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Stephen P. Orchard
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Stephen Orchard’s Answers

91 total


  • Buy property with no prior title insurance ?

    A multi-owner LLC-owned apartment in Miami which I want to purchase lost its title insurance policy when its deed was signed off from its individual owner to her and her son's LLC. Should I buy it, or is this a red flag for trouble?

    Stephen’s Answer

    The key question is whether title is currently insurable through a title agent and underwriter that you select. It likely will not impact the ability to insure so long as all deeds in the chain of title are legally sufficient. Should you choose to contract to purchase this property be sure to include proper contingencies in your contract to allow you to cancel the contract in the event seller cannot convey marketable and insurable title.

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  • My question concerns recognition/validity of loans to a family member who may soon file Chapter 7 or 13 personal bankruptcy.

    A relative of mine may soon file personal bankruptcy. Over the past few years I have loaned this relative substantial amounts of money, but have never documented it in a promissory note or other similar document. The funds were always intended a...

    Stephen’s Answer

    Since you are a creditor you are initially steered by the manner in which your relative discloses your loans. Your relative has a duty to truthfully and accurately reflect all debts in the bankruptcy filing and, therefore, your debt should be included in the bankruptcy schedules and you should receive notice of the case filing. Once you receive the notice of case filing you may choose to consult with a bankruptcy attorney on the appropriate steps to preserve your rights as a creditor.

    The reality of most individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases is that claims such as yours (which you properly lumped together with credit cards) receive no distribution from the case. Furthermore, you should be aware that if your relative files Chapter 7 and receives a discharge, you will be barred from collection upon the loans you made.

    Best of luck

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  • I am filing chapter 7. My Ex still has a lot of her stuff, including furniture, do I have to report her stuff?

    She was a significant other so I will be filing as a single male. I know if it isn't mine, it isn't part of my bankruptcy but I was worried since it is in my house and in my possession, that I might have to list it on a form but just state it belo...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You may notice a question on the statement of financial affairs regarding property held for another person. That would be the appropriate place to disclose that your ex's property is in your possession. It would be beneficial for you to retain an attorney to prepare your filing and you should fully discuss the type of property that is in your possession to properly address any questions your trustee may have.

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  • Can i reinstate a chapter 13 bankruptcy in the district of southern florida pro se?

    I missed a payment before the 341 creditormetting and the trustee dismissed my case this morning, Can I make it current and proceed as normal? I filed to stop a foreclosure will it affect that as well?

    Stephen’s Answer

    You must request that the court reinstate your case. Your question asks if you can file pro se, were you represented by an attorney in your case? If so you should discuss this matter with your current attorney. Yes, the dismissal will affect the foreclosure case too because the automatic stay benefits of bankruptcy are no longer in effect for you. I strongly suggest that you discuss this matter with your attorney or, if you are no longer represented by an attorney, discuss this matter with another attorney of your choice. Best of luck.

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  • I am thinking of filing chapter 7. I receive and annuity payment from my dad passing away. Would I lose that?

    I receive annuity payment from inheritance from my dad passing away

    Stephen’s Answer

    Annuities hold a clear and strong exemption under Florida law, so generally speaking that asset should be exempt and you would not lose the annuity through a Chapter 7. Be sure to have all documents pertaining to this annuity available for review and discussion with your bankruptcy attorney to confirm.

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  • Is it better to file for bankruptcy, either chapter 13 or 7, if you have outstanding debts you can't pay?

    Or is there another way? I have a mortgage that I am now 3 months behind, I have 3 credit cards that I cannot pay. I don't want to avoid paying, I am just in a bind right now because of being unemployed. I know I will have a job in July and it ...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You should personally consult with a bankruptcy attorney regarding your situation. This may be an optimal time for you to file bankruptcy while you have no income. That way you can begin your new employment with a fresh, clean slate. I recommend speaking with a bankruptcy attorney not only because of your current situation, but also because you will need to handle your mortgage assuming you wish to stay in your home. There is a new program available in the Southern District of Florida that could greatly assist in the eventual modification of your mortgage.

    On the other hand, if you just wish to wait out the storm until you are again employed, your creditors won't likely take any meaningful action before July so you may not need relief. You will be facing an uphill battle with late fees, penalties and adverse credit reporting along the way. Best of luck.

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  • We are married and need to file for bankruptcy, but my husband has a car that is under his name and his brother's name.

    Can they take the car if it's purchased under my husband and his brother if we file for bankruptcy? We both have a lot of old debt from medical bills and other expenses from our previous marriages that though court ordered to be paid by our exes a...

    Stephen’s Answer

    Cars in bankruptcy are always a hot issue. Based on the facts that you presented there's a strong likelihood you will be able to keep the cars, but you need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to make a proper determination. Your specific circumstances such as the amount/value of other personal property that you own, and whether you own or rent your home, will determine your ability to protect the vehicle in a bankruptcy proceeding.

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  • What should I do to protect my bank bals and activity ? bankruptcy??

    My LLC has @ $20,000 bnk accts My pers chkg acct. is funded by a $1600 soc sec auto dep/mo. ? (only income) My Assets = joint Home mkt val $550K (was in forclosure.. now re-finan'd. Mortg $100K (1st) + $300k(2nd) My CC Debt $50K w/one (CitiBk...

    Stephen’s Answer

    Bankruptcy may be a viable option for you. I agree that you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss these issues. Consult as soon as possible because although assets may not be exempt now you may be able to effectively plan your case to maximize those assets prior to case filing.

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  • A debt is over 4 yrs old and I am being summoned to Court. I was served 1 yr ago, the Court intended to dismiss .

    A new date has been set, the debt is from a Debt Collector. I am Married and earn more than my Spouse, part of my Income is from Employment and part is my retirement Social Security income. I have no property in my name or any substantial savings,...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You raised valid issues and potential defenses to the case. You also identified potential roadblocks for a creditor to collect any judgment it may obtain. Those are both god things bit for clarity you should consult with an attorney to discuss in detail.

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  • Can a mortgage company not pay your home owners insurance if you are paying your payments but you are behind 2 months?

    My loan moved from one company to another and the first holder has not sent the payment to the new company. I have been making my payments monthly to the new company but they still show that I am behind. Redeived a letter today saying my insurance...

    Stephen’s Answer

    You should consult with a real estate attorney to discuss this matter. Lenders must follow strict requirements when buying and selling mortgage loan accounts. However, I have more questions than answers after reading your question. Does your mortgage payment typically include escrow amounts for your insurance? Are you actually current on your loan ("first holder has not sent payment to the new company") or are you "behind 2 months"? Assemble all of your mortgage loan documents along with all written correspondence received and notations of your telephone conversations with your lender so that a real estate attorney may properly advise you.

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