Hi. My name is Rick Ellis. I have been practicing law since 1979 here in Sarasota. Privileged now to be able to practice with my son Brian who’s a Florida State law graduate. I would estimate I’ve had approximately 5000 cases plus at this point. Chapter 7’s and chapter 13’s are what I focus on. Chapter 7, people refer to it as straight bankruptcy. Essentially it’s a situation where if you have unsecured debt, credit cards, medical bills, defaults on cars, things of that nature, you’re able to discharge the debt without making monthly payments.

What you’re able to protect in Florida, Florida has an exemption scheme that allows you to protect your homestead, annuities, pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s, cash surrender value of life insurance. Your personal property exemption is bumped up from 1000 to essentially 5000 with automobile exemption. You can protect those things. If you fit within those exemptions, you can do a Chapter 7, essentially make no payments and retain your property.

If you’re over the exemptions, if you have an – as an example, you have a Mercedes that takes you – it’s worth $10,000 over the Florida exemptions. Then you would probably look at doing a Chapter 13 in order to make the math simple. As an example if you had $100,000 in unsecured debt, credit cards, medical bills, et cetera, you would – you might be able in that circumstance to have a payment plan over 36 to 60 months. It pays a small percentage of that debt back without interest typically and you’re able to discharge the entire debt amount by making that payment.

Again my name is Richard Ellis. We’re located at 2187 Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota. We’re down the street from the Sarasota Courthouse. I also have an office on Manatee Avenue in Bradenton. It’s 1909 Manatee Avenue. Please give us a call at 941-351-9111. Our website is also www.SarasotaBankruptcy.com. We would be glad to help if we can.