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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

What are Florida's bankruptcy exemptions?

Florida residents who are facing bankruptcy likely have concerns about what property is considered to be exempt from asset forfeiture. Exempt property is able to be retained by the debtor after the bankruptcy is discharged.

There are exemption limits to equity involving the property. In other words, if you have a vehicle with a $7,000 value but a loan of $6,000, the equity value will be only $1,000. Remaining current on the payments and staying within the equity limits may allow ownership of the property in question to survive a bankruptcy. When the equity is more than the exemption, the bankruptcy trustee can liquidate the asset and distribute the money to creditors. Cases resolved in this way may result in debtors receiving a cash payment in the value of the exemption.

Emotions are part of the bankruptcy process to stop foreclosure

We have discussed a lot of bankruptcy issues in this blog. Since we have discussed the financial implications, we need to talk about the emotional aspects of bankruptcy. The truth is that while bankruptcy can provide a lot of relief from financial strains, it can also have a big impact on you emotionally. Our Florida readers might be interested in learning about some of these emotional impacts.

You will likely go through a wide range of emotions as you go through the bankruptcy process, even if you are doing it to stop a foreclosure. You might feel ashamed of having to file for bankruptcy. You might feel angry about having to file bankruptcy. You might feel sad that you are filing bankruptcy.

Creditor harassment: Stopping the calls

When your finances become overwhelming, getting back on top of things can feel impossible. Adding insult to injury, debt collectors can be ruthless and are notorious for not following the laws regarding when and how they can contact you. If you are dealing with creditor harassment, you may have options. Understanding the laws and your rights is the first step.

Many Florida residents facing large or past due debts can be embarrassed about their financial situations, and this can keep them from talking to those who can help. Creditors know this and use it to their advantage, counting on the fact that you will think dealing with them is just part of having debts.

Foreclosure still plaguing Florida, but improvements noticed

When it comes to foreclosure, it is no secret that Florida has had more than its fair share of difficulties. It seems as though those troubles haven't quite gone away yet. Florida is still one of the states at the top of the foreclosure list.

While some people are enjoying an improving economy, the truth is that around 550,000 homeowners in the state are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage. Currently, there are more than 300,000 cases open for foreclosure in Florida. All of that combines to show that Florida isn't over the foreclosure crisis yet.

What are my legal responsibilities when filing Chapter 13?

In previous blogs, we've addressed the requirements and pros and cons of Miami residents filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This week's post will review the obligations of a debtor under Chapter 13.

Debtors are responsible for filing all required documents and forms with the bankruptcy court having jurisdiction over their cases. Additionally, they have to also submit the certificate of completion from credit counseling and a repayment plan to the court. Proof of income tax filings for the last four years and a copy of the most recent return should also be provided to the court. Filing and administrative fees may be paid in as many as four installments, but the court must receive the final installment within 120 days of the bankruptcy filing or within 180 days if the court agrees to an extension. Debtors who default on payments of their filing fees can have their cases dismissed.

Don't fall victim to foreclosure scams targeting Florida

In one of our posts last week, we touched on how it is vital for people who are facing foreclosure to stay aware as they move through the process of trying to keep their home. Some people are preying on the desperation of people who want to save their home by using almost any method.

We don't want to see our Miami neighbors falling victim to foreclosure scams. We don't want to see them lose their homes either. If you are facing foreclosure on your home, there might be legal, legitimate ways you can stop the foreclosure process. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one of these options. Mortgage modification is another option. Even working out payment plans to help you cover the arrearage might be a feasible solution.

Foreclosure scams can target Miami residents

It's unfortunate, but some Miami residents who have fallen on hard times have been further victimized by scammers.

These predators seek out those consumers who are desperate to save their homes from foreclosure. When people are in dire financial straits, they become easy prey for those seeking to profit from their circumstances. Consumers should remain alert to possible foreclosure scams like the following:

Asset protection limits from creditor claims in Florida

When you owe a creditor money, a lot of threats might occur. Some of those threats might be some about what creditors can do if they can get a judgment against you. While some of these threats are factual, others might not be. It is vital for those facing debt collectors to understand their rights to protect their property. One of these options helps to keep your home secure.

Your home is generally protected from creditors unless the creditor holds a lien or mortgage on your home. Florida's homestead exemption protects up to half an acre in an incorporated area or up to 160 acres in an unincorporated area. You must claim your home as a homestead with the court by filing specific forms and an affidavit in order to have this protection.

Creditor harassment nets Florida couple million dollar judgment

One Florida couple got fed up with the 700 calls they received from the Bank of America over late payments on their mortgage. The couple claims that the bank and their agents "badgered" them unrelentingly over four years. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the couple sometimes received five robocalls about their delinquent payments per day. They would first call one's cellphone and then the other's. They also left messages on their home answering service.

Their adult son, a mortgage broker, attempted to assist his parents with a loan modification but could never speak to anyone able to help them at Bank of America. The senior citizens even hired an attorney to manage the situation, but they were still bombarded with calls. Finally, they decided to take some action.

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.

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