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Personal Property Appraisal- Middle District of Florida

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  • Personal Property Appraisal- Middle District of Florida

    Well just when I thought our 341 went pretty well last week it seems I may have spoken to soon. We started out as a no asset case but we knew when our 341 was over that the trustee was going to object to our exemption on one of the cars but I guess I didn't realize that he/she would now choose to do an appraisal of ALL personal property. I should have known better I guess. I have read all of the horror stories on here about this FL district and the way our luck has been running lately I should have prepared myself for this. After our 341- our atty said we did really well and that we were done and would get our discharge in 90 days. He said we would not have to come back to court. He said the trustee only objected to the auto exemptions and our plan would be just get the 2nd car appraised and whatever we were over we would just pay to the trustee over 12 months. He acted like it was no big deal at all. Well on Sat. when we received the notice of the trustees objection to the exemptions it also said that a pp appraisal would be schedule to determine how much we were over our exemptions. He/she has also hired the law firm he/she works for to include himself/herself because per the order the bk estate is "complicated". I do not know what this means??. We had to take the homestead exemption here in order to keep the house although it's worth less than what we owe on it by about 7-8k. I suggested to the atty before we filed that we use the wildcard instead but he said that if we give the trustee that option to take the house they may or may not choose to do so. I just feel all of this is so silly. Our personal property consists of our clothing, 4 -year old master bedroom, living room and kitchen furniture from Rooms to Go paid about 3k for it all 4 years ago. and our few electronics that are now 3-5 years old. Our laptops are worth nothing, they have fully depreciated. The TV's a few hundred or so each. We will probably have 3,500 equity in the two cars (less our 2k measly auto exemptions= 1,500 net exemption when we are done). Our wedding rings we valued about 1k we paid maybe 2,500 for them new 3 years ago. I turned over a promissory note for 14k from my ex that was due Dec. 2010 and of course I received nothing. We deemed it to be uncollectable. My ex makes little money, he has almost 1k in medical expenses per month, and is upside down by almost 100k or more in the house we used to own together. I told the trustee all of this in the 341 meeting. Do you think this issue is what he/she considers our case to now be "complicated". Also, does this now mean we are going to be probed by the UST now??

    This is all so crazy and I shouldn't even care because we don't have anything to hide. But it's upsetting to have this delayed another month or more. My hubby and I have already decided we will NOT buy back the 4 yo furniture or the electronics so they can come and get them.We have only owned our home a little over a year so it is not stocked full of furniture as one may think. We only have one complete BR set and the other two guest rooms have a sofa bed in one and a frame/mattress set in the other. There is not a lot of anything to get from our "complicated estate" This district is a big joke and these trustees need to get a life. : Between us losing our business earlier in the year and my hubby still being unemployed, the company I work for having some issues just to stay afloat, our 6 yo dog has been sick and we had to pay out a lot in vet bills lately and we had several major home expenses come up in the last 6 months even though our home is only 4 years old. It seems we have the worst luck in the world!! We are over the median but only 10-12 k or so and maybe this is why this is happening, however, it's still a struggle to stay afloat with all of these things that keep happening. This trustee is going to further complicate our lives by dragging us through more stress for such an insignificant amount of money. I just don't get it. It's so discouraging to have to deal with all of this. We have hardly nothing left and the little bit we have they won't it all. I know that I just need to get a grip and let it go.Is there anyone on this board that has had a recent experience with a personal property appraisal in this crappy Fl district that they can share their experience with me please?? The others posts I have read are a year or more older (beachmomma, sunshinegal) etc.. I was looking for something more current. Thanks Much!

  • #2
    It's not the District in Florida... it's the stingy Florida exemption. However, Florida chose to give an unlimited homestead exemption over having reasonable exemptions for personal property. If you had a $1,000,000 home that you had entirely paid off, the Florida unlimited homestead exemption is awesome. If you only have $1,000 in equity... then it's not so awesome since you lose the $4,000 homestead exemption.

