Thought for the Day Archive – 2020:

Bankruptcy related insights and information

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Debtor lost right to homestead due to errors in bankruptcy. Another case shows how critically important it is to employ experienced bankruptcy specialists when filing for relief under the bankruptcy code. In this case, the debtors had filed chapter 13 in Miami, listing their current unit as homestead, but then inherited another unit and did not timely disclose that interest. When they later converted the case to chapter 7 the court noted that exemptions- what is protected when a bankruptcy is filed, is determined as of the date the case is filed, not when later converted. Therefore the new unit could not have qualified as homestead, and the chapter 7 trustee could sell the unit to pay creditors.

Bankruptcy can be a complicated area of law, requiring use of specialist counsel to help insure there are no unpleasant surprises. I have practiced bankruptcy law exclusively since 1986, have been board certified in consumer bankruptcy law since 1993, and take the time to insure I understand your situation and explain the options throughout the case. Call for appointments 800 393-3100. All appointments are done by telephone now during covid. Thank you.


Merry Christmas, may we be thankful for what we have, and hope for a better 2021.


11th Circuit awards appeal sanctions against pro se debtor attorney, and sustains nearly $10,000 of sanctions awarded by lower courts for vexatious and bad faith litigation. Hint, citing Buggs bunny and including haikus, many exclamation points, and exceedingly long pleadings, including challenging subject matter jurisdiction of bankruptcy courts to rule on 523 motions don’t help.


Court refused to allow trustee to revoke abandonment of class action ultimately recovering over $229,000 for Debtor, discussion of difference between §554(a) and (b); and §554(c) and (d) abandonment.


Iowa Judge disallows 30% of substantial fee of creditor firm in complicated chapter 12 case, noting §506’s requirement for billing restraint.


2nd DCA rules that increase in wage exemption for head of household that agreed in writing to garnishment from $500/week to $750/week applies retroactively to loans incurred before such amendment, and that the 25% garnishment allowed under the Consumer Protection Act only allows 25% garnishment of wages above the $750/week threshold. Note all wages of the head of a household remain protected absent an agreement in writing with the creditor to the contrary.


Respect and thanks to all veterans


How to choose an attorney to represent you?

1. Find an attorney who is experienced in the field of law. I have been practicing consumer bankruptcy law since 1988. Bankruptcy, and bankruptcy appeals is the only area of law I work in. I was a partner at Isaak and Barnett until 1992 when I opened my own firm.
2. Find an attorney recognized for his work in the field. I have been board certified in consumer bankruptcy law ince 1993, by the American Board of Certification. I have written an extensive analysis of the current version of the law which was linked on a national bankruptcy website, and have co-authored a book on bankruptcy appeals. I am AV rated by the primary lawyer rating service AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are
Certification Marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies. See
3. Find an attorney who personally handles the case. At some firms you may see one attorney for the initial meeting then have one or more other attorneys, often with less experience, handling your case. I am the only attorney at the firm, and personally handle every case.
4. Find an attorney who will take the time both to fully understand your situation, and explain your options in language you understand. I schedule each new client appointment for at least an hour, and go over your financial situation in detail. I have a free consultation, so you can meet with me without incurring additional costs.
Bankruptcy is an important decision, as is which attorney you hire to represent you. It may be a good idea to meet with 2 or 3 different attorneys, see which one takes the time to understand you situation and explain your options.
Call today to set a free consultation to discuss your options with us. Main office Tampa 506 N Armenia Ave., Tampa 813-870-3100. Appointments also available 38100 Meridian Ave., Dade City 352-521-0190. All appointments currently by telephone or video chat, and court hearings are also currently by telephone or video chat.


Firm now reopened under original management, which gives me more flexibility to help clients and spend more time on initial consultations with clients. Free initial consultation with board certified counsel.


If you’ve lost your job or struggle to pay your debt, you may need to file for bankruptcy. If that’s the case, you should ignore some common financial advice and start thinking defensively.


Even if your business is its own legal entity and kept separate from your personal finances, owners who provided a personal guarantee on their business debt are still on the hook even if the company goes into bankruptcy. In that case, the way to potentially avoid your personal assets being seized — i.e., your house, car, savings, etc. — is to also file for personal bankruptcy.


Americans wrestled with debt-collection lawsuits long before the coronavirus hit, a new report finds. Now, a surge of the suits may swamp consumers who lost their jobs in the pandemic and can’t afford to pay their bills.


Michael Barnett has now joined with nationally recognized tax attorney Larry Heinkel at Law Offices of Larry Heinkel, PA


In most cases, your student debt won’t be dischargeable in bankruptcy, but you may qualify for an exception.


California case surveys caselaw showing continued requirement for prepetition credit counseling, and strict requirements for waiver.


The hallmark of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the repayment plan. In this case, rather than liquidating your assets, the court allows you the opportunity to repay some of your debts through a repayment plan.


If you’re considering bankruptcy, you need to understand how it will affect your credit. This involves clearing up some common misconceptions about how #bankruptcy affects your credit.


If you’ve fallen into what feels like insurmountable debt … and you have no way to pay for it, #bankruptcy is one option.


Whether you have a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to make sure you do the following things once your case is finalized.


Misrepresentations or bad conduct in a prepetition divorce proceeding can cause a debtor to fail the good faith standard to obtain confirmation of a chapter 13 plan.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act also changes some rules on consumer bankruptcy.


Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy has the potential to provide short- and long-term help for people facing foreclosure of their homes. But it’s a complicated process full of restrictions as well as serious consequences for your credit profile. A bankruptcy lawyer can provide advice specific to your needs.


The decision to file for bankruptcy is not to be taken lightly, so it’s important to understand how bankruptcy will impact your finances. Getting legal assistance is often an essential part of the process as well.


