At Markarian & Hayes, we work to solve problems for large, medium sized and smaller established businesses, but also gain great joy from helping businesswomen and businessmen start new ventures. We not only help today’s business leaders solve problems and gain traction in today’s challenging business and regulatory environment, we also look after… Read More »
Marijuana in Florida Whether you call it marijuana, cannabis, pot, or weed, the introduction of medical marijuana in the State of Florida and the potential legalization of recreational cannabis will create a new industry worth billions of dollars. The attorneys at Markarian & Hayes are uniquely positioned to assist those eager to enter the… Read More »
Federal income tax discharge. In certain circumstances, individual income taxes may be discharged in bankruptcy. It is important to understand the crossover effect between Bankruptcy Code section 507(a)(7)(A)(i) and Bankruptcy Code section 523(a)(1)(a). By reading these sections together, one can discern that income taxes arising from a tax year for which the tax return was… Read More »
As lawyers representing companies experiencing financial distress, our first mission is diagnosis. Like a physician we have to first understand the nature of the disease before we can determine the best medicine to administer. There are instances where Chapter 11 is not the appropriate tool. The company that cannot be restructured under Chapter 11… Read More »
In the course of my 35 years of bankruptcy practice, I find that there are certain questions or issues that seem to be common concerns of those considering a bankruptcy filing. I also find that prospective clients arrive with preconceived notions about the answers to these questions, or have received bad information from unreliable… Read More »
What good is an expensive asset protection plan if its creator does not have the resources or experience to defend it? The essential attribute of any plan is its ability to stand up to court scrutiny. Very few asset protection planners also have a skilled in-house litigation capacity; if your plan is attacked, they… Read More »
The answer to that question could fill volumes but most recently it has encountered a new twist. That twist is embodied in the following fact scenario: You file bankruptcy and list a particular asset, your home, for example, as exempt. Your trustee and creditors have a limited window to object to that exemption. The… Read More »
We often hear from a client that they want us to form an LLC for them, because they read somewhere…usually on the internet…that it is the “ perfect asset protection tool”. As you will see, this is another example of how important it is to be believe nothing you hear and half of what… Read More »
Farming/Agriculture/PACA and Licensing Our area is one of the United States’ most productive farming and agricultural areas. If you sell produce and don’t understand PACA, you could be placing your company at risk. PACA (Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act) is the federal law which regulates interstate and international trade in fresh and frozen produce. If you… Read More »
By Dave Markarian A new trend is emerging in the ongoing skirmishes between home mortgage lenders and homeowners involved in lengthy mortgage foreclosure proceedings, in which homeowners defending foreclosure actions have previously sought and received Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. In an increasing number of cases, lenders are seeking to re-open homeowners’ closed bankruptcy cases… Read More »
There are many financial planners who will charge you the big fees to create an asset protection plan. But The most important question to ask is whether they have the resolve and experience to back it up. What if it’s challenged by your creditors? Will your lawyer go to court for you? Similarly to… Read More »
We would like to deconstruct one of the misconceptions in filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy under the “The Means Test”. The “Means Test” was designed to limit the use of Chapter 7 bankruptcy to only those who truly can’t afford to pay their debts. The bankruptcy “Means Test” determines whether an individual’s income is low enough… Read More »
One of the least known attributes of bankruptcy is the benefits it can afford to the distressed farming or fishing operation. There is a form of bankruptcy – Chapter 12 – that is designed exclusively for that purpose. It happens to be one of the most flexible and feature-abundant forms of reorganizing bankruptcy. Unlike… Read More »
By Julianne Frank & David Markarian Chapter 11 is a powerful medium. Using it, the debtor can often reduce loan balances on secured (collateralized) debt to the distress value of the collateral, pay very small amounts of unsecured debts (general payables) over very long periods of time, completely eliminate debt owed to certain creditors,… Read More »
Julianne Frank and David Markarian Featured in Attorney At Law Magazine: “Developments in Asset Protection Planning: So You Thought You Were Safe After Four Years?
