Falling behind on bills and dealing with calls from collectors can leave you feeling like there’s no feasible way out of your financial crisis. Worse, you might be unaware of the help that exists or embarrassed to ask the questions on your mind. Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann in Boca Raton advises South Florida individuals and businesses on how bankruptcy might be the right solution to their money difficulties. We work personally with each client, answering such questions as:
Whatever debt problems you have, a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer can outline your options and develop a strategy designed to relieve your financial burden.
Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann represents individuals and businesses in all types of bankruptcy proceedings. For assistance with your debt issues, please call 561-235-3286 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Boca Raton location.
Bankruptcy is an established legal remedy that allows people and businesses to address debt problems and move ahead without facing harassment from creditors. Once the filing is accepted, collection practices and punitive actions such as disconnection of utilities must stop. Most individuals use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge most of their debts or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to ease their debt through a court-approved repayment plan. Businesses use Chapter 11 reorganization to keep things running while restructuring massive debt caused by burdensome contracts and unprofitable operations.
Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor’s non-exempt assets are liquidated in order to pay off creditors and most remaining types of debt are discharged. This is a powerful solution that allows debtors to start rebuilding their credit once the bankruptcy process is complete.
Sometimes referred to as the wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 is often a good option for people who have income but are not able to catch up on the debts that they owe. Under this form of bankruptcy, collection efforts are halted and a feasible plan is established whereby debtors can pay off a portion of their debts over a period of three to five years while keeping their home and maintaining the ability to take care of other needs.
When a business is struggling financially, closing the doors usually doesn’t help the debtor or its creditors. A Chapter 11 reorganization gives businesses the chance to revise unfavorable agreements and restructure internal operations while continuing to generate revenue.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy includes a “means test,” which excludes potential filers whose incomes and assets exceed a certain amount. There are also timeframes within which someone who has previously declared bankruptcy cannot file again. If you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot do so again for eight years.
Homeowners who have lived in Florida for at least 40 months can safeguard their primary residence from creditors in most situations. You may also maintain education and health savings accounts. Some pensions and retirement plans are also protected. Limited exemptions exist for the value of a personal vehicle and certain other property.
Child support payments, alimony obligations and fines cannot be wiped out, even in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Incomes taxes imposed less than three years ago are also excluded from protection. In most cases, student loan debts cannot not be wiped out either, although exceptions can be made in cases where “undue hardship” is demonstrated.