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How can I get rid of a second (or third) mortgage?

“Lien stripping” has become very popular lately, as home values have declined. A competent bankruptcy attorney will be on the lookout for situations when lien stripping can be an effective tool in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Simply put, if you have two mortgages on a piece of real estate and the current value of the property is less than the balance due on the first mortgage, the bankruptcy court very well might be willing to strip the second mortgage off the property, leaving it with just the first mortgage attached. Of course, there are many details to consider, so you need an attorney competent in bankruptcy to help you with lien stripping.

At Olivero Law, we have assisted many clients in stripping mortgages off of their property. As home values bottom out and start to go back up, the window of opportunity for lien stripping will close. As is true in so many situations, timing is everything.

Posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 at 8:32 pm under Bankruptcy.
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How Do I Know If I Should File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy can be a daunting task, to be sure. There will be lots of questions about how to actually file the paperwork, what type of bankruptcy will be best and what the lingering effects of this action will be.

First, it’s important to ask whether this is the answer to your financial problems. Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision and should only be undertaken if there are no other alternatives. Having a bankruptcy on your credit file can affect buying a house or car in the future and will remain on your records for years to come.

“To file, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code also requires that a filer obtains some credit counseling from a court-approved counseling agency before submitting a bankruptcy petition,” said Reginald Osenton of Olivero Laws in Brandon, Florida.

The next step is to determine what type of bankruptcy is right for your situation. There is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which offers immediate relief, but it is not available to all debtors under bankruptcy law. The other alternative is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is a restructuring of debt typically over a 3 to 5 year period.

While there are some people who file bankruptcy paperwork without the assistance of an attorney, this is highly discouraged. Bankruptcy is a serious and complex matter that can have ramifications for years to come. It is best to seek an expert attorney on this decision.

The lawyer should meet with you to go over your options and financial matters. If your initial meeting is with a paralegal or assistant, and not an attorney, you should seek another law firm. After discussing your situation, the attorney should inform you what the legal fee and court costs would be to proceed.

Once you retain a lawyer, refer all creditors to him or her. After you file the bankruptcy petition, the court will set the first meeting of creditors, which is a time for the bankruptcy trustee and creditors to ask you questions about your case. In most cases, this is the only time you will appear in court. The creditors then have a certain time period to respond to your request of a discharge or restructuring of debt.

Again, choosing to file for bankruptcy is a serious matter. “It is imperative to seek the advice and guidance of a competent attorney with experience in bankruptcy,” Osenton said.

To learn more visit, http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 at 2:36 am under Bankruptcy, News and Press.
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The Differences Between Chapters 7 and 13 Bankruptcy

More than likely you probably know someone who has filed for bankruptcy. After all, in 2009 alone there were some 1.4 million people who sought a fresh financial start.

But what are the differences between the two different types of bankruptcy filings?

Usually when people talk about bankruptcy, they are specifically referring to Chapter 7.

Chapter 7 seeks to relieve someone from a debilitating amount of debt while liquidating as few of their possessions as possible. This is also called straight bankruptcy. Unsecured debts such as medical expenses and credit cards typically do not have to be paid back. Secured debt does, however, if the debtor intends to keep the asset securing the debt, like a car loan. This is accomplished through a reaffirmation agreement, a contract between the debtor and the lender for repayment of the loan in exchange for keeping the asset.

The benefit of filing for Chapter 7 is that you are relieved from a large portion of debt in a speedy manner, while also benefitting from a court order that bars collectors from harassing you for payment over the phone, via e-mail or in person. The downside to Chapter 7 is that in some cases your valuables are liquidated.

To file for Chapter 7, one must pass the median income test. The median income test, and its companion, the means test, is a formula that is used to determine whether or not the person seeking to file has enough money to make small payments to creditors. If so, they must file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7. These tests were added in 2005 when the bankruptcy code was amended to stop the onslaught of Chapter 7 bankruptcies.

If you “fail” the median income test and means test, you must file for Chapter 13, which is essentially a restructuring of your debt. The consumer works with the bankruptcy trustee on a payment plan, which usually takes place over a 3- to 5-year period. The disadvantage is that you are not immediately relieved of massive debt, but many people prefer Chapter 13 over Chapter 7 because it offers greater protection of your assets.

Whatever option is chosen, it is important to discuss these matters with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Shiobhan Olivero is the Owner and President of Olivero Law If you need a Brandon bankruptcy lawyer, Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, or Tampa bankruptcy attorney, call 813.654.5777 or visit Brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 at 2:26 am under Bankruptcy, News and Press.
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Stats Show Increase in Bankruptcy Filings for Consumers

The number of U.S. bankruptcy filings is reaching new heights.

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the total number of bankruptcies filed during the first half of this year jumped 14 percent over the same period in 2009. There were 810,209 filings from Jan. 1 through June 30 this year and 711,550 last year.

There have never been this many filings in the first half of a calendar year since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was created to form more stringent rules for filing.

“Bankruptcy continues to be the last resort for many Americans seeking financial relief from household debt, unemployment and the economic downturn,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano in a statement. “The first half 2010 filings show that bankruptcies are on pace to surpass 1.6 million by year end.”

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, filings by individuals or households with consumer debt increased 15 percent to 781,150 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2010, from the 2009 first-half total of 681,217. Consumers filing for chapter 7 protection increased 17 percent to 571,417 during the first half of 2010 from 489,128 during the first six months of 2009. Consumer chapter 13 filings increased as well, rising 9 percent as 208,778 consumers filed for chapter 13 in the first half of 2010 from 191,458 during the first half of 2009.

Conversely, however, business bankruptcy filings decreased 4 percent for the six-month period ending June 30, 2010. Specifically, the total number fell to 29,059 from the first-half 2009 total of 30,333. The biggest decreases came from Chapter 11 business reorganizations.

While business bankruptcies seem to be slowing, the increased number of consumer bankruptcies clearly shows that average individuals are still reeling from the economic slowdown.

There are many things to consider when contemplating filing for bankruptcy. It is best to talk to an experienced attorney about your options and the repercussions of taking such an action.

Shiobhan Olivero is the Owner and President of Olivero Law If you need a Brandon bankruptcy lawyer, Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, or Tampa bankruptcy attorney, call 813.654.5777 or visit Brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 at 2:27 am under Bankruptcy, News and Press.
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