Friday, June 10, 2016

Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions

Persons filing for bankruptcy in Florida generally use the exemptions  provided by Florida law and non-bankruptcy federal law.  Florida law provides for exemptions in the Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes and common law.

Real Property

Certain real property, such as a homestead, and personal property are "exempt" - that is, exempt from administration by a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee or otherwise not taken into consideration in a chapter 13 as to the amount required to be repaid to unsecured creditors.

Personal property of  $l,000.00 and $4,000.00 value

Each debtor may "exempt" $l,000.00 of personal property.  Another statute also allows each debtor to “exempt” a further $4,000.00 of personal property if he does not claim or receive the benefits of a Florida homestead exemption. 

Cars and other Motor Vehicles

In addition to the above general personal property exemption, $l,000.00 in equity, in one car (two for a joint case) or other motor vehicle (such as a motorcycle, truck, trailer, semi-trailer, truck tractor, semi-trailer combination, recreational vehicle, etc.) is "exempt" from the bankruptcy estate. Often this is not even used as many vehicles have no net value (equity) as more is owed on them than they are worth (i.e. you are "upside down").  During and after the bankruptcy, you must, of course, continue to make any payment due for a lien on the vehicle.

Pension Plans, IRAs, and other Retirement Plans 

Pension plans, I.R.A.'s, and other retirement plans are generally not part of the estate or may be exempted from the estate (including under the exemption provided in the Bankruptcy Code itself 522 (b)(3)(C)) . 

Earned Income Credit Refund   

An interest in an IRS earned income credit ("EIC") whether received or yet to be received is exempt. It also applies to funds in a bank account traceable to such EIC. This exemption does not apply to collection for child support or spousal support.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mortgage Modification under the Bankruptcy Court's New "Mortgage Modification Mediation" Program

The Bankruptcy Courts in Miami has recently started a new program to help people get a mortgage modification in your to help them save their home from foreclosure with the assistance of the bankruptcy court as part of their  chapter 13 bankruptcy case.  Most of the time, the homeowner seeks to modify their first mortgage and is able to wipe out their second mortgage as the second mortgage
is "underwater"

The program is called "Mortgage Modification Mediation" (MMM). It is available for homeowners and certain investment property owners who are seeking a modification of their mortgage and may be facing foreclosure of the mortgages on their property.  As part of the MMM program, the Bankruptcy Court appoints a mediator to work with the debtor and their bankruptcy attorney in reaching an agreement.  MMM has been successful in about 80% of the cases in other parts of Florida that previously instituted the program. One advantage of this program is that it provides for better communication with the mortgage lender in the process of negotiating a mortgage modification. A mediator is appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to help the parties negotiate an agreement.

As part of this process, an order is issued by the Bankruptcy Court requiring your mortgage lender to register with the internet portal and negotiate with you for a mortgage modification. The documents that are needed for the mortgage company to consider the mortgage for a modification are submitted on an internet portal for better communications.   All communications between the parties is done through the MMM Portal. After the order is entered the homeowner, mortgage lender and mediator communicate and meet to mediate a modification. In the meeting, all parties must be really and able to settle all matters.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcy Relief

(305) 891-4055 - Free Initial Consultation - Office: North Miami - Aventura - Bankruptcy Attorney Jordan E. Bublick - 25 Years Experience -

Miami Bankruptcy AttorneyChapter 13 and chapter 7 bankruptcy each provides for different requirements and relief.  In general chapter 13 provides for an opportunity to reorganize your debt and chapter 7 provides for an opportunity to just discharge your debt.

Chapter 13


Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often used by people with higher incomes and substantial non-exempt property to formulate a chapter 13 plan to reorganize their debt while under the protection of the bankruptcy court. Under a chapter 13 plan, you are able to reorganize your secured debt (such as mortgages and car loans) as wells as unsecured debt (credit cards and personal loans).  Often you are only required to back only  10% to 20% of you unsecured debt and discharge the rest. A typical chapter 13 plan is over a period of 3 to 5 years.

