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Chapter 7 - An Overview for South Florida
A Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding is available to individuals, partnerships, and corporations. The debtor is allowed to keep exempt assets. For individuals filing bankruptcy in Florida, the exemptions are primarily determined by Florida law. They include the debtor’s homestead, (subject to a cap of $146,450.00 in equity if owned less than 1215 days), a debtor’s interest, not to exceed $1,000.00 in a single motor vehicle, a debtor’s interest in any professionally prescribed health aids, monies paid into the Prepaid Post-Secondary Education Expense Trust Fund, and $1,000.00 per individual in miscellaneous personal property. Individuals not claiming a homestead as exempt can claim an additional $4,000.00 of any type of personal property as exempt. Certain other assets such as the cash surrender value of life insurance policies, annuity contracts, IRA’s and pension plans may be exempt also. All non-exempt assets must be turned over to the Chapter 7 trustee for liquidation and distribution to creditors. We have been handling Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases in the Fort Lauderdale area for over 30 years. Call us if you would like a free consultation to see if Chapter 7 is right for you.
What you may discharge in a Chapter 7 filed in Florida
For individuals filing Chapter 7, most debts, including some tax obligations, are discharged. Some debts, including recent tax obligations, trust fund obligations, child support and alimony generally cannot be discharged. Other debts may not be discharged if the creditor can prove improper conduct on the part of the debtor. Obligations based on fraud, false financial information or breach of fiduciary duty may be challenged by the creditor. We have experience with these types of challenges. Credit card usage within 90 days of filing and excessive usage within the year leading up to filing may also be challenged. We handle discharge challenges and all types of adversary proceedings. Our offices are located in Plantation, Broward County, Florida.
Removal of Second Mortgages
For the foreseeable future, second mortgages can now be removed in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Since 1992 it has been possible to remove a second mortgage from real property in a Chapter 13 when the first mortgage exceeds the value of the property. Last year the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in the case of McNeal that a 'lien strip' of a second mortgage is possible in a Chapter 7. It appears the Court intends to stand by that decision. We have successfully removed second mortgages in a number of Chapter 7 cases. Read more on our Blog.
Most individuals are unaware that they may be able to discharge some or all of their older income tax obligations in Chapter 7. See our discussion of Dischargeability of taxes. The filing of a Chapter 7 stays all IRS collection proceedings until the entry of a discharge or dismissal of the case. Tax discharges generally require the filing of an Adversary Proceeding to determine what taxes may be discharged. We have handled many such discharge proceedings. Call us if you would like a free consultation on your tax issues at 954-356-0450.
This article is not intended as a substitute for competent legal or accounting representation, but merely as a guide to help you decide whether you need the services of a licensed attorney or CPA.
David W. Langley is licensed to practice only in the State of Florida and handles bankruptcy cases in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Pompano, Coral Springs and Deerfield.
Law Offices of David W. Langley
8551 W. Sunrise Blvd., Suite 303
Plantation, FL 33322
Phone: (954) 356-0450
Fax: (954) 356-0451
For an appointment call (954) 356-0450