By Julianne Frank & Dave Markarian Most of us in the asset protection planning arena have assumed that Florida’s four year “clawback” provision gave us comfort to advise clients that in most cases, transfers, even if done with the intent to avoid creditors, were insulated from attack if four years has elapsed. Oops. The… Read More »
Matt Morgan – Palm Beach Post October 28, 2015 | Filed in: Wellington, westpbc. The “No” shirts and anti-RaceTrac signs will be back in full force Thursday night as at least 150 Royal Palm Beach residents are expected at a special council meeting to determine the fate of the gas station proposal. The decision… Read More »
I am representing a group opposed to the development of a commercial tract of land in the Village of Royal Palm Beach. The Royal Palm Beach Planning Board unanimously approved the construction of a nearly 6,000 square-foot Racetrac gas station at the corner of Southern and Royal Palm Beach. The gas station proposal meets all village… Read More »
Most of us in the asset protection planning arena have assumed that Florida’s four year “clawback” provision gave us comfort to advise clients that in most cases, transfers, even if done with the intent to avoid creditors, were insulated from attack if four years has elapsed. Oops. The 1st District Court of Appeals in… Read More »
You own a small business and it is struggling. Can you save it and your investment? There are several versions of restructuring and reorganization under both Federal and state laws, and with careful planning you can: stop collection activity (including foreclosures and other lawsuits), force lenders to reduce principal and alter terms of loans,… Read More »
The Bankruptcy Rules Advisory Committee has recommended that certain amendments to the rules surrounding the procedures for filing proofs of claim and that they take effect on December 1, 2015. Currently, Bankruptcy Rule 3002(c) states that in a Chapter 7 liquidation, a Chapter 12 family farmer’s debt adjustment, or a Chapter 13 individual debt… Read More »
From credit-card debt to mortgage refinance, the problems faced by small-business owners are similar to those of many South Florida consumers — but bigger. Many small-business owners have developed bad habits, said lawyer Julianne Frank, who specializes in business distress. She has to do “tough love” with clients who pay employees’ wages through cash… Read More »
This site is dedicated to the business owner who finds him or herself facing seemingly insurmountable financial challenges. Whether your problem is real estate investments facing foreclosure, a retail or service operation with unmanageable debt, a construction company facing judgements and lawsuits, an internet company facing declining sales, or any other business confronting distress,… Read More »
JULIANNE FRANK, J.D., is Founder and Counsel Emeritus at Markarian & Hayes in South Florida. Ms. Frank has been practicing exclusively in the areas of bankruptcy law and financial distress planning for more than 30 years. She is nationally certified by the American Board of Certification in both consumer and business bankruptcy. The interrelationship… Read More »
This outline attempts to set forth a step by step procedural road map toward a successful chapter 7 filing. Below, we attempt to give you some understanding of the essential steps we take in determining if a Chapter 7 is right for you. We have outlined these steps as follows: We determine if bankruptcy is… Read More »
Many people form corporations or LLC’s to insulate themselves from personal exposure if things go wrong inside the business. If the entity has not observed and complied with all of the ongoing formalities required under law for that type of entity, that is the ammunition that creditors can use to break through the protective… Read More »
The basic types of business ownership are partnerships, corporations or LLC’s, or sole proprietorships. If you are starting a business with little liability exposure and no clear revenues, it may make sense to start as a sole proprietorship. You can still register and use a “trade name” (also known as a “fictitious name”). Once… Read More »
CHAPTER 7 There are so many lawyers to choose from when deciding to file bankruptcy, how does one find the right lawyer? We think there are a number of questions you should ask before you decide, and we have set them out.
