All items from St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Law Blog

Scooter after auto accidentOn November 13, 2104, two people in Pinellas County  died after the scooters they were riding were involved in separate auto accidents. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office investigated one auto accident in north Pinellas County when a woman on a scooter collided with an SUV. The young woman died at the scene after a Jeep Cherokee struck her while trying to make a turn in front of her.
A man in St. Petersburg also died after an auto accident that same night. A few hours earlier a 38-year-old man lost his life when he was hit by a Volkswagen. The man was transported to Bayfront Health Center where he was pronounced dead according to St. Petersburg police. You can read the full article from Bay News Nine here.

Posted 6 days 21 hours ago

A person finally makes the difficult decision to file bankruptcy. They collect all of their financial information, go through unpaid bills and collection notices, and file a bankruptcy petition in order to obtain a bankruptcy discharge of debts they simply cannot pay. This is one of the most difficult decisions a person will make.
The reason the Bankruptcy Code was established by Congress was to provide the honest but unfortunate debtor a fresh start by providing them with a bankruptcy discharge. The honest but unfortunate debtor the bankruptcy laws were enacted to protect, do not have the ability to pay their debts. Now, banks and other creditors are continuing to harm a person who filed bankruptcy and received a bankruptcy discharge by keeping the bankruptcy discharged debts active on credit reports. This action violates the discharge order and the United States Trustees are investigating banks and other creditors for violations of the Bankruptcy Code.  For more information about this practice please read this article in the New York Times.

Posted 1 week 1 day ago

What Does Medical Marijuana in Florida Mean for Entrepreneurs?
The answer to that question is hard to answer at this moment. There is less than one month to go before a historic vote is made in Florida to allow patients to use medical marijuana in Florida. One thing entrepreneurs need to know is that even if medical marijuana becomes legal in Florida, it still against Federal Law to cultivate, distribute, or possess marijuana.
Many people have questions about the language of the amendment. If you have not read the Amendment yet, read it here.  I have had several people ask me about what they can do to get into the medical marijuana business if Amendment Two passes on November 4, 2014. There are some things that can be done now to prepare for Amendment Two to pass, but if anyone tells you they can guaranty you to get a license, grow medical marijuana, or sell medical marijuana, my suggestion would be to run. The first thing is to decide the best business organization to for you and to register with the State of Florida. The next thing is to makes sure people are aware that medical marijuana is on the ballot and vote on November 4, 2014.

Posted 5 weeks 5 days ago

Speeding Tickets
There was a recent article about a Pinellas County resident receiving a speeding ticket for speeding in a school zone, even though the driver had not yet entered the school z0ne.
If you receive a ticket for speeding in a school zone, I would advise following the suggestions in the article by making sure to have the officer note on the ticket the your exact location when cited, make the election to go to traffic court and contact us, take pictures, and do not settle without consulting with an attorney first.
We will aggressively defend you if you receive a traffic citation in Pinellas County. One of the main reasons to contact The Reisssman Law Group, is to help avoid getting points on your license. Too many points on your license can cause your insurance rates to increase and could possibly result in the suspension of your driving privileges.

Posted 5 weeks 6 days ago

The Real Estate Frenzy
In the early years of the new millennium many people in Florida had big dreams of buying real property, fixing it up, and selling it for a profit. And many were successful. That is,until the bottom fell out of the real estate market fell out leaving many people who dabbled in real estate holding the proverbial bag. Some people tried to hold onto the properties and rent them out to cover the mortgage expense and other other expenses including property taxes, insurance, and in the worst cases condominium fees.
Florida Condominiums
Some of the hardest hit properties in Florida during the real estate crisis were condominiums. These properties generally lost their value at a greater rate than other types of real property. The declining values coupled with the condo association fees made making the required payments nearly impossible for a lot of folks who owned condominiums as investment properties or as their homestead. With the accrual of condo fees and non-payment of the mortgage, these property owners faced protracted litigation from both the mortgage holder and the condo association. Bankruptcy could be the answer.
In Re: Rosa

Posted 6 weeks 6 hours ago

By: Marshall G. Reissman
A recent article in the New York Times recently about consumers facing bankruptcy with much more debt than previous debtors. If you are facing this same type of situation, please call us and schedule a free consultation. We want to help you in this time of uncertainty and doubt

Posted 1 year 7 weeks ago

We recently reported that a debtor could strip off a second mortgage in Chapter 7 due to the decision the 11th Circuit reached in McNeal v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC (In re McNeal) (11th Cir. 2012). At the time the Court ruled in the case the Court decided not to publish the opinion, which meant that lower courts in the 11th Circuit were not required to follow the decision.
However, the Court in McNeal, recently published the opinion, which now means that lower courts in the 11th Circuit are required to follow the decision. Now, debtors in Chapter 7 in the 11th Circuit can strip off wholly unsecured mortgages.
Call us today to find out if you qualify.

Posted 1 year 10 weeks ago

By: Marshall G. Reissman, Attorney at the Reissman Law Group, P.A.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that debtors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy have the ability to strip off their second mortgage on their homestead property if the first mortgage is greater than the value of the home. The ability to wipe out a second mortgage in bankruptcy was previously only available to debtors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Prior to this decision, many practitioners, myself included, would have counseled individuals who wanted to remain in their home, but wanted to strip off a second mortgage to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A United States Supreme Court decision in Dewsnup v. Timm, held that a Chapter 7 debtor could not “cram down” a partially secured debt. Cramming down a debt deals with valuing secured property to its actual value as opposed to what is owed on the collateral. This is another big reason folks file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Many courts interpreted this decision into Chapter 7 debtors not being able to strip off wholly unsecured junior lien.

Posted 2 years 26 weeks ago

By: Marshall G. Reissman Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida at The Reissman Law Group, P.A.
The test that everyone wants to talk about when they come in for a consultation is the Means Test. Folks generally want to know if they qualify to file Chapter 7 by passing the Means Test. This test is pretty simple. If you are below the state median income you qualify. Everyone breathes a big sigh of relief that they won’t be forced into a repayment plan under Chapter 13. The problem with this is the Means Test is where the analysis begins, not where it ends. The actual income and expenses of the Debtor must be taken into account in order to pass the not much discussed “Totality of  Circumstances Test.”

Posted 2 years 28 weeks ago

By: Ceara L. Riggs, Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida at The Reissman Law Group, P.A.
Search for St. Petersburg/Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyers and what comes up? Pages about modifying your home or walking away from your home. Those aren’t the only two options, but they’re the most common options.
So how about modifying? It’s easy – as easy as filling out an application to be President of the United States. Well, although there’s no application to be President of the United States, there is an application for a modification. But unlike any other application or paperwork you’ve completed, after you complete the paperwork demanded by the bank (all 40-80 pages of it), you send it to the bank for them to review. Then you send it in again. And send it in again. And send it in again. And maybe send it in one more time. Then you wait until they tell you you need more documents. Rinse. Repeat. Oh yeah, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a modification at the end, by which time you’re even further behind on your mortgage.

Posted 2 years 29 weeks ago