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Board Certified Bankruptcy Attorney

Secured, Unsecured and Tax Debts Lawyer in Florida

Debt Relief Attorney Daniel J. Herman ESQ.

At my office, I provide clients with focused and experienced bankruptcy representation. As a board-certified lawyer, I can advise on all aspects of bankruptcy, including the type of debts listed below. Contact my office today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Secured Debt

Secured creditors are those who have specific legal rights to specific collateral, such as how a home loan is a debt secured by a mortgage against the home. If the loan is not paid, the creditor can foreclose against a home, or repossess an automobile. In some circumstances, retail purchases financed by the retailer are similarly secured debts. For example, a television purchased and financed at a box store or a riding lawn mower from a home improvement store are subject to repossession if the payments are not made.

Secured debts also generally carry personal liability. For example, if a car is repossessed, the lender generally auctions off the repossessed vehicle, applies the proceeds to the outstanding loan, and has the right to sue the individual for the unpaid portion of the debt. This is true regardless of whether the repossession is voluntary or involuntary. In a bankruptcy case, the client (debtor) can decide if they want to keep the collateral (home, car) and continue making the payments. They generally also have the option of surrendering the collateral and dealing with any unsecured deficiency indebtedness as an unsecured debt.

Unsecured Debt

Unsecured debts are those for which the lender did not obtain specific legal rights against any specific collateral. Generally, credit card debt, unsecured signature loans, medical bills and unsecured deficiencies after foreclosure or repossession are unsecured debts. In bankruptcy, these are all lumped together as one group and each will receive their prorate of any money distributed by a Chapter 7 trustee (if any) and the monies distributed by a Chapter 13 trustee from the payments made by the debtor under their Chapter 13 plan.

Tax Debt

With one exception, taxes are generally not dischargeable. They survive a Chapter 7 case and remain collectible in Chapter 13. Non-dischargeable taxes must be paid in full through the Chapter 13 plan, though generally, interest and penalties do not continue to accrue after the bankruptcy case begins.

  • The exception: The federal income tax can become dischargeable, since Florida has no personal income tax. There are numerous conditions that must be met and they are quite specific. The tax debt must be at least three-years old to have any possibility of eligibility for discharge.
  • Non-dischargeable taxes are a priority claim in bankruptcy. Generally, they are subordinate only to domestic support obligations. This means that monies obtained by a bankruptcy trustee in Chapter 7 or 13 will usually go to domestic-support obligations, then to taxes. Distribution to general unsecured creditors occurs only if there are funds remaining.
  • In some cases where the IRS has filed a tax lien, the IRS can also be a secured creditor. The IRS considers their lien to attach to all property like an additional mortgage on a home or an additional lien on a car. It is also their position that they have a lien against all personal property, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, furniture, appliances, etc.

For additional information on how I can assist you in understanding and dealing with secured and unsecured debts, credit card debt and tax debt, contact my office today.

Daniel J. Herman ESQ.
200 Clearwater-Largo Road South
Largo, FL 33770-1330
Phone: 727-584-8161
Fax: 727-586-5813

Daniel J. Herman ESQ, in Largo, Florida, represents clients in Tampa Bay and throughout Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and Pinellas County, including the cities of Belleair, Brooksville, Clearwater, Dade City, Dunedin, New Port Richey, Largo, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, Port Richey, St. Petersburg, Seminole, Tampa, and Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Bankruptcy Disclaimer: The services or benefits provided are with respect to bankruptcy relief under Title 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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200 Clearwater-Largo
Road South
Largo, FL 33770-1330
Phone: 727-584-8161
Fax: 727-586-5813
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