If you are starting a business, or hoping to assure the success of your business, would you not be comforted by having legal counsel who has specialized in detecting and resolving problems for the business in financial distress? Who would be better suited to understanding what it would take to avoid financial problems for… Read More »
I retrieved my lunch from the pickup area and wound my way through the busy Café lunchtime crowd, finally locating a stray vacancy at the window counter. As I spread out my fare, I noted on the counter all manner of brochures and cardholders left by patrons, touting all manner of business ventures. I counted among them no less… Read More »
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, how do you go about finding the right lawyer to help you? Let’s assume you were looking for a cosmetic surgeon. Did you know that any surgeon can hold himself out to be a “cosmetic surgeon”? Would you hire one who did not specialize in the practice? Of… Read More »
Yes. A Trustee is appointed in Chapter 12 to oversee distributions to creditors and to monitor the progress of the case, but control of the daily operations remains in the hands of the debtor/owner. The Trustee’s role is limited to financial oversight and compliance with the bankruptcy rules. Chapter 12 Debtors retain their autonomy… Read More »
See FAQ for Chapter 12 bankruptcy above
Yes you can file for bankruptcy, but you cannot discharge your obligations to produce growers through the bankruptcy. If you do not pay them in full, you will lose your PACA license.
A person in bankruptcy can sell property. However, the buyer must proceed with caution as the transaction must be authorized by the Bankruptcy Court Whenever you want to purchase property from an individual or company that is in a pending bankruptcy case, consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
I am a tenant to a five year commercial lease agreement with right of first refusal on option to purchase. My landlord wants to sell the property to a third party without providing me with the right of first refusal. Can I sue my landlord?
Parties to a contract must comply with the terms of the agreement. Whenever a party to a contract refuses to comply with the terms they have breached the agreement and there are remedies available to the non-breaching party.
I am a tenant to a five year commercial lease, can I vacate the property prior to the expiration of the lease term?
A tenant who vacates premises prior to the expiration of the lease term may be subject to a lawsuit and deficiency judgment for the remaining lease term. In order to determine the consequences of an early lease termination an experienced attorney must be consulted to review the terms of the agreement. Notwithstanding the lease… Read More »
Lenders determine on a case by case basis whether to waive any deficiency after a foreclosure. The benefit to a borrower to having a waiver of deficiency from the lender is the borrower is no longer obligated on the balance remaining on the debt after a foreclosure sale.
What is cash for keys and am I entitled to receive cash for keys in a foreclosure matter if I consent to a final judgment?
A lender will on a case by case basis give a borrower/homeowner whose property is being foreclosed on cash for the homeowner to consent to a foreclosure judgment and to vacate the property without destroying the property. This allows the lender to submit a consent final judgment to the court without the need to… Read More »
There are several methods that can be employed to avoid, or minimize probate. For example, changing the title to real estate to provide for “remainder interests” allows the property to change hands outside of probate. Placing property in trust can also serve this purpose.
Trust complexity, and therefore cost, varies from case to case based on the goals of the settlor (creator) of the trust. Simple trusts can often be done for as little as $1500
Absolutely not. It can be set up to give your trustee the discretion to understand and take care of your needs as they arise and as they change from time to time, as well as to make distributions to you under any reasonable formula or under any criteria you establish. You cannot, however, draft… Read More »
Revocable trusts can serve as good estate planning devices, but are useless as a creditor avoidance (asset protection) device. Irrevocable trusts can serve both purposes.
Your will can only devise assets on death and cannot be used to control the disposition of your assets farther down the road. If you wish your assets to go to heirs over time, or under certain conditions, you need a trust to go along with your will.