    In any event, your attorney perhaps should have briefed you more. The fact is, if you use the homestead exemption, almost EVERY Trustee in Florida is going to be looking more closely at your exemptions. It's quite easy to "guess" that a person with a 2,200square foot home has more than $1,000 worth of personal property in that home. A Chapter 13 wouldn't present these issues, but you would end up in a multi-year pending bankruptcy (pending discharge) and perhaps end up with a budget you can't (or won't) live with.

    As for complicated... it is complicated once there are assets. Many people don't know that the Chapter 7 (Panel) Trustee needs to "earn" their commission. This is why they typically hire themselves so that they can produce billing records to the court (Application for Fees / Application to Employ Counsel). If they don't, then they don't get paid for their work -- other than the standard $60 per case. There is an additional complications, the unpaid promissory note that is owed to you! The Trustee will go after that person. (This doesn't affect your "discharge"... only your case closing and your case's "asset" status.)

    It is not happening because you are over the median. It is happening because you are using the homestead exemption to protect equity in your home.

    The only thing you can do is wait for the appraiser to come. They should let you know what they think the value of the items are. You can always offer the Trustee a compromise -- once the appraiser is done. The offer needs to be reasonable. Additionally, the Trustee may let you pay this over time. This would be no different in a Chapter 13 other than you don't need to "negotiate" with the Trustee on paying over time. IN a Chapter 13, you get to amortize this "Chapter 7 liquidation value" into the plan by paying at least that amount over the life of the Chapter 13.)

    The UST would have been at your 341 Meeting if there were issues. Please remember that the job of the Panel Trustee -- liquidating your Estate -- and the United States Trustee (UST) -- managing and overseeing the program -- are two different jobs. Within 10 days of the 341 Meeting, you should know whether the UST is "interested" in your case.

    I'm sorry that this is more traumatizing than you expected. I wish your attorney had explained everything more completely! When you have assets that are exposed, you must ALWAYS expect the worse.
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by justbroke View Post
      It's not the District in Florida... it's the stingy Florida exemption. However, Florida chose to give an unlimited homestead exemption over having reasonable exemptions for personal property. If you had a $1,000,000 home that you had entirely paid off, the Florida unlimited homestead exemption is awesome. If you only have $1,000 in equity... then it's not so awesome since you lose the $4,000 homestead exemption.

      In any event, your attorney perhaps should have briefed you more. The fact is, if you use the homestead exemption, almost EVERY Trustee in Florida is going to be looking more closely at your exemptions. It's quite easy to "guess" that a person with a 2,200square foot home has more than $1,000 worth of personal property in that home. A Chapter 13 wouldn't present these issues, but you would end up in a multi-year pending bankruptcy (pending discharge) and perhaps end up with a budget you can't (or won't) live with.

      As for complicated... it is complicated once there are assets. Many people don't know that the Chapter 7 (Panel) Trustee needs to "earn" their commission. This is why they typically hire themselves so that they can produce billing records to the court (Application for Fees / Application to Employ Counsel). If they don't, then they don't get paid for their work -- other than the standard $60 per case. There is an additional complications, the unpaid promissory note that is owed to you! The Trustee will go after that person. (This doesn't affect your "discharge"... only your case closing and your case's "asset" status.)

      It is not happening because you are over the median. It is happening because you are using the homestead exemption to protect equity in your home.

      The only thing you can do is wait for the appraiser to come. They should let you know what they think the value of the items are. You can always offer the Trustee a compromise -- once the appraiser is done. The offer needs to be reasonable. Additionally, the Trustee may let you pay this over time. This would be no different in a Chapter 13 other than you don't need to "negotiate" with the Trustee on paying over time. IN a Chapter 13, you get to amortize this "Chapter 7 liquidation value" into the plan by paying at least that amount over the life of the Chapter 13.)

      The UST would have been at your 341 Meeting if there were issues. Please remember that the job of the Panel Trustee -- liquidating your Estate -- and the United States Trustee (UST) -- managing and overseeing the program -- are two different jobs. Within 10 days of the 341 Meeting, you should know whether the UST is "interested" in your case.

