Casey Anthony filed bankruptcy this week.  She apparently owes over $500,000 in legal fees.  She also owes the IRS and has a couple of lawsuits involving defamation against private individuals.  The legal fees should be dischargeable in the bankruptcy.    The IRS might be dischargeable depending on the year the tax was assessed and/or whether the IRS asserted any fraud penalties against Ms. Anthony.  What will be interesting is the lawsuit.    The lawyers that represent the plaintiffs who are suing Casey Anthony have told the media that they intend
on going forward with the lawsuit and asking the bankruptcy court to declare all or part of the debt nondischargeable. 

Most debts to that are subjects of lawsuits are nondischargeable.  One of the few exceptions falls under 11 U.S.C. § 523(6) which requires that a willful and malicious injury by the debtor occur to the plaintiff.  If the plaintiffs can prove that Casey Anthony's acts were willful and malicious, the bankruptcy judge can make a finding that the debts are nondischargeable.  We'll keep you posted as we get more news.

If you need a bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Myers call the Rothrock Law Firm at (239) 206-1948.
 
 
Whether or not you can keep your tax refund if you file bankruptcy depends on the type of bankruptcy you file and the amount of your exempt assets.

For chapter 13 cases, you are required to pay your unsecured creditors the amount of your disposable income for the three to five year period that you remain in a chapter case.  In most cases, the bankruptcy trustee will require you to surrender your tax refunds for that three to five year period, as well.  If your assets are minimal, the trustee might not ask for your refunds.

For chapter 7 cases, the trustee will consider your tax refund to be property of the estate and,
therefore, will ask you to submit your refund in the year you file bankruptcy or the year following the year you file.

For example, let's say I file chapter 7 bankruptcy on October 1, 2012.  I get a $4,000 refund in
February 2013 when I file my tax return for tax year 2012.   The trustee's position is that October 1 is the 273rd day of the year in 2012.  Therefore, 273/365 of the $4,000 refund was earned in 2012 before you file bankruptcy and is property of the estate.  The trustee could then ask you to pay back $2,991.78 (273/365 X $4,000) to repay your creditors.

As a practical matter, if you file bankruptcy in May and you already spent your refund on living expenses, the trustee will probably not want to hold your case open for a year to see if you get a refund the next year.  For most cases filed at the end of the year, the trustee will ask you to submit a copy of your tax return the following year to see whether or not he or she will claim an interest in the refund.

Here are a few tips to minimize the amount of the refund you will lose:
1.  Ask your employer to withhold as little money as possible as is required by law.  Your refund will be less for that year.
2.  Claim any or all of your refund exempt in your bankruptcy schedules.  For example, if you do not own a home and are married, you are allowed to keep $8,000 of any personal property.  You can claim the $4,000 refund in the example above as exempt property.
3.  If you have unforseen circumstances such as a major home repair or medical treatment and you are in a chapter 13 case, ask your bankruptcy attorney to file a motion in the court for you to keep all or part of your tax refund.

If you are looking for a bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Myers, call the Rothrock Law Firm at 239-206-1948.
 
 
For a chapter 7 case, the operable statute is 11 U.S.C. § 727.  Section 727 says that a discharge shall not be granted if a debtor has received a discharge under § 727  in a case commenced
within 8 years before the date of the filing of the current bankruptcy case. 


For a chapter 13 case, the operable statute is 11 U.S.C. § 1328(f).  Section 1328(f) says that
if the debtor received a discharge under a case filed under chapter 7, he may not get a chapter 13 discharge unless 4 years have passed.  If a case was filed under chapter 13 and a discharge entered, the debtor is not eligible for another discharge under chapter 13 for two years.

If you are seeking a Fort Myers Bankruptcy Attorney, call the Rothrock Law Firm at (239) 206-1948.
 
