If You’re Going to File for Bankruptcy, Sooner Is Better Than Later

Financial problems have a way of paralyzing people. When you are in debt and unable to make your payments, every phone call or trip to the mailbox can induce anxiety. As a result, many people who experience financial problems choose to ignore them for months or even years, hoping they just go away. Unfortunately, these problems almost never go away on their own. Often, they result in wage garnishment, accrual of interest, and even lawsuits.

If you realize that your financial problems have gotten out of hand and that, realistically, you only have a slight chance to pay your debts back, discuss bankruptcy with an experienced attorney. At Berkowitz & Myer, we will review the facts of your case at no cost to you and let you know whether we think bankruptcy is right for you. To schedule an appointment with one of St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers, call our office today at (727) 367-1080 or contact us online.

The Basics of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often a good option for people who make regular income and own assets that theyd like to keep. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which a debtors non-exempt assets are sold off to pay back creditors, in Chapter 13, a debtor may keep assetsso long as the debtor stays current on court-approved Chapter 13 payments.

Chapter 13 is often particularly attractive to homeowners who have fallen behind on mortgage payments. First of all, an automatic stay is put into place the moment a person files for Chapter 13. This stops a lender from starting foreclosure and will also stop an active foreclosure from proceeding. In addition, it allows homeowners to include their past due mortgage payments in their bankruptcies, giving them three to five years to pay it off. As long as homeowners stay current on mortgage payments after the past due amount is wrapped up into the bankruptcy, they can stay in their homes while enjoying bankruptcy protections.

At the conclusion of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will often discharge most, if not all, of a debtors remaining debts. In this way, Chapter 13 can significantly reduce a total debt load while allowing a person to keep assets and obtain a fresh financial start.

Call Us Today to Speak With a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyer

If youve gotten behind on your bills and are not sure whether youre ever going to catch up, discuss your situation with a bankruptcy attorney as soon as you can.

Berkowitz & Myer offer a free initial consultation where we will take time to fully understand your situation and advise you as to all of your legal options. To schedule an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida, call our office today at (727) 367-1080 or send us an email through our online content form.

Four Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Myths Debunked

The very word can cause anxiety and stress for many people. It, however, can help people who fall on hard times get fresh financial starts. In fact, in many cases, people who file for bankruptcy are immediately better off than they were before they filed.

Here are four myths that may hold you back from considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For more information, call Berkowitz & Myer to speak to an experienced St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer today.

Myth #1: Filing for Bankruptcy Will Ruin Your Credit

Many people in financial distress refuse to consider this option because they worry that it will ruin their credit. Two things are wrong with this line of thinking. First, simply ignoring bills that you cannot pay will certainly ruin your credit. Second, while it is certainly true that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for seven years, it often has a less detrimental effect than accounts in collections, judgments, delinquencies, or other problems. In fact, in just a few months, many people who file have better credit than they did before filing.

Myth #2: Bankruptcy Is Always the Result of Financial Irresponsibility

You may believe that bankruptcy is a sign of financial irresponsibility and that filing would somehow constitute a personal failure. In reality, a significant number of bankruptcies are the result of circumstances completely out of a debtors control. Unexpected illnesses, job loss, poorly performing investments, variable interest rates, overuse of credit, or injury-causing accidents can result in unexpected expenses, an inability to work, or both.

Myth #3: Your Repayment Plan Will Create a Financial Burden

The court determines Chapter 13 payments by looking at a debtors debts, income, and allowable expenses, then sets an amount for you to pay each month that allows you to live, eat, get around, and pay other bills while making payments toward your debts. In addition, should your circumstances change in a way that makes the payment unaffordable, you could ask the court to modify your payment.

Myth #4: You Will Lose Your Home if You File for Chapter 13

Many people actually use Chapter 13 to keep their homes. In Chapter 13, you can take your past-due mortgage payments (often referred to as arrears) and pay them back during the course of your bankruptcy planwhich lasts anywhere from three to five years. As long as you can keep up your mortgage payments during your bankruptcy, you can keep your house. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy actually provides a good opportunity to renegotiate the terms of your mortgage with your lender to lower your payments.

Call the St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyers of Berkowitz & Myer Today for a Free Consultation

You don’t need to be frightened to take this option. In fact, it can form the first step to a significantly brighter financial future. At Berkowitz & Myer, we will thoroughly review your financial situation during a free initial consultation and let you know whether we believe you could benefit from filing for bankruptcy. To schedule an appointment with a bankruptcy lawyer in St. Petersburg, contact us online or call our office today at 727-344-1023.

When Is It Time to File for Chapter 13?

Filing for bankruptcyChapter 13 | St. Petersburg | Berkowitz & Myer is a big decision. A Chapter 13 can stay on your credit report for seven years and can make financing harder to obtain and raise your interest rates. That said, you may enjoy significant benefits to filing for bankruptcy, such as avoiding foreclosure, lowering monthly payments, and discharging certain debts.

Consumers sometimes find filing for Chapter 13 a difficult decision. They may (sometimes correctly) believe that they are only experiencing temporary financial problems or feel that filing for bankruptcy somehow means they have failed.

Speak to an attorney about your optionswhich may or may not include filing for bankruptcy. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in St. Petersburg, call Berkowitz & Myer today at (727) 344-0123 or contact us online.

