Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Staying Debt Free After Bankruptcy

Your bankruptcy filing went through without a hitch and all your debts have been discharged. You may now rest easy knowing that the creditors can no longer harass you for payment. But what we see in the statistics is that many people who have filed bankruptcy will find themselves filing for bankruptcy once again in their lifetime. Staying out of debt doesn't have to be hard work. Simply adopting new money guidelines can lead to lasting change in our money lives. Here are some easy steps that we can all take in order to avoid sinking into the debt cycle once again.

1. Educate Yourself

It is important to have tight control over our monthly expenditures. If you don't know what you are spending on any given month then grab a small notebook or your smartphone and write down every single dollar that leaves your hands and what it was used for.  This simple exercise is often alarming because few people actually realize what they are spending on things like entertainment, coffee, gym memberships, clothing etc. 

2. Budget, Budget....... Budget!

Once you know where your money is actually going, you can begin to decide for yourself where you really want it to go.  A good resource for budget allocation can be found here. 

3. Prepare for the Unexpected

It is the unexpected life event that usually leads to catastrophic debt. Pay special attention to the portion of your budget that goes towards emergency savings. These savings will be key to sustaining your family in the event of an emergency. It requires sacrifice to deny ourselves tickets to the baseball game or a dinner out with our deserving spouse, but these sacrifices will translate into peace of mind when the next inevitable emergency comes our way.   

If you find yourself with an insurmountable amount of debt, then it might be time to consider bankruptcy. Call  Sagre Law Firm at (305) 266-5999 for your free consultation and take the first step towards financial freedom.

We are a debt relief agency.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vehicles and Bankruptcy

If you are seeking to file bankruptcy and are wondering what will happen to your vehicle during the process then below please find a brief review of some of the possibilities. These are some of the most common outcomes; however it is important to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney analyze your case in order to explain exactly what can be done in your particular situation.

At the Miami Bankruptcy offices of Attorney Ariel Sagre, we provide free bankruptcy consultations. Simply call (305) 266-5999 to schedule your appointment with the attorney.

If you are behind on your payments:

If you have fallen behind on your payments and the vehicle has not yet been repossessed, filing an emergency chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to stop the repossession and through the chapter 13 plan you will be able to begin making payments again and catch up on the arrearages over a 3 to 5 year period.

If your vehicle has already been repossessed, a bankruptcy filing will allow you to discharge the debt associated with the repossession of the vehicle.

If you are on time with your payments:

If you are on time with your payments and seek to continue to make your payments and keep the vehicle then you may re-affirm the debt through your bankruptcy petition.

If you are on time but do not wish to keep the car, you may surrender the vehicle through the bankruptcy without any consequence.

If your vehicle is paid in full:

If you own your car outright in Florida then your attorney will apply the vehicle exemption of $1,000 and any excess exemption that was not used to protect personal property will be applied as well. Any value above that will become part of the estate that the trustee will administer. Your attorney will assist you in valuing the car as carefully as possible in order to accurately depict to the trustee the true value of the vehicle. Your attorney will then try to negotiate and settle the over exemption.   

If your vehicle loan is upside down:

If you are doing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and you owe more on the vehicle than it is worth, the attorney can cram down the value so that you only pay back what the vehicle is actually worth.

Please note* Our office has observed over the last year that vehicle repossessions are at an all-time high. Most lenders have the ability to repossess after only one missed payment. If you have fallen behind on your payments but wish to keep your vehicle, DON’T WAIT. Once the vehicle is taken, there is very little that can be done to recover it.

Attorney, Ariel Sagre is available for consultations by calling (305) 266-5999.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Are your Wages being Garnished?

A sudden Wage Garnishment is crippling to the stability of your financial health. We receive countless calls from people who have been blindsided by a sudden wage garnishment. If you are being sued by one of your creditors, it is imperative you address it right away in order to avoid an entry of judgement and a resulting wage garnishment. 

Many do not realize that a bankruptcy filing will immediately cease a wage garnishment. As of the date of filing, your employer most stop the garnishing of wages. At Sagre Law Firm, we will help you file for an emergency bankruptcy and notify your employer and creditor of the filing in order to immediately stop the garnishment. 

Call (305) 266-5999 for your free consultation with Attorney Ariel Sagre. We offer low fixed rates.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Foreclosure Resource

Many South Florida homeowners are facing the prospect of an impending foreclosure or are in the midst of one. Going online to research your options can become an overwhelming task, as website after website is filled with information that is not necessarily reliable.