      I'm sorry that this is more traumatizing than you expected. I wish your attorney had explained everything more completely! When you have assets that are exposed, you must ALWAYS expect the worse.
      Yeah I hear you JB.... It seems that some of the attorney's in this area are not taking the time to brief the clients as well as they should . I thought we had chosen our attorney well. He is an Ivy league grad and was with one of the biggest firms here before starting his own firm recently.Oh well-- hindsight is 20/20. I guess I should have asked more questions too. We don't have any "equity in the homestead though we have to use it in order to keep it or they have the option to take it. I understand the exemptions here are stingy but this district is notorious for sending out appraisers too. Our house is not 2,200 sq ft and is not chocked full of furniture and other personal property. We have only had it a year. Before that we rented and some of the places we rented were furnished/partly furnished. So it's not like we have had time to build a huge BK estate that can be easily liquidated.

      I wonder to what extremes they can go after the ex for the 14k?? Can they seize other assets to pay the debt if he has no dmi?

      Oh well --guess you are right justbroke sit back and see how the appraisal comes in. I have heard there are no negotiations with these trustees here and we are not paying for 4 yo junk so they can have it. If we have to borrow money from family to start with newer stuff when this is over that is what we intend to do. We didn't want to be stuck in a Chap 13 plan for five years so I guess we can't complain a whole lot...Thanks for your insight.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KnOmom View Post
        ... Well on Sat. when we received the notice of the trustees objection to the exemptions it also said that a pp appraisal would be schedule to determine how much we were over our exemptions...
        Dear KnOmom, I hope this goes by quickly for you. Would you mind sharing how it was that you received the notice of the trustees objection to exemptions on a saturday? Did they post this objection on PACER? Did they contact your attorney and then your attorney contacted you on the weekend?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by filed View Post
          Dear KnOmom, I hope this goes by quickly for you. Would you mind sharing how it was that you received the notice of the trustees objection to exemptions on a saturday? Did they post this objection on PACER? Did they contact your attorney and then your attorney contacted you on the weekend?
          Thanks Filed, me too, Yes our attorney emailed me. I also looked on Pacer on Saturday after I got the email from the attorney and we also received a letter on Sat via snail mail.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm confused. Why would you use a homestead exemption if you have no equity in the home?
            LadyInTheRed is in the black!
            Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
            $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LadyInTheRed View Post
              I'm confused. Why would you use a homestead exemption if you have no equity in the home?
              If we don't claim the homestead exemption that means we are not exempting it so per our attorney the trustee at his/her own discrection may decide to take our home and it's not worth the risk . I guess it's another "Middle Dist. of FL maneuver" by the trustees to try and get as much as they can from the Chapter 7 filers esp if they are over the median income. It's as if they force you into taking the homestead exemption whether or not you need it just to save your house but knowing that you cannot claim the wildcard exemption so therefore they get more out of the estate. On our schedules our atty had me only claiming the homestead (since the home is in my name only) and my husband claiming the wild card exemption but this particular trustee would have no part of it. He/She even scoffed at him for trying it. There are 3 trustees here and he said that the other two trustees would have been perfectly okay with this. From my understanding the trustees are on a rotating schedule so couldn't he have planned around this and even if he couldn't he knew right after filing when that particular trustee was assigned to our case that this would not fly with him/her so why didn't he simply amend our schedules? or give us more advance notice until 5 minutes before our meeting.

              Comment


              • #8
                This is actually "settled" in the Middle District. Judge Moody settled it in a case captioned Iuliano v. Brook, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47156 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 29, 2011). Notice that the date is April of this year (2011). The case was specifically due to a particular Trustee (with a last name starting with "B" and sounding like "look"), that tried to force a debtor out.

                If you actually have a few thousand dollars worth of equity, then it could be questionable as to whether that would motivate the Trustee. However, you stated that you are underwater.

