All posts by Merideth Nagel, P.A.

Caren Geyer

Caren Geyer’s family has lived in Clermont for generations. She graduated from Clermont High School and went on to work as a legal assistant prior to attending and graduating from college. In 1995, Caren returned to the legal field as a paralegal and office manager where she has worked for the past 24 years, perfecting her skills and assisting attorneys in several high-profile nationally recognized cases. Although Ms. Geyer is well-educated in several areas of law, she currently provides her expertise as Merideth Nagel P.A’s Family Law and Civil Litigation Paralegal.

Caren spends as much of her spare time as possible with her daughter, Athena, her son-in-law, Dustin, and two youngest grandsons, Lincoln and Leland. Although Caren’s other daughters and grandchildren live out of state, she sees them as much as she can. She also enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her pets and friends.

Tracy Attaway

Tracy Attaway is a native Floridian. She moved to the Central Florida area in 1990 where she began working as a receptionist at a small law firm in downtown Orlando in January, 1991. She obtained her AS degree in Legal Assisting from Valencia Community College and then became a Florida Registered Paralegal. She has worked as a Paralegal for the past twenty years handling all types of residential and commercial closings. Tracy loves meeting new people and guiding them through their legal processes, as well as writing poetry, spending quality time with family, and being with her husband and son.

Notices to Creditors in Bankruptcy Cases

Due to a provision in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, creditors must receive prompt notice of Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies consisting mostly of consumer debt. According to a Lake County bankruptcy lawyer, the last four digits of the debtor’s social security number must be included in the notice.

If a creditor provides a debtor with two or more communications stating the creditor’s current address and the debtor’s full account number within 90 days of the filing of a bankruptcy case, all further notices must be sent to that address. They must also contain the full account number.

Amendments and Designations

Sometimes, a notice contains an amendment adding a creditor to a bankruptcy schedule. Under such circumstances, the debtor is required to provide his full taxpayer ID number to the creditor. The last four digits of the ID number must be included on the copy of the notice that’s filed with the court.

The same act allows creditors to designate individual people or subdivisions of the company as official recipients of all notices. For this to happen, the creditor must file a notice of address in bankruptcy court specifying the address to which all notices must be sent. From there, the clerk of court enters the address in a nationwide database that’s used by all bankruptcy courts.

Copies of Necessary Documents

A creditor has the right to request copies of relevant documents and can do so by filing a request in court. The individual debtor must then provide copies of statements of financial affairs, schedules and petitions. He must also provide copies of the tax return or a summary of the return he filed with the trustee. Creditors must request these copies within 14 days of the meeting with creditors. If it’s a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must also give the creditor a copy of the plan he’s filed, and this must be done at a reasonable cost to the creditor.

Hire an Experienced Lake County Bankruptcy Attorney Now

The best way to navigate the complicated bankruptcy process is with assistance from a skilled Lake County bankruptcy lawyer. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law at 352-404-4634 or toll-free at 877-580-6868 now.

Creditors and Claims in a Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

Chapter 12 is a reorganization bankruptcy designed primarily for consumers who derive at least 50% of their income from farming or fishing. If you qualify for this type of bankruptcy, there are advantages to filing thusly over a Chapter 13 which you can discuss with your Lake County bankruptcy attorneys. The following deals with creditors and claims in this specialized type of bankruptcy.

Creditor Claims

Once the meeting of creditors takes place, creditors in a Chapter 12 bankruptcy have 90 days in which to file their claims. Your Lake County bankruptcy lawyers can help answer any questions you have, but priority claims include the following:

– Any wages or commission not exceeding the annually adjusted amount that was earned within 180 days before the bankruptcy was filed;
– Any contributions to an employee benefit program made within 180 days of filing;
– Claims made by farmers or fishermen that do not exceed an annually adjusted amount;
– Deposits made by individuals in order to purchase or lease rental property/services; and
– Taxes.

There are four exceptions to the time limit for filing claims:

– Claims made by governmental entities;
– Claims made on behalf of infant children or incompetent individuals;
– Certain unsecured claims; and
– Claims that are born out of rejected executory contracts.

If You Believe You May Qualify for a Chapter 12 Bankruptcy, We Can Help

Lake County bankruptcy attorneys with our firm can help you with your Chapter 12 bankruptcy and enable you to save your business. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law today to arrange a consultation at 352-404-4634.

The Different Types of Bankruptcy

There are four different types of bankruptcy protection, all essentially designed to help debtors who are burdened with more debt than they are able to repay. Bankruptcy is usually for individuals, although two of the types of bankruptcy are also available to businesses. For more information about the types of bankruptcy protection, watch this video, brought to you by a bankruptcy attorney in Clermont who understands the distinctions. 

