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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

Creditor harassment over debts discharged in bankruptcy

When a person files for bankruptcy, any of his or her debts are forgiven or included in a payment plan approved by the court. We briefly discussed last week how it is possible for people to go ahead and pay for discharged debts if they want to do so. That, however, isn't a requirement for Florida bankruptcy cases. While it isn't very common, it is possible that some people who file bankruptcy will end up being harassed by creditors who are trying to collect on a debt that was discharged.

One point that you can establish if you are in that situation is that you have filed for bankruptcy. If you have an attorney handling your bankruptcy, the debt collector must contact that attorney. The debt collector shouldn't contact you.

Are all debts discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcies?

Miami residents who decide to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy often mistakenly believe that all of their debts will be discharged. However, not all debts are discharged in a bankruptcy.

This means that even after a bankruptcy discharge, debtors will still be on the hook for certain debts based on the nature of the debts or the manner in which they were incurred, such as damages resulting from a debtor driving drunk and causing a wreck.

Protect some of your assets with Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Mounting debts can seem like a never ending battle when you are getting notices and phone calls from creditors. When things get to be too much, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a way to regain control of your financial situation. Last week, we discussed some of the requirements for this form of bankruptcy. That post might have some of our readers wondering what they should do if they need to seek the protections of Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

By filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you might be able to protect your home and car. It might even be possible to preserve some of your savings while still getting the protection you need. Exemptions for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are more lenient than those associated with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What are the requirements for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Because filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows Florida residents the chance to restructure the debt and make payments in an attempt to keep their property, there are very specific requirements that filers must meet. How much debt is owed and whether the person has the ability to make the payments to repay the debt are two of the most important factors.

To qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing as of 2014, the debtor must have unsecured debts totaling less than $336,900, and all secured debts must be less than $1,010,650. Unsecured debts refer to debts where collateral is not an issue, such as with medical or credit card debt, and secured debts are when the creditor can take ownership of property if the debt is not paid, including mortgages and car loans. It's important to talk to a bankruptcy attorney if you are unsure if you owe too much for a Chapter 13 filing, as the maximums are adjusted every few years.

Loan modification might stop foreclosure proceedings

Facing a foreclosure on your home is nothing that anyone ever wants to go through. Fortunately for Florida residents, keeping your home despite the foreclosure might be possible. Florida was one of the first states to mandate mortgage modification mediation. This program can prove useful for some homeowners who need to hang on to their primary residence.

Loan modifications are permanent changes that allow the mortgage to be reinstated. In most cases, the loan modification allows the payment terms to be altered in a way that makes the payments more affordable for the homeowner. Homeowners can only have one loan modification every 24 months.

What to do when facing bankruptcy in the golden years?

Picture this scenario that some older or even middle-aged Miami residents may be facing. A 56-year-old man without any savings is facing retirement in two years, which is happening more and more often as businesses are encouraging workers to take early retirements to save the companies money.

Due to a pattern of unwise spending, he is contemplating bankruptcy. But he is worried about the $266,000 that is socked away in his employer-sponsored 401k and realizes it's not much of a cushion. Will his 401k be protected in a bankruptcy?

Put an end to phone harassment by debt collectors

In one of our blog posts last week, we discussed the case of the debt collector who was arrested for making threats to debtors and lying to the debtors. That post might have some of our Florida readers wondering what debt collectors can do and what they can't do. Our readers might like to know their legal rights when it comes to debt collectors. We can help you better understand what you need to know to keep yourself protected against unscrupulous debt collectors.

You have probably heard the old saying that knowledge is power. Debt collectors hope that you don't have the knowledge of the law that is necessary to keep your rights protected. They assume that you don't know what they are legally forbidden from doing. They hope you don't find out.

Debt collectors arrested for threats, lies to debtors

Miami debtors, have you been taken in by a debt collection scam? Recently, in the neighboring state of Georgia, a 48-year-old man who founded the debt collection agency Williams, Scott & Associates was arrested, along with six employees, by federal agents for running a scam targeting debtors.

The multi-agency bust involved the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. It is likely the first coordinated action by federal agencies against debt collectors and possibly indicates more crackdowns may be on the horizon.

How will Chapter 7 bankruptcy affect me?

With the holiday season right around the corner, it is easy to overspend and end up in serious debt. Last week, we talked about how credit card debt can wreck havoc on your life. We discussed some ways to rein in holiday spending. Some of our Florida readers might be past the point of reigning in holiday spending. Those readers might be contemplating bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one option that is on the table for some people. This type of bankruptcy has some very specific points that you must consider prior to filing.

What does Chapter 7 bankruptcy do to my property?

Don't let your holiday budget land you in bankruptcy court

The countdown to the holidays has begun. A major reason that Florida residents consider filing for bankruptcy is out of control credit card debt. Below are some ways to keep a tight rein on your holiday spending.

-- Set a budget and stick to it. Calculate how much you will be spending on the holiday meal, decorations, gifts and libations ahead of time so you're not tempted to wear out your plastic charging extras. Live holiday trees can be quite costly in south Florida; consider purchasing an artificial tree that can be used again.

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