Plantation Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
What Is A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Tired of dealing with collections agencies and the fear and anxiety they unleash on your life? Are your wages being garnished? Are you afraid for your family’s financial future? You do have options for starting fresh. The experienced Plantation Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers at our Florida law firm can answer your questions about bankruptcy.
Helping You Find Relief
As soon as you walk through the office doors at Nowack & Olson, PLLC, you can start breathing more easily. With more than 40 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers know what you are facing and how to turn your situation around.
We will take immediate action and start you on the path to financial stability by:
- Explaining your rights and obligations under the Bankruptcy Code
- Making sure you are comfortable with the process in front of you
- Helping you create a plan for rebuilding your credit rating
- Taking immediate steps to protect your home, car, retirement savings and other important assets
You Are Not Alone
There are many good people who struggle silently with financial issues. You are not a failure and you have not done something wrong. Bankruptcy laws are in place to help people who, like you, have fallen on hard times and are struggling with unmanageable debt.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the first choice for people who are considering bankruptcy. There are reasons for choosing Chapter 13, but Chapter 7 is the most advantageous option for those who qualify.
How Do I Know If I Qualify For Chapter 7?
Eligibility for Chapter 7 is determined by the means test that takes into consideration a family’s median income. Learn more about the means test below.
How Does Chapter 7 Work?
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, nonexempt assets can be liquidated in order to pay back creditors. Once the process is completed — usually lasting between three and five months — the remaining unsecured debts are discharged.
What Is The Chapter 7 Means Test?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is means-tested. Those with too many assets or too high of an income are unable to qualify for Chapter 7 with few exceptions. If you are ready for a fresh start and are considering Chapter 7, the first step is working with a lawyer to determine your eligibility.
Rest Easy Tonight With The Help Of A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
At Nowack & Olson, PLLC, in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Boca Raton and Jupiter, our lawyers will answer all of your questions and make sure you are fully prepared for the process that awaits you. From helping you protect your assets during bankruptcy to setting you up with the tools for success post-bankruptcy, we will take care of it all.
What Is Measured By The Chapter 7 Means Test?
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must make less than the median income for the state of Florida. As of 2011, the median income for a family of four in Florida was $65,135, according to data provided by the United States Department of Justice.
The courts do have discretion to make exceptions, which will usually center on the issue of disposable income. If someone does not have enough disposable income to feasibly enter a Chapter 13 repayment plan, he or she may receive an exception to qualify for Chapter 7 despite an income higher than the median.
How Bankruptcy Exemptions can Affect Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
People are sometimes worried that filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows the bankruptcy trustee to sell off their property to pay creditors before any debts can be discharged. Fortunately, both federal law and Florida bankruptcy law allow numerous exemptions from these rules. If you qualify for Chapter 7, chances are that you can claim enough exemptions to file a “no-asset” bankruptcy, and none of your property will be seized or sold by the bankruptcy trustee. The Plantation bankruptcy lawyers at Nowack & Olson can guide you through the Florida bankruptcy exemptions and help you obtain a no-asset bankruptcy or otherwise save the property which is most important to you.
Some states do not have their own set of exemptions and require filers to use the federal exemptions, while other states allow debtors to choose either the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the state exemptions. In Florida, you are required to use the Florida bankruptcy exemptions only. These exemptions are important not only for Chapter 7 filers; they can also impact the terms and conditions of a Chapter 13 payment plan.
Here is a look at some of the most important aspects of the Florida bankruptcy exemptions:
Florida Homestead Exemption
The generous Florida homestead exemption allows you to exempt the entire value of your real estate property (home, mobile home or trailer and the land it sits on) that you occupy as your permanent residence, so long as it does not exceed one-half acre inside a municipality or 160 acres outside a municipality.
Personal Property Exemptions
Florida bankruptcy laws allow a debtor to exempt $1,000 worth of personal property from the bankruptcy trustee. This can include any type of property, including cash in a bank account or money from a civil judgment. When both husband and wife are filing bankruptcy, they each get to exempt $1,000 worth of personal property. This amount is increased to $4,000 ($8,000 for couples) if a homestead exemption was not claimed.
On top of the $1,000 personal property exemption mentioned above, filers can also exempt $1,000 worth of equity in a vehicle (or $2,000 if filing jointly with spouse), as well as the full value of any of the following:
- Health aids
- Prepaid medical savings account deposits
- Prepaid hurricane savings accounts
- Prepaid college trust deposits
- Pre-need funeral deposits
- Federal income tax refunds or credits
A head of household can exempt up to $750 in weekly wages, including paid wages, unpaid wages, and wages deposited in a bank account in the last six months. Other filers can exempt the smaller portion of their wages.
Pensions for Florida teachers, state employees, county employees, firefighters and police officers are all exempt from bankruptcy. Benefits covered by ERISA, such as IRAs and Roth IRAs, are also exempt. Speak with an experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyer to determine whether your particular type of retirement or pension plan is exempt or not.
Many different types of insurance proceeds are covered by the bankruptcy exemptions, including certain death benefits, illness or disability benefits, annuities, and the cash value of a life insurance policy.
Certain types of public assistance are exempt, as well as social security, unemployment compensation and veteran’s benefits. Crime victim compensation is also exempt.
Alimony and child support you receive which are necessary for support can be exempted. Also, a worker who received money damages for an injury incurred in a hazardous occupation can keep the full amount of that award away from the hands of the bankruptcy trustee. These are just some of the Florida bankruptcy exemptions allowed. A bankruptcy lawyer will ask you about all of your assets and your situation to determine all of the different exemptions which may apply to you.
What About My Assets?
There are various exceptions that can be taken advantage of in order to protect assets such as your house, your car or your bank accounts. As your lawyers, we will listen to your situation and help you evaluate all of your options for protecting your assets within the bankruptcy process.
Contact Our Experienced Plantation Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers
Start the process today by contacting us online or by calling us at 866-907-2970 to schedule a free, 60-minute initial consultation. To learn about the bankruptcy exemptions which apply to you and how to file a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact the Plantation bankruptcy lawyers at Nowack & Olson for a free consultation at 866-907-2970.