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Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida
In the face of overwhelming debt and creditor harassment against you and/or your business, you may believe there are no options. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Federal bankruptcy law gives individuals just like you the opportunity to file for bankruptcy in order to get a fresh start. As an experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyer, Thomas L. Abrams offers an initial consultation without charge to help you get started.
The primary purpose of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to eliminate your legal obligation on dischargeable debts. After a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor will have no liability for discharged debts. Bankruptcy law may also eliminate your legal obligation on secured debts such as the debtor’s personal residence , motor vehicle, investment property or guarantees of business debt. In some instances, debtors may reaffirm secured debts to reinstate the prior legal obligation and continue to make regular payments as they continue the use of their property. However, some types of debts cannot be discharged. Classic examples include child support, student loans( absent extreme hardship cases), and particular taxes.
What is Chapter 7, and What Property Can I Keep?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation of the debtor’s nonexempt assets . The bankruptcy code allows a Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtor to retain certain basic assets, known as exempt property. Following are some examples of property that may be exempt in a Florida bankruptcy: » Pensions and Qualified Retirement Plans – 100% protected
» Alimony and child support – 100% protected
» Social Security Benefits and Lump Sum Payments – 100% protected
» Workers’ Compensation – 100% protected
» College Tuition 529(a)(1) Savings Account – 100% protected
» Wearing Apparel – protected within the personal property exemption amount
» Whole Life Insurance – Cash Surrender Value – 100% protected against any creditor of insured and proceeds generally exempt as to creditors of insured
» Wild Card – any personal property of the debtor up to $4,000.00 protected if debtor not claiming homestead exemption
» Homestead – Personal Residence of the debtor –amount depends on circumstances but most often all equity in homestead is exempt
» Motor Vehicle - Up to $1,000 protected plus amounts applied from $1,000 constitutional exemption
» Wages are exempt as to head of household
The above is simply a summary of some applicable exemptions and cannot be relied upon absent advice from counsel. The applicability of exemptions to your property is an important determination. You must seek and obtain clear legal advice on this issue prior to filing as an ill timed or ill advised bankruptcy filing can be a disaster. Thomas L. Abrams has substantial experience in all aspects of Chapter 7, including the applicability of exemptions to your property.
If you would like to learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how it may benefit you, contact Thomas L. Abrams, a bankruptcy attorney for over 20 years.