Small Business Owners Bankruptcy

Bankrupting may help obtain the relief you’re seeking if your small business is drowning in debt. You will have to review some details for this option to help you understand how the process can actually help. What could affect how you proceed is the way your business is structured. There are of course other concerns to think about such as understanding who is liable for outstanding debt as well as the type of debt in question.

If you have a small business and you are considering bankruptcy, the chapter filed may depend on your intentions. As you should know, bankruptcy can help you reorganize your debt, eliminate debt or liquidate company assets to satisfy debt. A personal bankruptcy may be filed or perhaps a business bankruptcy can be completed in some cases. However, it would always depend on who is liable for business debt.

There are actually different options for you to consider for filing including Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Choosing the best chapter that is suitable for your situation would vary on how your business is structured, if it is sole proprietor, limited liability company or LLC, corporation. Each chapter presents its own advantages that should be reviewed prior to filing.

Chapter 7 can be filed by a person on behalf of the business or the business itself. Chapter 13 is often filed as an individual and not as a separate entity, however if you’re the sole proprietor of your business you may file this chapter as one entity. Chapter 13 will provide you to follow a repayment schedule that is approved by the court to make payments on debt obligations. Chapter 11 is usually sought by businesses and individuals with more complex situations or has debt obligations that exceed a certain amount. To help restructure your business, you can file this chapter either as an individual or as a business if you choose to stay in operation.

Call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free discussion on bankruptcy.

These Signals Show You Should Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney

You don’t exactly need to be completely broke or financially unstable in order for you to contact a bankruptcy attorney as what many have believed. It might actually be helpful for you to get information about bankruptcy that could actually be of great help later in the future even if you feel you are in good place with your finances. On the other hand, a legal expert needs to review certain situations to help you give a clear idea on what options are available for you. Additionally, if you are ale to discuss legal options with your attorney ahead of time gives you an advantage to create a detailed plan to follow which increases the chance of utilizing more exemptions that can help you retain assets. The following situations could be a good sign for you to get yourself a bankruptcy attorney:

– Collection agencies keep on having contact attempts from you repeatedly such as phone calls or notices by mail.

– A lawsuit is pending against you; hence you’ve been served a summons or a creditor has filed a complaint against you.

– Using your credit cards to take care of daily expenses.

– You’re barely making minimum payments on credit cards and other outstanding accounts.

– You’re falling behind on mortgage payments.

– Garnishment of your wages or your bank account is in progress.

You just have to remember that you don’t have to file bankruptcy right away when you contact a bankruptcy attorney. Think of it as an opportunity to discuss your situation ahead of time and learn if bankruptcy could really help you. Bankruptcy can stop legal action against you and could even help you retain your personal property including your vehicle and home. It is all up to you if you will file bankruptcy or not but it will help assess your options to help you make an informed decision.

If you want to discuss bankrutpcy, call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.

What You Should Know About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are drowning in debt, there is a way to end the endless struggle to pay off your creditors. It’s called Chapter 13 bankruptcy. And no, you do not have to sell any of your assets, neither will it cost you an arm and a leg. Many people have no clue about bankruptcy, let alone Chapter 13 bankruptcy. All they know is a bankrupt is a penniless beggar on the street who has no home, no assets and no money because he’s…well, bankrupt. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What you should know about bankruptcy may surprise you. If you file for bankruptcy protection, you will not end up broke or homeless. In fact, NOT filing for bankruptcy is what will drive you to the poor house. If you would like to file for bankruptcy, I’d suggest Chapter 13. So here are some facts about Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as worker’s bankruptcy. It is a court-approved repayment plan for you to pay off your debts. Usually, the repayment is over a period of 3 to 5 years. The repayment amount depends on your income and how much debt you have. That is why this is known as the worker’s bankruptcy – you need to have a job or some source of income to qualify. If you are retired you may use your pension fund as the source of income.