 
There are a number of reasons why famous people file bankruptcy.  Often times, they file for the same reasons that other people file.  They might have made a bad investment or their income might have declined.  One reason that seems more unique to famous people than others is the ability to cancel a contract.  In bankruptcy, a debtor has the right to cancel unexpired leases or contracts.  If a famous person wanted to get out of a contract, he could file bankruptcy to do so.  Toni Braxton and Kim Bassinger were two of the celebrities who filed bankruptcy for this reason.

And like debtors who are not so famous, a lot of the famous people who have filed bankruptcy have rebounded pretty well . . . Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, and Donald Trump to name a few.

If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy, call the Rothrock Law Firm, bankruptcy attorneys in Fort Myers, at 239-206-1948.
 
 
Exactly how many people file for bankruptcy anyway? 


The Fort Myers division of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida comprises Lee County, Collier County, Hendry County, Glades County, Charlotte County, and DeSoto County.

In 2012, a total of 4,210 people filed bankruptcy in the Fort Myers division of the Middle District of Florida.  In 2011, a total of 5,538 people filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Middle District of Florida consists of the Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Myers divisions.  For all four districts, a total of 45,970 people filed for bankruptcy protection in
2012.  Of this total, 33,553 individuals and businesses filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, 11,908 filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy, 14 people filed for chapter 12 bankruptcy, and 495 filed for chapter 11
bankruptcy.

Click here if you would like to read a detailed report of bankruptcy statistics filed in the Middle District of Florida.

If you are considerin filing bankruptcy in Fort Myers, Fl, call the Rothrock Law Firm at (239)
206-1948 today for your free consultation.
 
 
Can I modify my mortgage after my Chapter 13 Plan is confirmed?  Yes.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be complicated.  The requirements of how to pay a mortgage and how to modify it differ according to what district your bankruptcy is filed.  It's important to hire a bankruptcy attorney in Fort Myers, Florida, if you live in Fort Myers and want to modify your mortgage in Fort Myers.

Often times, people file a chapter 13 bankruptcy with the intention of stopping a foreclosure.  At the same time, they would like to continue modifying the mortgage to lower the payment while they are in bankruptcy.  You can continue working with your bank to modify the mortgage while you are in a chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Once your modified amount is approved, your Fort Myers bankruptcy attorney will file a Motion to Modify Confirmed Plan to account for your new payment and will file an Amended Budget with the court to show your new expenses.  The Court will conduct a hearing and will usually approve the modification. 

If you wish to modify your confirmed chapter 13 plan and hire a Fort Myers bankruptcy lawyer, call the Rothrock Law Firm today at (239) 206-1948.
 
 
What is a 341 Meeting of Creditors and what do I need to bring to it?

Under Section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, a person filing bankruptcy is required to attend a "meeting of creditors."  The reality is that hardly anyone shows up at the meeting except the person filing bankruptcy, that person's attorney, and the bankruptcy trustee.

At the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will ask the person filing bankruptcy some short questions.  Typically, the trustee will ask whether the paperwork submitted to the court is true and accurate and whether any amendments need to be made.  The trustee might also ask
specific questions about the information contained in the paperwork, such as whether the person transfered any property before filing bankruptcy. Click on this link for a sample list of questions asked at the 341 Meeting of Creditors in Fort Myers.  Creditors are sent written notice as to when the meeting takes place.  Typically, creditors do not attend the meeting.  If they choose to attend, they are not allowed to ask questions for very long.  They might ask short questions, such as whether the debtor has insurance on the property that he or she wishes to keep and whether the debtor intends to keep certain property.  If the creditor thinks the debtor committed fraud and wants to question the debtor extensively, the creditor will need to set the matter for a deposition at a later date.  Typically, the meeting of creditors lasts approximately 5 minutes.

At the meeting of creditors, the debtor will need to bring a government issued photo ID and a
social security card.  If the debtor does not bring these items, the trustee will conduct the meeting but will require the debtor to come back at a later date with his or her ID and social security card.  If the debtor fails to provide these items, the trustee will file a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case.

If you would like to meet with a bankruptcy attorney in Fort Myers, Fl, to discuss your case, please contact the Rothrock Law Firm at (239) 206-1948 for your free initial consultation.