Sarasota and Bradenton Bankruptcy Lawyers who can help you

Consumer bankruptcy lawyers in Sarasota help you take back control

The current economic climate has resulted in a lack of jobs and jobs that pay significantly less than previously, leaving many people overwhelmed by mounting debt and unsure how they will pay their bills. At Cole & Cole Law, P.A., our Sarasota consumer bankruptcy lawyers who also serve clients in Bradenton, Charlotte County and throughout the west coast of Florida bring the knowledge and skill they have acquired over almost 50 years of combined experience to help you take control of your debt so you can take control of your life.

A compassionate approach to bankruptcy

Our attorneys understand the fear and confusion you may feel if you’ve fallen on hard times due to a lost job, medical bills, divorce or other issue and are having trouble making ends meet. You can trust us to research and explore the best approach for handling your debt, and to keep you informed of the ultimate impact of bankruptcy on your family, home and future credit. If, after reviewing your debts, income and expenses, we determine bankruptcy is the best fit for you, we will guide you through every step of the process so there are no surprises. Bankruptcy is a form of financial redemption and in fact takes great courage to face problems honestly and move forward to financial freedom.

First, we should let you know that not all debt is created nor treated equally. To see the types of debts and how they may be treated click on the Debts You Can and Cannot Discharge.

You Have Options in Bankruptcy.

What is the automatic stay?

The automatic stay is received by you the Debtor when you file your petition with the Court. Once the petition has been accepted you are entitled to the automatic stay, which prevents any further collection of debts, repossessions of automobiles, foreclosures, wage garnishments and tax collection. The Bankruptcy Court grants the automatic stay in order to give you and your bankruptcy lawyer time to assemble a plan on how your debts will be treated. This is normally done through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy if you are an individual. We can explore the Business Bankruptcy options or Corporate Bankruptcy options by clicking on the link Business Bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 versus Chapter 7 Bankruptcy- which is right for you?

While a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy are used for different debt restructuring, they can provide the individual consumer with differing types of benefits. The benefits are unique to each filing and dependent on the different types of debt. Both options, when the process has been completed, provide the consumer with the opportunity for a fresh start and new lease on life. Choosing between which bankruptcy best suits your situation will depend on many different factors such as income, assets, and classification of debts. As experienced bankruptcy attorneys, we can guide you through this process so you can receive an outcome that is best for you and your family or business.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A Brief Description

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the elimination of most or all of your unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is debt that is not secured, or attached, to any of your property. The most common examples of unsecured debt that will eliminated in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy are credit cards, medical bills, payday loans, utility bills, and personal signature loans. All of those types of debt are eliminated upon successfully completing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and relating discharge. In contrast, in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you must usually pay back a percentage of your unsecured debts. While there are some types of debt that cannot be eliminated in any bankruptcy such as student loans or domestic support obligations, the principle benefit of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the elimination of most or all unsecured debt.

Another benefit of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is that you can obtain relief from your debts in a shorter period of time. The typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case lasts only three or four months from the date you file your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case with the court until you receive your discharge. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a repayment plan that lasts 36 to 60 months. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can help you become debt free in only three to four months. We must emphasize you will still need to pass a means test, and only an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you through that. Don’t trust online free means tests as these are often misleading or incomplete.

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The primary benefit of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing is that if you are behind in payments on secured debts such as mortgages and auto loans, you can reorganize your past due debt and pay it over time and according to a Chapter 13 plan. There are limitations to this and it will depend on your income as to whether you qualify. Only an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will be able to tell you if you qualify for this type of bankruptcy, or whether this type of bankruptcy is right for you. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy allows the debtor to stay collection action by both secured and unsecured creditors by creating a repayment plan. The duration of the bankruptcy repayment plans range from 36 to 60 months to pay creditors, some percentage or all of the debt owed at the time you file your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy plan allows the debtor to spread out payments to get caught up on the debts over time and prevents the debtor from having to come up with money. Along with the principal benefit of stopping a home foreclosure or the repossession of other types of secured collateral, like a car, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can also help eliminate most of your unsecured debt by only paying a percentage so you can concentrate on those more important secured debts. If you complete a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan, you will emerge debt free and become current on your secured loans and also pay any tax debts off.

The other main benefit of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the 100% protection of your valuable assets from seizure by your creditors. Although Chapter 7 Bankruptcy provides for some protection of your assets through state created “exemptions,” not all of your property may be completely shielded from seizure. If you own a home or car with no lien, or have a significant amount of equity, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will allow you to reap the benefits of the discharge, eliminate your unsecured debt, and allow you to keep those hard earned assets.

Which is Right for You Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

While the end results of each type of Bankruptcy are similar, some of the benefits from each type of Bankruptcy can be very different. In order to determine which type of Bankruptcy you should file or which type of bankruptcy best suits your needs and long term goals, you need to seek advice from Cole & Cole Law, P.A., bankruptcy lawyers serving Sarasota, Bradenton and Charlotte County, Florida.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

In contrast to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, most individuals think of such companies as General Motors or Continental Airlines when they think of Chapter 11s. However, Chapter 11 is a bankruptcy that can be utilized by high net worth individuals or all sizes of companies to control and re-organize their debt. Normally, high earning individuals do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and may have debts that exceed the debt limits permitted by a Chapter 13. In that case, their only option may be the filing of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. There are no limitations on the amount of debt or the amount of income an individual can have in a Chapter 11 case. These cases, while certainly complex compared to a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, can result in a high net/high indebtedness individual successfully reorganizing their affairs so as to protect the assets they wish to retain and at the same time eliminate those assets and debts that are too burdensome to continue to! hold. Further, all of their unsecured debt, as well as other forms of debt, go into a repayment plan that may last approximately five years. During that time, the Chapter 11 debtor is required to pay their disposable income, after reasonable costs of living and expenses, to their unsecured creditors. This normally results in a percentage payment plan for unsecured creditors, and the debtor comes out of bankruptcy in a far better condition than when they entered it.

This form of bankruptcy will permit the physician, the lawyer, the dentist or other professionals and high earning individuals to preserve and protect what they worked years to build. It is not a bankruptcy that should be undertaken without reason, and only an experienced bankruptcy practitioner, such as those at Cole & Cole Law, P.A., would be qualified to assist in determining if a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is in the best interest of the filer. These cases are far more expensive than the other two types of bankruptcy, and the overriding cost of such a bankruptcy must be taken into account in the determination of its feasibility. If you have questions concerning this form of bankruptcy, please feel free to contact the office to arrange for an initial consultation or send an inquiry online, while not creating an attorney-client relationship, we will try to respond and also encourage you to book an initial consultation to ensure that you understand this type of bankruptcy and so you know someone is concerned for your plight.You deserve a fresh start. Contact us today.

If you are considering bankruptcy, it is not the end of the world. At Cole & Cole Law, P.A., we have the experience necessary to analyze your particular situation and help you form the best plan possible to alleviate your financial distress. Call our Sarasota, Florida, offices today at (941) 365-4055 or contact us online to speak with a Bradenton consumer bankruptcy lawyer for a free bankruptcy evaluation. An online inquiry does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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