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Bankruptcy Lawyer West Palm Beach

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West Palm Beach Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is not the end of the world. It might seem like it, but when you work with an experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney, you will come to realize that it is a fresh start. Whether you need to file for a Chapter 7, 11, or 13 case, Brian McMahon will walk you through the process from start to finish.

A West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney makes the bankruptcy filing process easy to understand and as stress-free as possible. Bankruptcy should not be taken lightly and not be attempted by yourself. It is a serious matter that can have a lasting impact on your financial situation. Call our office in West Palm Beach at 561-658-1789 to schedule a consultation today.

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Advice Provided by a Bankruptcy Attorney

A bankruptcy attorney will be able to provide you with the following advice related to your case:

Whether or not you should file for bankruptcy

If you should file, which type of bankruptcy you should declare

How the entire process is handled

Work with you to complete all the forms required by the bankruptcy court

The types of debts you can have eliminated or reduced

Whether or not you will be able to retain ownership of your vehicle, home, or other assets once the bankruptcy is resolved

You are not required to have a bankruptcy lawyer represent you in court but doing so can help you avoid costly legal mistakes that can disrupt your financial life.

Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer? Here is What You Can Expect

Should you decide that working with a West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney is in your best interest, you can expect the following:

  • A contract signed by you and the bankruptcy lawyer that includes an explanation of the work to be performed by the lawyer
  • An explanation of how payment will occur, including if the attorney charges by the hour or a flat fee
  • Ongoing communication between you and the lawyer about the case
  • A list of documents that you will need to provide the attorney so they can properly represent you when filing for bankruptcy
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Why Should You Declare Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is not always the answer for people dealing with debt. However, if any of the following examples match your situation, it is time to speak with a West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney:

  • You have tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a settlement with your creditors
  • The liabilities to your name are much higher than your income and assets

It is important to note that there are negatives to filing for bankruptcy, and they include the following:

  • You can lose your property (vehicles, boat, house, etc.)
  • Your credit report will take a hit for years to come
  • You might suffer emotionally when filing as many still view it as a stigma

What Bankruptcy Types Are Available?

There are three types of bankruptcy from which to choose when deciding to file: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you need to have credit card debt, unsecured personal loans, or medical bills discharged, you will want to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 7, you will not be able to have the following debts discharged:

• Student loans • Alimony • Child Support • Court Fees • Penalties • Some types of tax debt • Unsecured debts you failed to list when filing • Homeowners association fees • Personal injury debt owed to victims when you drove intoxicated and caused an accident

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, seriously harming your credit score until it can be removed. The accounts listed in the bankruptcy filing will likely be removed from your report sooner than the bankruptcy filing.

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Bankruptcy paperwork

Do I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

To qualify for Chapter 7, you must meet the following:

You did not receive a discharge in a previous Chapter 7 case within the last eight years.

You did not file for and receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 case within the last six years.

If you tried to file for either of the above forms of bankruptcy and your case was dismissed.

You must complete a counseling course no less than 180 days prior to filing for Chapter 7.

You can pass a means test, which determines your disposable income and whether you can make partial payments regularly to creditors.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is mostly for businesses. It is also referred to as reorganization bankruptcy because the business is reorganized when filing so that it can remain open. Most companies will be able to remain in operation when filing for Chapter 11, but if fraud were present, the bankruptcy court might appoint a trustee to run the company while everything is sorted out in the courts.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy often includes any of the following:

  • Reorganizing the business
  • Downsizing the business to reduce operating expenses
  • Renegotiating debts
  • Liquidating assets to pay off debts

If the proposed plan is approved by the creditors and the court, it will move forward. If it is not approved, the creditors will have an opportunity to propose a plan for the repayment of debt.

Subchapter V of Chapter 11

Congress recently implemented provisions of chapter 11 that apply to small businesses and individuals. It is an expedited process that allows the business or individual to reorganize quickly and reduce bankruptcy expenses. This is a time sensitive process that requires diligence by the bankruptcy attorney. A qualified bankruptcy attorney should discuss the benefits and disadvantages of Subchapter V for a small business before filing a chapter 11 case.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best bankruptcy option for those who have a lot of debt even though they continue to earn a living. Most people who file for Chapter 13 will be able to keep their assets, such as their homes, vehicles, and other property. The debt they have will be restructured, and a payment plan will be created.

The amount you will pay in a chapter 13 will be dependent on your disposable income. Your disposable income will be dedicated to the payment of your debt. The amount of your disposable income will also determine whether your payments will be for three years or five years. During this time period, you will not be permitted to use credit cards. A trustee will be assigned to your case by the court, who will be responsible for collecting and distributing the payments you make under Chapter 13.

In order to qualify for Chapter 13, you must meet the following:

You are earning a steady income.

You have not obtained a discharge in Chapter 13 in the last two years, or a discharge in a Chapter 7 in the last four years.

Your tax filings are current.

You do not have secured debt totaling more than $1,257,859 or unsecured debt totaling $419,275.

Do I Need to Hire a West Palm Beach Bankruptcy Attorney?

It is not required to have a West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney represent you when filing, but it can mean the difference between a clear financial future and a cloudy one. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can ensure you complete all of the required paperwork, do not fail to disclose any assets, and avoid making mistakes during the filing process.

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Are There Alternatives to Filing for Bankruptcy?

There are a handful of alternatives to filing for bankruptcy, but not all of them can help you get out of debt, especially if you have too much debt. Some of the alternatives to filing for bankruptcy available to you include the following:

  • Selling your assets to pay creditors
  • Attending credit counseling courses
  • Consolidating your debt
  • Settling your debt
  • Borrowing money from a trusted person in your life
  • Refinancing or restructuring your mortgage
  • Picking up a second job
  • Altering your lifestyle, fixing your budget, or lowering expenses
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Rebounding From a Bankruptcy Filing

Even though you are given a fresh start, your life after filing for bankruptcy will not be easy. You might still be concerned about how others will view you for filing. Try to put the stigma behind you as much as possible. To move forward with recovery after a bankruptcy filing, be sure to do the following:

  • Review your credit report for any mistakes
  • Check your credit report every month
  • Make all your payments by the due dates
  • Do not purchase anything with high interest rates
  • Do not get stuck with a credit repair scam
  • Acquire a secured credit card
  • Acquire a regular credit card
  • Keep all the balances on your credit cards as low as possible
  • Pay credit card balances on or before the due dates
  • Increase the mix of your credit score slowly
  • Create and stick to a budget
  • Put money away in an emergency fund
  • Stick to your guns and get ready to deal with road bumps

Call Brian McMahon in West Palm Beach Today

Are you preparing to file for Chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy in Florida? If so, you should protect yourself with the assistance of an experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney. Brian McMahon has been representing bankruptcy filers for more than 32 years. Call our office at 561-658-1789, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We serve clients in West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Boca Raton, and all of South Florida.

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