The debts to repay will be prioritized – secured debts and other priority debts come first in your repayment plan. Unsecured debts may be paid based on disposable income or what you have left after paying necessary expenses.
One advantageous thing about Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you do not have to liquidate any of your assets. This means even if your house is facing foreclosure, bankruptcy may be able to save your house. The repayment plan is designed to help you get current on your mortgage payments. The same thing applies to back taxes.

Once your chapter 13 bankruptcy is approved, the court issues an automatic stay meaning all creditors will be informed of your petition and prohibited from making any more collection efforts on you until you exit bankruptcy.
For further information, call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.

Will I lose my Lottery Jackpot if in Bankruptcy?

There are a lot of people who are actually hoping to get a piece of the prize in the jackpot amounts in recent months if they don’t win it entirely. There would be a lot of dreams to possibly come true if someone would actually win those jackpot amounts that are reaching historical heights. Winning a lottery could actually make one life change dramatically. But what if you win the lottery just right after filing bankruptcy? What do you think would happen?

The bankruptcy process looks at a lottery win as a windfall; a personal gain or good fortune received unexpectedly. So this would actually mean that the winnings become a part of the bankruptcy estate. It is somehow viewed as receiving something similar to a valuable gift such as an inheritance or other payouts such as compensation or insurance. There are a lot of people who assumes that if your bankruptcy case isn’t completed, then you will lose your winnings. Fret not, because this may not be true at all.

You should report your lottery win to your trustee or attorney as soon as possible. Despite the unexpected windfall, you still had an interest in it before you even have filed your case. The amount of your proceeds will be compared against outstanding debt obligations related to your case. Your situation will be assessed and options will be reviewed. Paying what you owe wouldn’t make a big dent in your proceeds if you happen to win millions but only owe thousands. Arrangements can be made to pay off creditors if this is the case.

Please call us at (813) 200 4133 to discuss (for free) if bankruptcy is suitable for you.

Bankruptcy and Joint Property

If you’re married and you’re considering bankruptcy protection but as a married individual, you may actually have some concerns about joint property and whether or not it can be protected from creditors. The result of your case would vary on different things, such as which chapter you have filed for bankruptcy, if you file on your own or perhaps with your spouse, the state you live in and the ownership of property.

Depending on your situation and qualifications, you may be qualified to filing either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 if you’re considering bankruptcy. There will be a protection for marital property as part of the exemptions of each chapter. You will make payments trhough a structured schedule plan based on your income that lasts 3 to 5 years when you file for Chapter 13 bankrupcty. You’ll be able to keep your property as long as you make your payments.

All property between each spouse becomes part of the filing whether it is owned by one or both spouses either in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 if you file your case jointly. This includes oustanding debt which means both spouses can actually abotain a discharge and not be liable. Do remember that there are other states that allow married couples to double exemptions or carry a certain amount of exemptions depending on the type of property.

Only the couple’s debt and property who have filed for protection will be part of the case if only one spouse files for it. Although this would still depend on which state you reside and whether it is a community property or a common law state. Joint property is defined in a community property state that includes all items acquired during marriage. A separate property is any property that is acquired before marriage. Common law states allow married individuals to claim property acquired during marriage as separate if obtained by one spouse.

To help protect marital property, one spouse may qualify for exemption when filing bankruptcy. However, it is very important to review exemptions available in your state first before you start filing. There are some situations that it is beneficial for both spouses to file to protect joint propterty.

Call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free discussion on bankruptcy

Do not Believe These Lies about Bankruptcy

Because of fasle misonceptions and a lack of understanding about bankruptcy, a lot of consumers try to avoid it. It often depends on the situation of the
individual even though filing may have its own pros and cons. It is very important for you to get sufficient information when you’re going to consider
bankruptcy to help you make an educational decision about your finances. Avoid getting confused and mislead by myths that aren’t really true and get caught up
with the facts instead.

1. All debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy get discharged. There are certain obligations such as back child support, back taxes, student loans and debt incurred
related to fraud are not eligible for a discharge but most unsecured debts actually does.

