West Palm Beach Bankruptcy Lawyer
When you hire The Port Law Firm for help with your bankruptcy issue, attorney Ed Port will meet with you personally. Mr. Port oversees your case from beginning to end, and you can get in touch with him whenever you need him. You can expect that your case will go smoothly, with positive results and an outcome you can be happy with. Contact our experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy lawyer today.
West Palm Beach
2161 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite #202
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
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What Not to Do Before You Declare Bankruptcy
Transfer assets without receiving equivalent value in return
Too often I hear “I just transferred title to my car”, “I just quit-claimed my property to my family, or a friend”, this should not be done. A trustee in a bankruptcy can void the transfer and the property will revert back to you and be subject to attachment.
Refinancing Real Property
In Florida if you have owned your home for more than 1215 days or if not, have less than $136,000.00 in equity (single filing) than your home is fully protected from creditor attack. (other than the mortgage holder(s)). By refinancing, one increases the risk of losing their home. This is because, if a default occurs regarding this new mortgage there is the possibility of losing your home to foreclosure. Remember the debt that is owed as a result of credit card usage is dischargeable in bankruptcy and these creditors even if they sued you could not force a foreclosure on your home. Thus, if you plan on filing bankruptcy, it would not be a wise choice to refinance your home to pay credit card debt. I have counseled many people who have refinanced their home only to pay a portion of their debt. This has always resulted in these people still being in debt but with a higher mortgage payment.
Deplete retirement fund to pay creditors
In contemplating bankruptcy these accounts should not be used to pay down your debt. This is a personal choice but you should evaluate your situation and determine if you will truly be in a better position by using your retirement savings. Our firm will review all your options so you can make an informed decision. As I have seen before, many clients have depleted their retirement to pay a portion of their debt, only to be in the same position they were in prior to depleting the funds.
Use of credit cards in anticipation of filing bankruptcy
The bankruptcy court as well as the trustee will review the debt that was incurred prior to the filing of bankruptcy. If it reflects an abuse of spending, the court will not look favorably on this and could deny you a discharge. Do not incur debt with the idea that you will never pay it back, this is fraud. On the other hand if you incur debt and then an unexpected event happens that explains the non-payment then this would be a circumstance out of your control and there would be no fraud.
Transfer money or pay back family members
Any money transferred to a family member within a year prior to the filing of a bankruptcy can be subject to the bankruptcy court. This means that if you gave your father $10,000.00 within a year of filing, a bankruptcy trustee could sue your father to get the money back.
Pay off car loans
In Florida if you own a car you want as little equity remaining as possible. As stated earlier in Florida a debtor is only allowed to fully protect a $1,000.00 of equity in one vehicle. I have counseled many people who have money in the bank and pay off their car loan thinking that now it is protected. If you are thinking of filing bankruptcy, seek an attorney’s advice on what is protected in a bankruptcy.
Wait to long prior to seeking an attorneys advice
Bankruptcy takes Planning. A wise old teacher I had said to me “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. If you are in financial trouble you should seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney. Does this mean that once you meet with the attorney a bankruptcy will be filed? No, but I bet you will feel a whole lot better knowing your options.