There are several tried and true mechanisms for placing assets and to safe havens within the United States. Often this involves choosing states that provide for confidentiality, and whose laws are weighted in favor of debtors rather than creditors. Any good asset protection lawyer will understand those various options. The more important question involved… Read More »
Offshore asset protection can be done safely if it is done with the assistance of competent legal counsel. One should avoid nonlawyer “asset protection” companies or firms, particularly when there is lack of complete clarity as to who are the individuals “behind the curtain”. A lawyer is bound to rules of ethics and standards… Read More »
Offshore asset protection planning involves the strategic use of international jurisdictions to relocate assets, but to do so in a manner that allows the individual the continued use and benefit of those assets while keeping them out of reach of American courts collection jurisdiction. It is typically only useful with respect to liquid assets… Read More »
Every state has laws that allow for the individual to place certain assets out of the reach of creditors. At the same time, each state has certain laws that limit the circumstances and the timing under which you can place those assets out of reach. The art of asset protection planning and structuring involves… Read More »
Basically, you are hiring us to become your intermediary with your creditors. Our goal is take over the role of interacting with your creditor body, and using our knowledge of laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Florida Consumer Credit Collection Practices Act to protect you from creditors, and to gain a… Read More »
There are often alternatives to filing bankruptcy. At Markarian & Hayes, we do not refer to ourselves as “bankruptcy lawyers”. We actually practice Financial Distress Counseling. This means we are looking for a solution to your financial problems, and these solutions do not necessarily involve bankruptcy. Debt Management is just what it sounds like:… Read More »
You must retain counsel who either fully understands bankruptcy law, or, at minimum, a malpractice lawyer and a skilled bankruptcy lawyer who can serve as an expert witness. Be prepared to quantify in terms of dollars how the misdeeds of your original lawyer have damaged you economically…”but for this negligence, I would have eliminated… Read More »
You should always begin by getting a second opinion from counsel with proper credentials. In the case of bankruptcy, you should consider counsel who is board certified by the American Bankruptcy Institute ( go to www.abiworld.org to find a list of lawyers near you). If you are convinced your case was mismanaged, you should… Read More »
If you are the defendant in a lawsuit, that lawsuit will automatically be stayed (stopped) by the bankruptcy filing. If the plaintiff wishes to continue prosecuting the lawsuit, the plaintiff will either have to ask the court for relief from the automatic stay or try to bring the lawsuit into the bankruptcy court to… Read More »
An adversary proceeding is a lawsuit that relates to a bankruptcy case, but it is not part of the main bankruptcy proceeding. They usually involve some combination of the Debtor, the Trustee, and/or creditors of the Debtor’s estate. Examples of adversary proceedings include: objections to the Debtor’s discharge; disputes over the amount, validity, and… Read More »
We have represented hundreds of creditors, both institutions and individuals, who are seeking to collect debts or break through the obstacle of a bankruptcy. Creditor representation can also take the form of defense when you are being pursued by a bankruptcy trustee or other party seeking to recover a preference or transfer from you. Because… Read More »
Taxes, penalties and interest can often be reduced in the context of bankruptcy proceedings.
Chapter 13 provides a mechanism that allows you to force a lender to sit down with you and negotiate a modification of your home loan. However, there is no requirement that the lender approve the modification. This settlement process facilitates loan modifications by ending the confusion and complications many borrowers experience when trying to… Read More »
The most common reason for filing for relief under chapter 11 rather than chapter 13 is due to the debt limits. People who owe over $383,175 in unsecured debt or $1,149,525 in secured debt cannot file for chapter 13. However, there are other important reasons for opting to file for chapter 11. Chapter 11… Read More »
Not everyone will qualify for Chapter 13. To file for relief under this Chapter, you must meet the following requirements: Individuals only (no businesses); With regular income – can be from wages, alimony, social security, pension, rents, public benefits, disability, unemployment, etc.; With secured debts (mortgages, car loans, etc.) that do not exceed $1,149,525, and unsecured debts… Read More »
The amount of debt you must repay in Chapter 13 depends on the type of debt, the value of your assets, and your income. Many factors come into play when determining the overall plan payment, but here are some guidelines: Bankruptcy Costs: You must pay 100% of legal fees, court filing fees, and a 10% fee… Read More »
As mentioned above, the biggest benefit is that you can keep your assets. Additionally, chapter 13 allows debtors to discharge certain debts that cannot be discharged in chapter 7, such as equitable distributions (divorce settlements). Some people are not eligible for chapter 7 because their income is too high, which leaves chapter 13 as the only option.