2. You’ll lose everything once you file bankruptcy. You’ll learn about exemptions available that help protect personal property including your home, vehicle and
even your retirement accounts and more once you’ll do your homework on the process.

3. Married couples have to file bankruptcy together. This isn’t really true if you have a good amount of debt between the two of you. Once again, it all depends
on the situation that you’re in. In most cases a spouse can file on their own, especially if debt is in the name of the filing spouse only.

4. You can’t get back taxes discharged in bankruptcy. Under specific qualifications, you back taxes can be discharged. You will need to review your situation
first with a tax professional or bankruptcy expert if you are considering this option.

5. Bankruptcy can be filed only one time. That’s not exactly true, Although there might be some limitations that you should be aware of. You can file Chapter 7
again after 8 years, file Chapter 13 again after 2 years and you’ll need to wait 4 years if you are going to a Chapter 13 case from a Chapter 7.

6. Credit can’t be obtained after filing. That’s not true. You might want to study about checking interest rates of potential lenders first before inquiring for
credit.

If you want to discuss bankrutpcy, call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation

Which Debts Can Be Eliminated by Bankruptcy (and which cannot)

Which Debts Can Be Eliminated by Bankruptcy (and which cannot)

While bankruptcy is a godsend provided in the law for all debtors, it is not a panacea for all financial ills. There are many debts that can be eliminated by bankruptcy (in fact, most can) but there are some debts it cannot. The law does specify which ones cannot be eliminated largely because it is protecting other relevant parties. For instance, child support and alimony is one of the debts that cannot be discharged by bankruptcy because the law protects the divorced spouse and child(ren).

Among the many and most common types of debt bankruptcy can eliminate are:

Credit card debt

Credit card debt is one of the most crippling types of debt because of its high interest rates. Most credit card debt is unsecured debt which means they are not based on any collateral. Bankruptcy is designed to eliminate these kinds of unsecured debts. But this is so if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Obviously, you cannot have your debts eliminated for free. Chapter 7 bankruptcy entails liquidating your assets to pay off your debts. Therefore, the proceeds from the sale of you debts will be utilized to pay for your credit card debts. If the proceeds are insufficient, then the balance of the credit card debts will be discharged.

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, you may have to pay back some portion of your credit card debts. However, any balance of debts that remain once your repayment plan is complete will be discharged.

Medical bills

Hefty medical bills can be discharged through bankruptcy just like credit card debt can. This is because most medical bills are unsecured debt as well. So the treatment of this debt is the same as with credit card debts.

Certain types of liens

A lien is a creditor’s right to your property and will still be in force after you exit bankruptcy unless you invoke certain procedures during your bankruptcy case. This is done through lien avoidance. Lien avoidance allows you to eliminate (avoid) some types of liens on certain kinds of exempt property without paying anything to the creditor. With the lien eliminated, you get to keep the property free and clear without paying anything more to the creditor.

For further details on how to eliminate liens in bankruptcy, call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.

Finally, the types of debts that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy are child support and alimony, college loans, most types of income tax debt and damages awarded by a court of law against you for any offence.

Florida Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are to liquidate your assets to pay off your debts. But not all assets need to be sold; there are some assets that are exempted, and these vary from state to state. There are also exemptions in the federal system. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and the federal bankruptcy exemptions. However, this does not apply to Florida. In Florida, you must use the state exemptions which I will list out here.

Your primary residence

This refers to real or personal property, including mobile homes and condominiums of unlimited value. If you are the spouse or the child of a deceased owner of a property, this exemption also applies to you. But the property cannot exceed half an acre in a municipality, or 160 acres elsewhere.

Personal properties

This would include motor vehicles up to $1,000, prescribed health aids, federal income tax credits or tax refunds, prepaid hurricane savings accounts, prepaid medical savings account deposits, prepaid college education trust deposits and any personal property up to $1,000 total or up to $4,000 if no homestead claimed.

Wages

If you are the head of your household, 100% of your wages is exempted up to $750 per week. This applies to either unpaid or paid wages, or wages deposited in a bank account for up to 6 months. Also exempted are federal government employees’ pension payments that are needed for support and that were received up to 3 months prior to the bankruptcy.

