The Hancock Firm, P.A. Beach Bankruptcy Blog
The Hancock Firm, P.A. cordially invites you to an open house on Thursday, November 13 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Feel free to stop by any time. There will be food and beverages and children are welcome. We hope to see you there!
On Thursday I drove down to Orlando to attend the first Statewide Mortgage Modification Summit. Each of the three districts in Florida has its own modification program. Although there are many similarities, there are also a lot of differences. At the end of the day, everyone is working toward the common goal of helping Florida bankruptcy debtors save their homes and that is the important thing.
The turnout for the event was impressive. There were 11 Florida bankruptcy judges, six chapter 13 trustees, 145 practitioners, and lender representatives from Wells Fargo, Chase, Nationstar, Ocwen, Bank of America, & Citimortgage. Some of the banking officials came from across the country to attend, which I hope is an indication of a willingness to modify mortgages and make the program work. The discussions were interesting, lively, and at times even got a little heated!
One thing I hope to see here in the Middle District of Florida (yes, Jacksonville is in the Middle District and not the Northern District) is a web portal like they have in the Southern District. The is a system where debtors' attorneys can upload the modification paperwork for the mortgage companies rather than email it or mail it. One of the biggest complaints in the modification process is banks asking for the same documents over and over, and such a system really seems to help curtail lost documents. I would also like to see clearer guidelines and timelines for the modification process.
The program is already very successful, and I hope the ideas shared at the summit will make it even more so. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to email me or give me a call.
Tax season is almost here. For many low-income people it is the one time of year they have a large sum of money at their disposal. So what does a tax refund have to do with bankruptcy? In bankruptcy there is a concept called a preference payment. This occurs when you favor certain creditors by paying them more money than others. Bankruptcy trustees especially scrutinize any payments made to insiders (friends or family members). If you pay a friend or family member within a year of filing your case, it must be disclosed on the bankruptcy petition. The bankruptcy trustee would then have the right to go after that money so he or she can evenly distribute it among all of your creditors. I know it is tempting to pay back friends and family that you owe money to with your tax refund or right before you file bankruptcy, but it is a very bad idea to do so. If you are even remotely considering bankruptcy, don't do it.
If you have a pending foreclosure, you may be looking into foreclosure defense and/or mortgage modification. But what is the difference?
I can't say how many times someone has come in for a consultation and said, "My friend told me that I should run up my credit cards before I file bankruptcy. Is that a good idea?" My answer, of course, is "no." Charging luxury goods, vacations, or taking out large cash advances prior to bankruptcy can lead creditors to file an adversary action in your bankruptcy case. An adversary action is when a debtor in bankruptcy is sued by a creditor who wants the judge to determine the debt should be paid back. But please don't panic if you put some toys for the kids, groceries, or gas on your credit card recently and are considering bankruptcy. Give me a call or send me an email and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about the bankruptcy process. Thanks!