Chapter 13 is a form of reorganization where debtors repay a portion of their debts over a three to five year period. The key distinction from chapter 7 is that, in exchange for repaying a portion of your debts, you get to keep your assets. A Trustee is appointed to oversee the payment plan and to ensure… Read More »
Yes. Married couples can file jointly through a single petition. Similarly, a partnership may file a single petition as a corporation, subject to the qualifications set forth above.
The term “farming operation” includes the following: farming, tillage of the soil, dairy farming, ranching, production or raising of crops, poultry or livestock, and production of poultry and livestock products in an unmanufactured state.
To file for relief under Chapter 12 as a family farmer, an individual must meet the following criteria: Must be currently engaged in a farming operation; Must have regular income sufficient to fund a plan of reorganization; At least 50% of gross income for the year was derived from a farming operation owned or controlled… Read More »
One primary advantage of Chapter 12 is that it offers higher debt limits and more freedom than Chapter 13, without the time and expense associated with a Chapter 11 reorganization. The higher debt limit is responsive to the fact that farming and fishing operations tend to incur much higher debts than the average individual. Chapter 11 is… Read More »
Chapter 12 allows individuals, partnerships, LLC’s and corporations who qualify as family farmers and family fisherman to restructure their debts. Similar to Chapter 11 and Chapter 13, Chapter 12 involves repaying debts over a three to five year period, through a plan of reorganization. What makes Chapter 12 relief unique from that offered by Chapters 11 and… Read More »
You should never file Chapter 11 without thoroughly understanding, in specific terms, the exit strategy. If you have only a general understanding of what your plan of reorganization or restructuring might be, it is difficult or impossible to successfully confirm a Chapter 11 case and extricate your business from bankruptcy. We undertake a financial analysis of the… Read More »
Go to “Contact Us” and set up an appointment. You will feel better as soon as you make the decision to do something about your circumstances. We look forward to speaking with you.
Our senior counsel, Julianne R. Frank, is one of less than a thousand lawyers in United States who are nationally certified in business bankruptcy law by the American Board of certification. Such certification requires completion of a rigorous process that includes the demonstration of many years of experience in business distress issues, the passing of rigorous exams,… Read More »
At Markarian & Hayes we consider bankruptcy to be the method of last resort. There are often several options available to resolve debt problems. For example, in some circumstances it may be practical to employ debt management techniques. We have developed a proprietary program that has assisted many clients in resolving their unable or unwilling to utilize the… Read More »
Our staff is trained to ask the essential questions to determine if your matter involves the type of time sensitive crises that require immediate attention. If so, we will work to accommodate you and your schedule immediately.
In the course of your initial consultation, we will show you time-tested methods that will put you in a position to afford legal representation. Often, this involves a custom designed cash flow program that enables you to create your legal “war chest”.
Until we know what “it” is, it is impossible to quote fees. As a matter of fact, if your circumstances involve a bankruptcy filing, it is a violation of federal law to quote fees over the telephone or on the Internet. We realize that many firms do it. Do you really want to employ a law firm… Read More »
We will explore your circumstances with you. Typically, before we are in a position to answer your questions, we have to spend time with you to get answers to the facts that we believe will be relevant to solving your problems. There are many ways to resolve financial distress; we will explain all of your options and… Read More »
Please take a look at who we are to see how we can help you.
BUSINESS PLANNING AND STRUCTURING When your legal practice has, for over 30 years, focused on the myriad ways that you can get a business into financial trouble, and how to fix those problems, it gives one a unique perspective on what it takes to avoid those problems in the first place. If you are… Read More »
A produce broker who does not pay 100% of PACA protected claims will lose their broker’s license and may not be able to discharge the obligation through bankruptcy. It is imperative that you timely file a proof of claim in the bankruptcy case. If you receive notice that a broker who owes you money… Read More »
I have practiced law in South Florida and across the nation for 30 years, including as a bankruptcy attorney and financial distress counselor in south Florida for 30 years. In the last few years, we have seen a disheartening increase in the number of our clients who are on the brink of losing their… Read More »