Deciding to File for Chapter 13: Factors to Consider

Whether filing for bankruptcy makes sense depends on numerous factors, including:

  • The nature of your debt
  • Whether you have a property you want to keep
  • Your income
  • the total amount of debt
  • financial goals

When a person files for Chapter 7 the most common form of consumer bankruptcymost, if not all, of debts are discharged without having to make any payments. The major downside of Chapter 7, however, is that the bankruptcy trustee will sell all of a debtors non-exempt assets and use proceeds of the sale to pay off creditors before granting a discharge.

Unlike in Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows filers to keep their property while making payments on their debts. For this reason, many people who own homes or other significant assets pursue Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7 bankruptcies.

A Lawyer Can Help You Navigate the Process

As the information above should make clear, you must consider many issues when deciding whether to file for bankruptcy. An attorney familiar with the different types of bankruptcy may analyze your financial situation and determine whether filing for bankruptcy is in your best interest. If it is, your lawyer can also help you determine which type of bankruptcy is right for you. Always talk to a lawyer before making any firm decisions with respect to bankruptcy.

Call Our Office Today to Speak with a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy but dont know if its the right thing to do, or the right time, speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. At Berkowitz & Myer, we will thoroughly review your financial situation and determine whether you would benefit from Chapter 13 or some other type of bankruptcy. If filing isnt right for you, we will let you know and not charge you anything for your visit. To schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers, call (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Filing for Chapter 13 Will Not Ruin Your Life

Bankruptcy Lawyer St. PetersburgIf you, like many people, experience financial problems, you’re not sure what to do or where to turn. You’re aware that you can’t keep up with your monthly obligations but are worried about the ramifications of filing for Chapter 13. You may have heard that bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years and make it impossible to buy a house, finance a car, or even get a credit card.

Many “disadvantages” of bankruptcy, however, are actually myths. For most filers, the benefits of bankruptcy significantly outweigh the actual downsides.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your bills each month or are deeply in debt, discuss your options with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation with a St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer, call Berkowitz & Myer today or contact us online.

The Basics of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To understand how Chapter 13 can benefit you, it helps to understand exactly what bankruptcy entails. Fundamentally, Chapter 13 allows consumers to reorganize their debts in a way that allows them to make affordable monthly payments until they have paid back as much of their debt as the law requires.

In Chapter 13, you propose a three to five year repayment plan that takes into account your allowable monthly expenses. During the time that you make payments, bankruptcy protects you from any collection activity from creditors, including foreclosure, repossession, and lawsuits. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then, can help people keep their property while paying down their debt.

What If I Am Behind on My Mortgage?

If you are behind on your mortgage payments and facing foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy will not lower your mortgage payments. That said, it will allow you to take the amount you are behind on your mortgage (the “arrears”) and pay it back during the course of your bankruptcy repayment plan. As a result, if you want to stay in your home, you still must afford your monthly mortgage payments while you are in bankruptcy. If you simply cannot afford your mortgage payments, look into other options.

Call Us Today to Speak With a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer in St. Petersburg

If you have financial problems and don’t see a way out, discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. In many cases, filing for bankruptcy can help you improve your financial situation and reduce or even eliminate debt—all while keeping important property like your home and car. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney, call Berkowitz & Myer today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Preparing for Your Initial Consultation with Your Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy Lawyer St. PetersburgIf you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, the first step is to schedule a consultation with an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy law. Come prepared so that the meeting is as productive and as informative as possible. Your preparation will also help the attorney can give you the best advice possible. This means that you will want to be able to provide a great deal of information to the attorney, and will require that you come with copies of various documents.

Prepare to Discuss the Big Picture

First, you want to give your attorney a broad overview of your situation and why you are considering filing for bankruptcy. Before arriving at the office, think through the following questions and prepare notes if necessary:

  • Recently lost your job or other income? Have you recently experienced some kind of major life-changing event that has created a financial hardship?
  • Any of your creditors brought legal action against you, such as a lawsuit or a garnishment? Are they threatening to proceed with legal action? Are there any judgments against you?
  • Received a foreclosure notice? Are you in the eviction process?
  • Is your car being repossessed?
  • Are you going through a divorce?

Drilling Down Into the Details

From there, you will want to give a more detailed picture of your current situation. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Your marital status and number of children or other dependents
  • Your income and your total household income
  • The total amount owed to various creditors
  • The total value of the assets you own (house, cars, boats, etc.)

This should also include a discussion of what you want to achieve by filing for bankruptcy.

Assemble Your Documents

The next step is the most burdensome, but if you gave serious thought to the steps noted above, you’ve already got a head start. You should arrive at the consultation with copies of the following documents:

  • Tax returns for the last two years.
  • Seven months of bank statements and pay stubs.
  • Copies of your mortgage and any other loan documents for cars or other property.
  • Any and all paperwork related to foreclosure, eviction, lawsuits, garnishments, or other legal actions.
  • Copies of any investment statements, including your 401(k) or other retirement accounts.
  • A copy of your driver’s license and Social Security card.
  • A list of all your debts, including credit cards, medical bills, auto loans, mortgages, etc. If possible, identify the creditor and how much you owe. Provide current account statements for each.

If you can’t find all of these documents, that’s okay—just make an honest effort, and indicate which documents you are unable to find. The attorney may suggest other ways to obtain the same information.

Contact a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney

We can help you sort through the options to get your life back on track. To schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

no-cost consultation: (727) 344-0123