If you have been served with a foreclosure you should immediately seek the counsel of a qualified foreclosure defense and bankruptcy attorney that can guide you through the litigation process. Failure to do so will waive many rights that you have to defend yourself.

I want to highlight an excellent website that can explain all of the options that are available to the homeowner that is in foreclosure or is expecting that one might be filed soon.  KnowYourOptions.com was created by Fannie Mae and clearly and simply explains all of the different options that a homeowner has. A highlight is the simulation video that allows one to experience first-hand what steps a homeowner can take in order to work things out in their favor.

As always, seek the counsel of a qualified foreclosure defense and bankruptcy attorney because no matter what you might be working out with your bank, those communications do not guarantee that they are not actively moving forward with your foreclosure and working towards selling your property. We have seen many instances in which homeowners have been blindsided by the sale of their property because they were in contact with the bank and thought they were in a program to work out their loan.

If the bank has made you an offer that requires you to sign a new agreement, have a qualified attorney review it in order to ensure that all the terms are as you understand them to be. 

I hope you find this website informative. 

You may call Sagre Law Firm at (305) 266-5999 for your free foreclosure and bankruptcy consultation. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Going to Court

Everyone who files for Bankruptcy in Miami-Dade,  Broward or Monroe County with an Attorney will have to go to court at least one time for what is called the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Your Bankruptcy Attorney will be present at this meeting and will guide you through the process. This meeting is typically scheduled 30 days after the case is filed. Each person will be sworn under oath and a trustee (not a judge) will preside over the meeting. The trustee will ask basic questions about the bankruptcy petition. Some common questions are listed below:

Did you read all your schedules?
Did you sign everything?
Are these all your answers true and correct to the best of your ability?
Are these all your assets?
Are these all your debts?
Did you consult with your attorney?
Why did you file for Bankruptcy?
Do you owe child support?
Do you need to make any changes to the documents at this time?

Then the trustee will discuss any issues he has seen in your particular case, such as over exemption.

Depending upon the trustee who is randomly appointed to your case in Miami-Dade or Broward County, you will need to fill out certain paperwork regarding matters such as child support.

At the conclusion of your meeting, the attorney will be available to answer any questions you might have and will explain if any further documents will be required of you.

In most cases, a final discharge of all dischargeable debts will be issued approximately 60 days after this court date. 

At Sagre Law Firm we help individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy protection. Call (305) 266-5999 for your free bankruptcy evaluation. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Establishing Your Credit After Bankruptcy

When considering bankruptcy because of serious financial hardships, the number one question that I hear as a bankruptcy attorney in Miami is, "What will happen to my credit?" And the truth is that your credit will be affected by a bankruptcy filing, be it chapter 7 or chapter 13. However, most people filing for bankruptcy have spent many months paying their bills late or not at all and therefore already have a low credit score to begin with. Once the bankruptcy has been discharged, the slate has been wiped clean and now you can begin to rebuild your credit with a fresh start.

Rebuilding credit happens slowly over-time and is an accumulation of one good action after another. Below are some basic steps to get you started in the right direction:

#1  Recognize the Problem that led to the Bankruptcy:

If you've come to the bankruptcy law offices of Ariel Sagre, you've probably been through a difficult life event such as divorce, job loss or sudden medical illness. Carefully considering and understanding what led to your bankruptcy filing is half the battle in assuring that you won't find yourself in the same situation again. Developing a budget and living below your means will allow you to save money that you can reserve the next time a rainy day comes your way.

#2  Obtain a Secured Credit Card

There are credit card companies that will take a small deposit and extend you a small amount of credit so that you can begin establishing a credit history once again. The key here is charging very little every month and paying off the credit card in full at the end of each month.

#3  Pay all your bills on time

Timely bill pay weighs heavily on your credit score. Every bill must be paid on time, including the electric and water bill. All of your creditors have the ability to report late payments to your credit report.

#4  Stick to your credit cards for a long time.

Part of your credit score is dependent on how reliable you are over a long period of time. Sticking with the same credit cards, home and employer over many years helps to demonstrate that you are steady and lenders are more likely to extend you credit in the future.

#5 Don’t get Scammed!

There are many people out there trying to take advantage of people in desperate situations. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Watch out for people who offer to fix your credit overnight or people willing to lend but at astronomical interest rates. Always do your homework and read all fine print before signing up for any new loans or lines of credit.

#6 Protect Your Identity

I can't tell you how many people come to our law firm to file bankruptcy because their identity has been stolen and they cannot fix the situation. Take precautions. These are just some of the ways you can help to protect your identity: Shred your mail, pay with cash as often as possible, shop online through secure sites, never give your social security number out over the phone etc. 