                Maybe you can ask your attorney to look at the Iuliano case and see if it has any bearing? I am not an attorney, but if it's that same Trustee trying this tactic again... someone needs to challenge the Trustee. I apologize for misreading earlier, but I thought you posted that you had several thousand in equity on the home, but now realize that was for the vehicles.
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by justbroke View Post
                  This is actually "settled" in the Middle District. Judge Moody settled it in a case captioned Iuliano v. Brook, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47156 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 29, 2011). Notice that the date is April of this year (2011). The case was specifically due to a particular Trustee (with a last name starting with "B" and sounding like "look"), that tried to force a debtor out.

                  If you actually have a few thousand dollars worth of equity, then it could be questionable as to whether that would motivate the Trustee. However, you stated that you are underwater.

                  Maybe you can ask your attorney to look at the Iuliano case and see if it has any bearing? I am not an attorney, but if it's that same Trustee trying this tactic again... someone needs to challenge the Trustee. I apologize for misreading earlier, but I thought you posted that you had several thousand in equity on the home, but now realize that was for the vehicles.
                  thanks jb...this isn't the same trustee...I wonder if it could be specific to this part of the MD of FL...we aren't in Tampa and not sure if the trustee you are referring to is in Tampa..neither of the three trustees here have a last name that starts with "B". I will ask my attorney about it though, it's worth a shot...we do have some equity in our cars most of which hopefully will be exempt once we get the 2nd car appraised and we do have equity in our 2nd property in another state but we are surrendering this property...we do not have equity in the homestead as we are underwater only around
                  8k...which is not much but we only bought it a year ago so that is why. I wonder if this is why they are "forcing" us to take the homestead in order to keep it?? I didn't put any extra money down on it when it was purchased. it just doesn't seem fair.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Did you have a professional appraisal done on the homestead property (the one you live in)? It may be that what you owe is so close to the property value that your attorney didn't want to take the chance.
                    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by justbroke View Post
                      Did you have a professional appraisal done on the homestead property (the one you live in)? It may be that what you owe is so close to the property value that your attorney didn't want to take the chance.
                      no -we did not. I do not know where the attorney got the value of the property actually. I put down a certain amount from some research I had done online but he didn't agree with the value and put his own number in. You could be right, this is probably why he didn't push the issue.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I might be inclined to find the REAL value of the property! It could be worth less than you think. Of course, a real residential property appraisal is going to cost about $250. Was your number lower or higher than the attorney's?
                        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


                        I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm curious, and you don't have to answer if you don't wish to. But whereabouts in the Middle District are you? Middle District covers most everything from Jacksonville to Tampa and a little beyond. We are in the part that uses the Jacksonville Court.
                          "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                          "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            jb is correct with the appraisal, i would get a reputable real estate company to come and do the comps in the area. you may be shocked. also, for a "quick" look at what's happening in your area, go to zillow.com as they list the sales in your neighborhood and it will give you a good idea what the market value is.

                            i personally like zillow.com is unreliable, however, even the banks use it now! (i remember seeing our old property on there and they didn't even have the number of bedrooms or bathrooms correct!), yet, "they" are still using the site as it does record actual sales and their dates.

                            jb point is one that should be something that someone filing in florida really takes into consideration when filing here.

                            we are also in the middle district and i know it's been a ruff go for many here, however, as jb states, in not just limited to the middle district, it's happening all over florida. we were lucky and had left our property in another state, established residency for two years and then filed without using the homestead exemption, as we didn't have a home, we were surrendering it.

                            i know this is going to sound odd, but i really don't think you have much to worry about. if you aren't "hiding" assets, you may just end up as jb says, having to pay out a bit over a year or so. i would think that the worse scenario.

                            not to be a clique, but it's only money.
                            8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AngelinaCat View Post
                              I'm curious, and you don't have to answer if you don't wish to. But whereabouts in the Middle District are you? Middle District covers most everything from Jacksonville to Tampa and a little beyond. We are in the part that uses the Jacksonville Court.
                              don't forget orlando
                              8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

                              Comment

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