts. Since filing for bankruptcy is often a last resort, you may not be educated on the topic. If you find yourself facing financial difficulty, it is important to understand which type of bankruptcy fits your unique situation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy is the more well-known of the two options. Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows individuals to discharge or eliminate their outstanding debts after their bankruptcy trustee sells their property or assets to pay off as much of their debts as possible. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically only used by those who have little to no disposable income. In other words, if you do not have enough income left over after paying ongoing expenses to repay some or all of your debts, you should consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The court will use a Chapter 7 means test to see if you are eligible to file for this form of bankruptcy, and if you qualify, you can report the income you earn and the assets you own. Non-exempt assets will be turned over to the bankruptcy trustee to be liquidated, but there are a variety of exemptions that will allow you to keep certain property, and once the bankruptcy process is complete, you will no longer be required to pay your debts. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be done with the help of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who can ensure that you report all income and assets properly and that your debts are fully discharged.

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