Following these basic steps will put you on the right path towards establishing excellent credit so that you can once again take out a car or mortgage loan. 

Remember Sagre Law Firm is here to help you at every step of the way. If you have any questions about Bankruptcy and what it entails please call us at (305) 266-5999. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Morning, dusting off the old blog in order to bring you the most relevant information regarding Bankruptcy and Foreclosure in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe county.

Did you know many people decide to file bankruptcy in late January? Here is an article from HispanicBusiness.com that explains the late January Bankruptcy phenomena that we typically see.

Bankruptcy: End of January a Popular Time to File
Jan. 17, 2012
Lauren Boyer

At the end of January, Springettsbury Township, Pa., bankruptcy attorney Timothy Baker sees an influx of clients hoping to clean financial house.

By this time, the tree is down. The holiday splurge is over.

"All of a sudden, there's this shift. Like, 'Oh my god. I have all these bills to pay,'" Baker said.

Somehow, those bills, wind up on his desk -- a last resort for new year's resolutions with no place else to go.

When all else fails, bankruptcy, a legal elimination of debt, can provide peace of mind.

But those who owe, he said, often go through years of contemplation before taking the plunge into bankruptcy court.

"People tell me they wish they had done it sooner," Baker said. "They're afraid somebody is going to yell at them or be judgemental."

And they often fear the worst.

"People think, 'Maybe I'll go to jail,'" Baker said. "I have to remind them that they did away with debtors prison in the 19th century."

Q: What is bankruptcy?

A: You're getting an order from the bankruptcy court effectively eliminating allowable debts.

Q: What kind of debts can I eliminate through filing bankruptcy?

A: Any unsecured debts, which are not backed by assets. This includes things like credit card debt and medical bills.

Q: What kinds of debts won't be eliminated through bankruptcy?

A: Student loans, child support or alimony, most taxes, court fines.

Q: Who typically files for bankruptcy?

A: It's mostly middle class people. All it takes, if you're living paycheck to paycheck, is one stroke of bad luck. Life happens.

Q: How does filing for bankruptcy affect my credit score?

A: It can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Most people bounce back fairly quickly in terms of credit.

Q: If I file for bankruptcy, is someone going to take back my car or my house?

A: In 98 percent of cases, you don't give up anything. No one is going to take your car, your house, your bank account or retirement. But if you want to keep your house and your car, you need to continue making payments. Bankruptcy relieves additional debt, so you can focus on those priority items.

Q: Who can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

A: Generally, people who makes below the median income. In York County, for a household of four, that's in the high $70,000s per year.

Q: What if I make above the median income? Can I still file for bankruptcy?

A: Generally, yes. Under Chapter 13, which requires a partial repayment plan of debts over a period of three to five years.

Q: So, I'm going to eliminate my debt. Does that mean I can go crazy on my credit cards beforehand?

A: Terrible idea. You really ought to pay for what you buy. Bankruptcy is for honest people who want an honest fresh start. This is not for people who want to go on shopping sprees.

Q: How often can I file for bankruptcy?

A: Use sparingly. If there's another way out, I don't encourage people to file.

Q: What's the age range for people who file bankruptcy?

A: From college aged to late 90s. A growing segment is the elderly.

Q: How do I avoid bankruptcy?

A: Have good luck. All it takes is one illness, one job loss, or one family member with a health problem. And try to manage prudently as best you can. Try to be aware of what you're spending and what your priorities are.


1.5 million households filed for bankruptcy last year.

25 percent of residential properties nationwide are "underwater," meaning more is owed on the property than it is worth.

20 percent of U.S. families reported problems paying medical bills in 2010. Baker Law Firm has seen credit card statements that would take 2,669 years of minimum payments to pay the balance in full.

SOURCE: Timothy Baker, Springettsbury Township bankruptcy attorney


-This is going to ruin my credit forever.
-I'm going to be publicly humiliated.
-This is a personal failure. It's morally wrong.
-I'm going to go to jail.

Source: (c) 2012 York Daily Record (York, Pa.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Welcome to the new South Florida Bankruptcy Information Law Blog. I'm Ariel Sagre, Owner and President of Sagre Law Firm and a Miami Bankruptcy Lawyer. This blog will explore issues that consumers face when filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe County.

This blog also seeks to connect the consumer with valuable resources that will aid them before, during and after filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in South Florida.

Stay tuned for tons of beneficial bankruptcy information.

Have a Blessed Day,
Ariel Sagre