Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa, FL
As a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL from Carylon Secor, P.A. will tell you, filing for bankruptcy can be a tough decision for a person to make. Choosing bankruptcy as an option can come with an onslaught of emotions, and debtors will be feeling overwhelmed surrounding both the process and the impact that filing for bankruptcy can have. Crushing debts can impact the scope of the life that you may be living, and fortunately, attorneys like Carolyn Secor, P.A. are prepared with the experience needed for those in need of a solution. We know that you will have many questions, which is why we are available to meet with you to offer the solutions you need.
What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 is often referred to as a “wage earner’s plan.” This is a standard solution for a debtor with an income that exceeds the state’s median income levels. However, it’s essential to be aware that the debts of a person filing for Chapter 13 cannot exceed more than a certain amount. When filing for Chapter 13, the debtor will develop a repayment plan that allows them to pay back their debts over time.
How will I know that Chapter 13 is the right option for me?
Identifying the right chapter to file for is a huge decision to make, and knowing how to move forward may take the assistance of our bankruptcy lawyer. This form of bankruptcy may be the right option if:
- You are making a steady income that exceeds the state’s median
- You have assets you are looking to keep
- You are looking to retain your home
- You are behind on your mortgage and need time to catch up
- Your assets equate to more than the exemptions that are available to you
If I file for Chapter 13, am I able to keep my home?
It’s possible that by filing for Chapter 13 that you will be able to keep your home. In some situations, by filing for Chapter 13, you will be able to retain your housing. Chapter 13 can allow the opportunity to keep your property while catching up on any arrears.
How long does it take to put together a plan for Chapter 13?
Typically Chapter 13 bankruptcy will take longer to file and resolve than a Chapter 7 filing. Chapter 13 is different in that a resolution is reached over a much more extended period. Debtors create work to develop a repayment plan over 3-5 years. This is the amount of time needed before all debts through Chapter 13 are paid off, and bankruptcy is resolved.
When will my credit rebound from Chapter 13?
While it can take 3-5 years for Chapter 13 to resolve, the process of rebuilding credit takes place immediately after filing for Chapter 13. Initially, your credit may take a hit after filing. Still, you will likely see an improvement over time, especially if you make an effort to make sound financial decisions to rebuild your credit moving forward.
How is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy different from Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
One of the primary distinctions between Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves eligibility. Both of these chapters of the Bankruptcy Code facilitate personal bankruptcy filings (ie: bankruptcies filed by individuals and families that don’t involve business bankruptcy). However, not every individual and family is eligible to file for both kinds of personal bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option reserved for those who don’t earn much income. The law imposes a so-called “means test” upon those who apply for debt relief under Chapter 7. If a filer earns too much income to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they will be compelled to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.
Oftentimes, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a preferable option for those who are eligible, for several reasons. Before noting them, however, it’s important to understand that not every filer eligible to take advantage of this option should pursue it. When you meet with the experienced Florida legal team at Carolyn Secor, P.A., our firm’s Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer will let you know whether your unique situation would be better served by either filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or pursuing a non-bankruptcy debt relief option. No debt solution is “one-size-fits-all” and it is therefore important to become fully informed about all options available to you before committing to a plan of action.
Why is Chapter 7 bankruptcy – usually – a better option for those who are eligible to take advantage of this opportunity? Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which reorganizes debt and then commits a filer to a 3-to-5-year repayment plan, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process erases eligible, unsecured debt in as little as 90 days or so. There is no mandatory repayment schedule attached to this debt relief option. Instead, filers are granted access to a fresh financial start with very few strings attached.
If I’m eligible for Chapter 7 relief, would filing for Chapter 13 ever be a better option?
If Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn’t require a filer to repay their eligible debts, why would Chapter 13 ever be a preferable option? Chapter 7 bankruptcy is commonly referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy.” This is because the trustee assigned to a Chapter 7 case is empowered to sell off a filer’s non-exempt assets so that they can forward the proceeds of this sale to the filer’s creditors. Most Chapter 7 filers don’t own enough valuable non-exempt assets that this is a risk worth worrying about.
However, some Chapter 7 filers don’t earn a lot of income but do own some valuable non-exempt property. If this describes your situation, our firm’s bankruptcy lawyer will be able to evaluate your property and compare it to the exemption laws available to you. Once you have a strong sense of whether property that has meaning and/or value to your family may be at risk of being sold via a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, you can make an informed decision about whether filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a preferable alternative.
What You Should Know About Avoiding Personal Bankruptcy
As a small business owner, there are several things that could get confused between your personal life and your professional life. Fortunately, with the right help, you can effectively separate the two lives so they don’t affect each other. If you’re worried about personal bankruptcy because of financial decisions made in your business, there are some things you should know.
Setting Up Your Entity Correctly
When you set your business up as an entity, you have to do it correctly in order to protect your personal assets. If your business is a sole proprietorship, your personal assets are totally exposed and could face a lawsuit. An LLC or S corp are better options to keep your personal and professional assets separate, and to keep your personal assets protected.
Maintaining the Corporate Veil
Even when you set up your entity correctly, you have to be strict about maintaining the corporate veil. This means that you create separate bank accounts for your personal finances and your business finances. You need to keep your company name on all professional documents, and only your personal name on personal documents. You should never take out a second mortgage on your home to help your business, and borrowing money from your business to take care of personal financial issues should be avoided.
Every aspect of your business should be properly covered by insurance so nobody who files a claim against your business would even consider going after your personal assets. There are different types of insurance policies for different types of companies, so you should be sure your policy covers all the specific risks associated with your business.
Using Appropriate Procedures
If you conduct your business fraudulently or negligently in any way, it becomes a lot easier for someone to attack your personal assets. One thing you can do to avoid this is to always use appropriate procedures and contracts. Get signatures on everything and be sure you include a lawyer in the legal processes of your business.
If you are married and one spouse has a riskier occupation, you can split legal ownership of your personal assets so they are protected better. For example, if your wife is a doctor and could be sued for malpractice, you could protect your home and cars by putting them in your name instead.
Legal Assistance Is Available
Debts can impact nearly every aspect of a person’s life. When you are a person who is earning a living that is beyond the state’s median standard, you may qualify for Chapter 13 as a solution. While the decision to file for bankruptcy wasn’t an easy one to make, Carylon Secor, P.A. is confident that you will be able to experience relief from the direction that we can provide you. Take control over your debt by scheduling a consultation with our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, Florida from Carolyn Secor, P.A. as soon as possible.