Chapter 7 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually used by people with lower income and little non-exempt property. Under chapter 7 unsecured debt, such as credit cards and loans, is discharged, unless it falls within the categories of non-dischargeable debts, such as student loans and some types of taxes.

Mortgage Modification

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also used by people who are behind with their mortgages and to save their homes from foreclosure. Under a chapter 13 plan, you are able to take various approaches. You may reinstate your mortgage by catching up-to-date your past due payments over a period of up to 5 years.

Totally underwater second mortgages on residential property may be wholly avoided. Maintenance association liens may be avoided to the extent they are not secured by equity in the real estate.

Mortgage Modification Mediation

You may use the bankruptcy court's new mortgage modification mediation program ("MMM") [previously called the loss mitigation mediation ("LMM") program]  to negotiate with your mortgage company to achieve a modification of your mortgage.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Short Sale" of Real Estate

Jordan E. Bublick is a North Miami Bankruptcy Lawyer - North Miami - Aventura Office - (305) 891-4055

A short sale involves the mortgage lender agreeing to allow a homeowner to sell his real property for a price less than enough to payoff the mortgage in full. That is, the lender agrees to release its mortgage lien on the property for an amount less than a full pay-off so as to allow the sale of the real estate to proceed.  As the net proceeds of the sales price is less than the full amount due on the mortgage lien, the mortgage holder must agree to accept a "short" payoff in exchange for release of its mortgage lien.


Many homeowners facing foreclosure consider a "short sale", but have a difficult time understanding all of its implications. Some property owners that attempt to achieve a short sale are not successful in their efforts. Many seem to indicate frustration in the attempt to communicate with the mortgage lender(s) and/or actually complete a short sale. In addition, many lenders may be under contractual or regulatory restrictions that may not permit them to agree to a short sale.

Apparently the most difficult item in the short sale process is communicating with the lender and any second mortgage holder, such as the holder of a "home equity loan." In addition to the agreement of the first mortgage holder, the agreement of any junior mortgage holders must also be obtained. Outstanding judgments or tax liens may also be an issue as the buyer would need to receive clear title.

The process of obtaining a short sale usually takes several weeks to pursue and one needs to furnish substantial documentation, including personal financial information such as paycheck stubs, bank statements, 401(k) statements, and tax returns. One may also need to furnish information about a hardship.

Release from Liability
One of the most important issues in the short sale is whether the homeowner is actually released from liability for the "short" or unpaid amount. If the mortgage company and/or the second mortgage company do not release a person from liability for the unpaid portion, the benefit of a short sale to a homeowner may be questioned.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Saving Your Property from Foreclosure with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

<img src="image.gif" alt="Saving Your Home from Foreclosure in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy" />

The filing of a chapter 13 bankruptcy case puts a stop to most foreclosure actions and gives a homeowner the opportunity to pursue a mortgage modification under the Bankruptcy Court's Mortgage Modification Mediation program ("MMM") . In addition, often second mortgages are avoidable in a chapter 13 plan

Mortgage Modification Mediation 

Within the chapter 13 case, a property owners may make use of the Bankruptcy Court's new Mortgage Modification Mediation (MMM).

This program is innovative in certain respects. Under this program, a Bankruptcy Court appoints a meditor to help the parties reach an agreement to modify the mortgage. A mediator is able to help the homeowner and mortgage company communicate and reach an agreement for modification.

This program also involves the use of an internet "portal" which allows the homeowner to upload all the documents needed for the mortgage company to consider for a modification. Through this portal the homeowner and mortgage company are also able to communicate.

Avoiding of Under Water Mortgages and Association Liens

If a second mortgage is "under water," the involved lien may be avoidable. To be avoidable as to residential property, there must not be any equity in the property to support the mortgage lien. That is, more is owed on the first mortgage than the value of the property. Association liens, including condominium association liens, may also be avoidable in whole or in part, to the extent that they are "under water."