Timothy J. Sierra, Attorney at Law Trusted Florida Bankruptcy Attorney Since 1987
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SHOULD YOU HIRE A BANKRUPTCY LAWYER

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It would be a very good idea to hire competent bankruptcy counsel. There are very few cases that are simple. And even simple cases are fraught with peril. The following story is a good example of a debtor who should have hired counsel.

A gentleman filed a bankruptcy case on his own or pro se. He had a bankruptcy petition preparer prepare his documents. Bankruptcy petition preparers are not attorneys and they do not represent debtors in court. He did not have much in terms of personal property but had a home that was paid off. He had one large creditor chasing him for a deficiency judgment on foreclosed real estate.

Prior to filing his case, he received a lump sum disability payment of about $38,000.00. He used the money to pay off his mortgage which was in default and the mortgage company was close to finishing the foreclosure process and setting the property for sale. The debtor used the money to save his house from foreclosure. He then filed for bankruptcy. You would think paying the mortgage was ok since he was on the verge of losing it.

However, one of his largest creditors did not think so. The creditor filed on objection to the debtor's homestead exemption and alleged that the pay off of the debtor's mortgage was done with intent to defraud them. Their case was bolstered by the fact that the debtor did not disclose all of his assets on the bankruptcy schedules, under reported his income, and did not disclose all of his financial affairs. The creditor allege that the debtor was not honest and forthright in filling out his schedules and committed fraud by not disclosing everything he should have. The debtor admitted he did not read his petition, schedules and statements before signing them. Ironically, most of the information was inconsequential, but the fact that he did not disclosure the information made it look like he was being deceptive.

The debtor could lose his home if the court decides against him. If he would have had counsel, the debtor's petition, schedules and statements would have been accurate. The creditor may not have pursued the debtor if fraudulent intent could not be inferred by the failure to accurately fill out the information in the petition. Also, the debtor would have been advised prior to filing that social security disability income received prior to filing a bankruptcy case is not exempt from the claims of creditors unless it is necessary for the debtor's basic needs (for cases in the 11th circuit). Also, the debtor may have been advised not to file as the he was judgment proof-there is nothing that the creditor could have attached or seized. By filing for bankruptcy, the debtor gave the creditor an avenue to pursue recovery of the debt.

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  • "When I first came to the decision to file for bankruptcy, I had no idea where to start. I began researching attorneys on the internet and came across the information for Tim Sierra. Since he specialized in bankruptcy and had a lot of experience......"
  • The process of going through bankruptcy could be very overwhelming but Tim made me feel at ease and I felt that my needs were being taken care of. I truly feel that he had my best interests in mind and the lines of communication were always open....
  • "I had to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I didn't know anyone who could refer someone so I took a chance and just looked on the Internet. I don't remember exactly why I chose Mr. Sierra, but I am glad I did..."
  • He was honest, straightforward, and hard-working. In my case I ended up with some extenuating circumstances and he handled the matter professionally even though I'm sure the work probably exceeded what he originally felt it would be....
  • I don't ever write reviews, and I had no prior relationship with Mr. Sierra. This review is simply being written as a service to others that Mr. Sierra is an excellent attorney and should be considered for your needs if you need one....
  • "I'm very happy to have been referred to Tim for my Chapter 7 filing. He was knowledgeable in his field and very responsive in replying to any questions or concerns I had. Tim was also very accommodating with meeting times..."
  • " I recently was in need of Mr. Sierra's services and I found him to be very understanding and helpful in my particular circumstance. He met with me and explained everything in full detail and also answered every question that I had....."
  • " I recommend Timothy Sierra a loyal and dependable lawyer. When you talk to him you feel that you are with a friend or a member of your family. Timothy is able to lead you in every step of the process. Good job Timothy."
  • " Bankruptcy is a private and personally devastating life event. Timothy Sierra and his assistant, Nancy, made the process as painless as possible. They kept in close contact via phone and email so I always knew what was happening in my case...."
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