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Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Law Blog

Supreme Court to rule on inherited retirement savings

Florida state and federal guidelines regarding bankruptcy filing do change from time to time and some policies are written in a way that allows for variations in interpretation and implementation. As a result, issues can arise over how bankruptcy law is understood and applied in some cases. Now that one individual bankruptcy case has resulted in several contradictory rulings in lower courts, the U. S. Supreme Court will decide how inherited retirement funds should be handled in bankruptcy proceedings.

One specific section of the bankruptcy code mandates that retirement funds may be exempt in bankruptcy filings if they are considered nontaxable. But because the guideline does not specify whether or not the un-taxable funds must be identified as the property of the bankruptcy petitioner in order to be protected, there is room for interpretation and controversy in applying the policy in real cases.

Renting does not offer debt relief for many

Traditionally, young professionals were thought of as ideal candidates for apartment rentals, as renting can provide individuals with the opportunity to save money for a down payment on a house later on. The reality of the situation is, however, that people throughout the state of Florida and beyond have been forced to turn to renting out of necessity after facing foreclosure and other financial hardships. And while renting is meant to serve as an affordable housing option, the influx of renters on the market is having an adverse effect on affordability.

Financial issues like unemployment, personal bankruptcy and foreclosure have prompted thousands of families to move into apartments in recent years. One issue is, though, that just as the demand for apartment rentals went up new construction began to slow. Beyond that, wage rates have failed to increase with mortgage rates, causing a serious discrepancy between the demand for and supply of apartment rentals across the country. All of these factors have contributed to the continuous and significant increase in national rent prices, even as vacancy rates have dropped by around 50 percent in as little as four years alone.

When you must file Chapter 13 bankruptcy over Chapter 7

The economy has shown steady improvement since the last recession a few years ago, but that does not mean people in Broward County are not still struggling financially. An unexpected medical emergency, natural disaster or health issues can easily send someone into a financial whirlwind. In many cases, people try to stay afloat by using their credit cards but then the reality of their situation hits and they start looking for debt relief by filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Filing for Chapter 13 is often not the first choice for people, as this means that they will have to repay their debt. Many people would rather file Chapter 7 which erases the debt completely. However, under bankruptcy law, people are required to file Chapter 13 if their disposable income is over $166.66. This is generally determined by a trustee through an evaluation process. The process, referred to as a Means Test, looks at the person’s debt, mandatory obligations and income.

Innovative approaches to debt relief

There is no denying that residents throughout the state of Florida are facing serious financial challenges. And while many struggle with unemployment and/or the prospect of bankruptcy, countless people in the state and across the country are losing their financial footing under the weight of mounting student loan debt. That is why one state is considering legislation that would confront the issue directly, essentially giving students a free ride through college on one important condition.

It’s estimated that Americans all around the country currently owe in excess of $1 trillion in student loans. To tackle the issue and provide some level of debt relief to students in their state, Michigan legislators will consider a bill aimed at eliminating factors like unmanageable student loan interest rates and debt. The bill would allow for the creation of a pilot program to put around 200 low-to-middle income students through college at the expense of $2 million.

Debt relief in the form of healthcare reform

No doubt, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has garnered a great deal of approval and criticism from residents throughout Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and beyond. Families around the country are weighing their healthcare options and deciding on which plans best suit their specific medical needs and finances. And while politics tend to dominate conversations about ACA, the findings of a new study suggest that the ACA may help thousands of Americans avoid filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Not only is excessive medical debt the primary cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States, but the U. S. is also the only developed nation in the entire world to make that claim. According to the Commonwealth Fund, a little over 40 percent of adult Americans questioned confirmed that they had difficulties covering their medical costs in 2007. That is why the findings of a study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are so encouraging.

Unpaid student loans and prospective debt relief for the masses

While families all throughout the state of Florida and beyond are facing serious financial difficulties, there is evidence to suggest that an entire demographic of debtors has emerged across the U. S. that may influence politics and the economy for years to come. For the majority of people that have accumulated large amounts of student loan debt Chapter 7 bankruptcy may not be an option. That is not to say, however, that debt relief is not achievable.

It is estimated that 15 percent of individuals that have taken out student loans default on those loans in less than four years, and that student loan debt in general has reached an all-time high. Because of the excessive amount of student loans Americans between the ages of 20 and 30 years old are carrying, many people within the age group are changing their lifestyle and spending habits. For instance, countless people have been forced to delay major life changes like buying a car or moving out, and some are even choosing specialty fields of work to help pay off their high debts.

Who knows what about Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

While it may be true that most people living in Broward County, Florida, have a general understanding of what bankruptcy is, many may not be clear about what the actual process involves and accomplishes. That is why it can be very helpful to address common questions and misconceptions about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The findings of a recent study explore the opinions and doubts Americans have about the popular form of bankruptcy.

There are several things that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can accomplish. For instance, personal debts like loans, unpaid utility bills and medical expenses can be eliminated through bankruptcy. And while one recent study confirmed that approximately 1/3 of American adults understand that bankruptcy does not discharge unpaid child support payments, more than 70 percent of people mistakenly think bankruptcy can eliminate alimony debt. Similarly, the majority of people are unaware that student loans are not typically discharged in bankruptcy either.

Don't let medical expenses lead to bankruptcy

No one should ever be confronted with the dilemma of choosing between necessary medical treatment and financial crisis, but that is the issue that countless Florida residents face every year. Individuals that do not currently have insurance coverage typically have to consider how medical expenses will affect their financial situation, and often times avoid treatment for fear of facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Fortunately, uninsured patients can take measures to help ensure that they can receive the medical treatment they require without incurring large amounts of debt. And now that several policy changes regarding medical costs are set to take effect, uninsured patients across the country may benefit from debt relief.

Patient options and resources

Navigating debt relief options

Accumulating large amounts of personal debt often happens out of necessity as people are forced to take out loans and lines of credit to make large purchases and manage everyday expenses. At a certain point, however, the situation can become unmanageable and individuals may be forced to consider making significant lifestyle changes to address their financial challenges. Fortunately, Miami, Florida, residents have several debt relief options to choose from, and each presents its own unique advantages and drawbacks.

Consolidate debt

Finally realizing that fresh financial start

Many Fort Lauderdale, Florida, residents have personally experienced serious financial difficulties in recent years. In fact, countless people are just beginning to rebuild their credit ratings after seeking debt relief through foreclosure and/or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is a good time, then, to explore options and time frames for applying for home loans following bankruptcy.

Before individuals can consider making large purchases and investments after filing for bankruptcy, they must first rebuild their credit history. Once they have established a solid credit rating, prospective homeowners can begin to consider the mortgage loan option that is right for them. After all, there are several lending institutions to choose from, including the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Depending on whether an individual has filed for bankruptcy or foreclosure, these institutions have different requirements regarding home loan application wait periods.

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