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Tampa Bankruptcy Law Blog

What is Exempt from Bankruptcy? Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions

The decision to file for bankruptcy is a difficult one, and there is a lot of things to find out about which type of bankruptcy, if it's a chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy, is best for your current financial situation, before filing. One thing a person who is considering bankruptcy should look into is, what would be considered exempt from bankruptcy if one should file.

Exemptions differ among states. Each state has laws for exemptions. For those who reside in Florida, it is important to know what is considered a bankruptcy exemption in their state. With chapter 7, Florida exemptions can help a debtor keep some property, and with chapter 13, Florida exemptions impact how much a debtor pays creditors with in the terms of the plan.

Is student loan debt becoming popular prey for con artists?

There is no shortage of college graduates who are facing student loan debt in America, including many people in the Tampa area. Student loan debt is a common problem after people graduate from college, and paying it off can be very difficult. There are also many different so-called “debt-relief” companies that are aware of this and they are starting to discover the benefits of preying on people weighed down by student loan debt.

According to one report, con artists are realizing the great returns they can make from people with student loan debt and are pouncing on the opportunity. These so-called “debt-relief” companies help the victims pay off small portions of their debt, but then cut ties with them without giving them any real relief and charging them for their “help.” With more than a trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt in the country, it’s no wonder con artists are going after this segment.

July Means Changes to Federal Student Loans

Summer has arrived, which has brought about new changes to Federal Student loans that took affect July 1st. Here are some important changes that borrowers should be aware of regarding student loans:

1. Interest Rates are changing. Interest on all loans taken out on or after the first of this month will have a fixed interest rate throughout the life of the loan. The maximum rate for future student loans will not exceed 11 percent. This applies to Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans for graduate students, and Direct Graduate and Parent PLUS loans.

Protection from Debt Collector Harassment

Many people who are in debt or once were are well familiar with the constant attention from debt collectors. Debt collectors can be persistent and cause a lot of stress for those who are in debt, by hassling them at inappropriate times or trying to contact others personally to get more information about the debtor in question. Luckily, the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) makes certain collection procedures illegal for debt collectors to implement. Knowing what debt collectors can and cannot do is important as an individual to understand that you have rights that protect you from collection harassment.

Are Americans learning to be responsible with credit cards?

Although just about everyone in the Tampa area, and elsewhere, understands the dangers of having too much debt, that doesn’t stop most Americans from carrying their fair share of unpaid credit card debt. Credit card debt can lead to a lot of financial problems both in the present and in the future. However, there may be some good news for the overall credit card debt picture in the country.

According to reports from the American Bankers Association, the percentage of cardholders who completely paid their balances off in the fourth quarter of last year rose to 29 percent from 28.6 percent. Although the jump is not a major increase it is a positive step in the right direction. Meantime, recent statistics also show that there has been a decline in the number of credit card delinquencies as well. Both of these numbers indicate that Americans may be learning how to better use their credit cards.

Extensions on Paying Back Student Loans: Forbearances

In last week's blog we discussed ways to get extensions on paying off student loans, one way being deferments. This week we will discuss another solution to extending payments: forbearance. Forbearance, just like a deferment allows a borrower to temporally postpone payments on student loans and/or reduce the amount one pays monthly on those loans.

Inherited IRAs are Not Considered "Retirement" Accounts

When a person sets up an Individual retirement account for themselves they usually are thinking that if something should happen to them, then their account is under the possession of the beneficiary of their choice. Which is true, however, when a person sets up an IRA with a chosen beneficiary do they think about if this account can be affected financially, such as through a bankruptcy. No, most IRA owners do not. This is because too many people who do have IRAs or have inherited those from an original owner never realize that if faced with bankruptcy their inherited IRA is at risk.

Medical debt on a credit report can be like a lingering illness

Just about everyone in the Tampa area, or anywhere else in the United States, carries some kind of debt. Debt is typically not a good thing to have and in some cases it can lead to greater financial problems, like foreclosures and bankruptcies. There are many kinds of debt that affect people from all walks of life, but one of the most common forms that people are dealing with these days is medical debt.

Not only is having medical debt damaging to a person’s financial status, but medical debt can also be damaging to a person’s credit score. In fact, according to reports once a person has been hit with unpaid medical debt on his or her credit report, it can be very difficult to remove it from a credit report. One of the biggest problems with medical debt is that many people aren’t even aware that have it, until it gets sent to a collection agency.

Could the private sector ease the burden of student loan debt?

Many people want to live the “American dream,” which often includes time spent earning a degree at a college or university. Having a degree can be very beneficial for those who want to carve out a path of financial prosperity. However, paying for a college education is often very expensive and many students in the Tampa area, and elsewhere, graduate in serious debt. So what if the private sector helped students overcome this debt?

According to reports, the amount of student loan debt in America is in the neighborhood of $1.3 trillion. For many students getting out of debt is nearly impossible, which means long-term financial troubles are almost inevitable. However, what would happen if the private sector started an Adopt-a-Student Loan program to help ease the burden of student loan debt?

Paying for College Does Not Mean Taking out Student Loans

Today many students when thinking of applying to college they ask themselves, "How can I afford tuition?" From there they see taking out Student Loans as the only solution to achieve their dreams of gaining a college degree. Taking out loans could lead to borrowers being overwhelmed by debt; therefore they become unable to repay their loans in time, and are forced to deal with default. For debtors who feel like they have no way out they seek to file for bankruptcy. However, student loans are not the only way affording college is possible.

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