Many people try hard to avoid bankruptcy, but they end up paying the price for waiting.


Depending on whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, #bankruptcy can last several months, or run for up to five years. But the benefits of bankruptcy begin when you file, because the court issues an automatic stay, which halts all collection activities against you.


Judge McEwen response to my tweet regarding abeyance of wet signature rule:
Cathy Peek McEwen
Replying to
We’ve got an admin order for that coming! If you have a pic of the signed paper, you can file it. Receipt of original by mail can follow. And we’ve got another in the works that will permit pro se’s to file by fax or email, again with original to be received by mail afterwards.
#Bankruptcy doesn’t have to last forever — not even on your credit report.


Emergency filings do not abate the requirement for investigation prior to filing. Debtor attorney sanctioned for lack of such investigation by Wisconsin court.


What happens to your retirement funds in bankruptcy before you retire? Here are five common questions about retirement in bankruptcy.


Bankruptcy may make sense if you are unable to repay debts as you cover obligations such as retirement, food and shelter.


US Trustee request for extension to file complaint to deny discharge denied by NY court for failure to show due diligence in investigation.


Court finds conduct of LVNV and Resurgent Capital, companies that buy debts and file claims in bankruptcy, to file claims inaccurately lumping interest and fees in the principal balance portion of the proof of claims they file, may be a violation of Fair Debt Practices Collection Act.


Despite the hardships you’ll endure after declaring a bankruptcy, there are several ways you can bounce back.


If you lose a lawsuit to a creditor and the amount you owe is too high for you to pay, you might consider filing for bankruptcy. When you file, collection efforts against you will be automatically halted.


While bankruptcy law sets out a list of exemptions, ie property debtors are allowed to keep when they file bankruptcy, states can opt out, and set their own list of property exempt. However, the law also says that you cannot use the exemptions from where the case is filed if the debtor has not resided in the state for 2 years, and must use the exemptions of the state where the debtors resided for the 6 months prior to that 2 years. To make things more complicated, many states do not allow nonresidents to use their exemptions, in which case debtors can once again use the exemptions in the federal bankruptcy law. An Idaho court was faced with the issue of Maryland exemptions which permitted nonresidents to use personal property exemptions, but not real property exemptions; and indicated in that case debtors could not use the federal exemptions, but were instead left with no exemption for their real property.


NY court holds that prepetition property tax sales can be undone in chapter 13 when credit from sale is substantially less than value of property.


Understanding what bankruptcy is, how it impacts your finances and the advantages and disadvantages can help you survive and recover from this financial shakeup. 


Having the right plan can help you recover from bankruptcy quickly.


Damage to rental property can lead to a nondischargeability judgment under §523(a)(6) for willful and malicious injury. Also, a warning of what can happen when you get a bad housemate.


A Pennsylvania debtor attorney was recently sanctioned for copying schedules (list of assets, debts, etc) from prior case in new case filed 16 months later. In the case In re Thomas, Case #18-17430-ELF, 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 396 (Bankr. E.D. Pennsylvania, 13 February 2020) the debtor’s attorney filed nearly identical schedules showing same amounts of cash on hand, same bank balances, same amounts owed creditors, and same income and expenses in the case filed 16 months ago. The court found this violated the attorney’s duty to make reasonable inquiry into the accuracy of the schedules, and sanctioned the attorney by 1) prohibiting any fees in the case, 2) requiring the attorney to pay $1,000 to the trustee, and 3) referring the matter to the US Trustee for possible further disciplinary proceedings.

While this is an extreme case, it is far too common to see counsel that do not take the time to explain the requirements to clients, to review all documents filed with the clients, and to undertake some independent review to attempt to insure the accuracy of the documents filed with the court. As these are filed under penalty of perjury, it is very important clients know they need to be accurate. I spend about an hour on the appointment where the schedules are signed, and spend significant time with clients before this understanding their situation and review income, assets, and debts.


Are you facing a mountain of debt and not making any progress surmounting it? Bankruptcy may be the tool you need to get over the hump.


Before taking the big leap into bankruptcy, consult a bankruptcy attorney and learn the facts about how credit scores treat bankruptcy. You just may be able to minimize the damage and get a jump on re-establishing your credit after filing.


New debt limits on farm/ranch/fisherman bankruptcies helping.


A U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York ruled that a Navy veteran can discharge their student loans in bankruptcy, raising questions of whether the decision is unique to the circumstances of the case, or whether it points to a shift in how bankruptcy judges are thinking about student debt.


Chapter 13 is a form of bankruptcy in which a debtor’s finances are reorganized and a plan is developed for the debtor to repay their loans in a set period of time. It is the second most common bankruptcy, behind only Chapter 7.


Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way for Americans down on their financial luck to sell off assets and have specific debts discharged by a bankruptcy court.


Bankruptcy isn’t life ending. For some, it ended up being little more than a bump in the road of an otherwise successful life.


Important case on duties of debtor’s counsel and Judges regarding reaffirmations in chapter 7. Reaffirmation likely hurts credit score, counsel must see if budget is realistic in deciding whether to sign best interest cert to avoid 9011 violation.


Judge Covington affirms Judge Colton’s rejection of vicarious liability §523(a)(6) slander charge for Casey Anthony’s statements made by her counsel, finding that Anthony did not specifically authorize such statements. Kronk v Anthony, 2020 US Dist Lexis 2784, case #8:19-cv-674-T-33 (M.D. Fla. 7 January 2020).


After a bankruptcy filing, it’s important for seniors to focus on the fundamentals of financial stability.


Filing for bankruptcy is one way to stop wage garnishment. An attorney can advise on whether bankruptcy is the right choice based on your specific circumstances.