Pensions

Your 401(k), 403(b), SEP, profit sharing and money purchase plans and defined benefit plans, IRAS and Roth IRAs up to $1,171,650 are exempted under Florida state bankruptcy laws. This also covers pensions of public servants like firefighters, police personnel, county and state government workers, and teachers.

Alimony and child support

Your bankruptcy trustee will not touch your alimony and/or child support.

Public benefits

This means any form of public assistance, reemployment assistance, Veterans’ benefits, and social security that you may be receiving. It also includes Worker’s compensation payments and crime victims’ compensation unless you’re seeking to discharge debt for treatment of crime related injury.

Insurance

Your insurance claims such as the sum insured paid upon the death of your spouse is not subject to liquidation under Chapter 7. Likewise, annuity contract payments excluding lottery winnings and life insurance cash surrender values, sickness and disability insurance benefits, fraternal benefit society benefits are also exempt.

Miscellaneous

Any form of compensation or damages awarded to you for injuries sustained in a hazardous occupation is exempted.
These are the main exemptions in Florida. For a more detailed explanation of these, call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.

How to Get Your Taxes Discharged through Bankruptcy

Many people are under the impression that income tax debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. The fact is that is not entirely true. In some cases, your tax debt can be discharged when you file for bankruptcy. But there are certain criteria that must be met and also it depends on which type of bankruptcy you file for. There are two types of bankruptcy open to individuals namely Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies may help you deal with your debt in different ways. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate or discharge debt that meets necessary criteria (see below). Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you deal with tax debt that doesn’t qualify for discharge. With Chapter 13 you may be able to repay what you owe without penalties or interest, making your payments more affordable. You are advised to consult a bankruptcy attorney to help you decide which type of bankruptcy is suitable for you. Call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.

Only tax debts that follow these criteria will qualify to be discharged.

Firstly, your tax returns must be current over the last two years. This means you should not have missed filing your taxes during that time. So you may need to provide proof of filing previous tax returns before filing your petition. Secondly, you must not have committed tax fraud or evaded taxes. Thirdly, the tax debt must be accessed by the IRS within 240 days of filing for protection. However this 240 day period may be extended if you make an offer in compromise (while your offer is being considered, the 240 day-period is put on hold). Specifications may also vary if you have a tax lien. And fourthly, the tax return related to the outstanding debt was due at least 3 years before filing.

If you wish to discuss these matters further, call us at (813) 200 4133.  We offer free consultations.

Will You Lose all your Cash in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you liquidate all your non-exempt assets to pay off your debts. Your cash would be part of your assets. Does that mean Chapter 7 bankruptcy will leave you penniless? That depends on whether you have cash that is classified as exempt. What is termed exempt will differ depending on guidelines set by the state you reside in. There are also exemptions at the federal level that may apply to you and under certain circumstances you may be able to utilize both types to provide full protection, since some exemptions may only offer a certain amount of coverage.

Generally, these are the types of cash that are exempted from being used to pay off debts:

• Public assistance funds

• Unemployment benefits

• Cash in bank accounts. Bank account funds of a married couple may qualify for protection if one spouse is filing for protection with the other spouse not being liable for debt owed included in the filing.

• Proceeds from Social Security

• Proceeds from a personal injury case may also qualify for protection.

If you have cash arising from the sale of a vehicle, this amount of cash may or may not be exempt depending on when you sold it. Your vehicle is usually an exempted asset so you do not have to liquidate it to pay off your debts. But if you sold your vehicle before filing your bankruptcy petition, the money received may not be considered exempt anymore.

So if you need to cut down on your expenses, instead of selling your vehicle you should keep it until you file for Chapter 7. In Chapter 7 you may have the option of reaffirming the loan agreement on a vehicle, redeem the vehicle by making a lump sum payment based on what the car is worth and having the remaining balanced owed discharged, or surrender the car if you can’t afford payment.