Calculating Secured Debt Expenses and Priority Claims

The means test form has a section titled “Other Payments.” For the purposes of this section, only debts that are required for the support of the debtor and their dependents may be used. A bankruptcy attorney in Lake County can help define these for you.

Cure Amounts and Priority Claims

In the event that the debtor is in arrears on a secured debt that’s required for the support of their family, the cure amount, or amount that’s required to bring the account current, must be provided. The total cure amount is then divided by 60 and added to the debtor’s monthly expenses as a part of the means test.

From there, the debt on all priority claims must be calculated by taking the total and dividing it by 60. This applies to priority claims with terms of 60 months or less. For priority claims with terms of more than 60 months, the monthly payment is used instead.

For the purposes of the means test, only the priority debts due at the time of filing may be used.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the cost of administrative expenses must also be listed in this section. However, the amount that’s deducted may not exceed 10 percent of the plan’s projected monthly payment amount. It is okay to use a reasonable estimate for this.

Hire a Skilled Bankruptcy Attorney in Lake County

Before worrying about completing the means test, you need to retain a competent Lake County bankruptcy lawyer. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law at 352-404-4634 or toll-free at 877-580-6868 today.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Versus Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The first step to determining which type of bankruptcy is right for you is to consider the differences between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific circumstances. Lake County bankruptcy lawyers can explain what those are.

The Main Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets and debts are liquidated. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debts are reorganized. The primary difference between the two types of bankruptcy is that with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have to repay a percentage of your debt over the course of three to five years.

When Does Chapter 7 Make Sense?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy probably makes sense if:

– Most of your debts are unsecured and can be discharged. These include credit cards, personal loans and medical bills.
– You own little or no non-exempt property.
– To hold on to secured property, you don’t need to cure defaults.
– Your disposable income isn’t enough to fund a Chapter 13 plan.

When Does Chapter 13 Make Sense?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy probably makes sense if:

– You would like to hold onto non-exempt assets.
– You have debts that can’t be discharged, including student loans, child support, alimony, taxes, fines and penalties.
– You have high amounts of net disposable income.
– You would like to cure a car loan or mortgage default.

Is Qualifying for Chapter 7 Difficult?

Experienced Lake County bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine if you’ll qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To qualify, you must pass a means test to prove that you can’t repay your debts. Lake County bankruptcy lawyers can help you complete a Statement of Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation that will assess your income and set-offs to determine how much can be paid to creditors. The form examines your average income from all sources for the last six months. If you and your spouse file together, both of your incomes will be counted. If you’re filing alone, your spouse’s income will still be counted subject to certain set-offs.

Hire Skilled Lake County Bankruptcy Attorneys

If you’re buried in debt, bankruptcy may be the answer. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law at 352-404-4634 or 877-580-6868 today.

Modifying Chapter 13 Debtor’s Repayment Plan or Suspending Payments

Bankruptcy attorney in Lake CountyAt any point before confirmation, you may modify your Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. The modified plan just has to contain the essential terms. A bankruptcy attorney in Lake County can assist you to ensure that your case isn’t delayed.

After Confirmation of Plan

Once confirmation has occurred, a Chapter 13 repayment plan may be modified at the request of you, your trustee or by the holder of an unsecured claim. A hearing will occur, and the request must be approved by the court. Whoever is seeking the modification must provide all creditors and the trustee with at least 21 days’ notice of the impending hearing, and a copy of the modified plan must be included along with the notice. An objection may be filed by any party of interest, and it must be served on the trustee, the debtor and on all creditors. It is permissible to reduce the required payments by the amount you spend to buy health insurance for you and your family. Before incurring a new debt after the approval of your plan, you must receive permission from the trustee.

Suspending or Amending Payments from a Confirmed Plan

A court motion is needed to amend or suspend payments from a confirmed plan. The request may be made as long as the suspension won’t extend the plan by more than 60 months. To amend or suspend your payments, your financial circumstances must have changed, and the change must be outlined in the motion papers. You must attach proof of the change in circumstances to the motion papers along with updated versions of Schedules I and J. Also, a proposed amended plan must be included. In some jurisdictions, the Chapter 13 trustee must approve the modification. Copies of the motion papers need to be served on the trustee and all creditors who will be adversely affected by the modification or if the suspension will exceed 90 days. Your bankruptcy attorney in Lake County may request supplemental fees for modifying your repayment plan.

Hire an Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyer in Lake County Now

A bankruptcy may give you the fresh financial start you need. Contact Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law at 352-404-4634.

Can I File for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney?

When a business files for bankruptcy, an attorney is required; when individuals file, they have the option of representing themselves. However, representing yourself is not always beneficial. The rules pertaining to bankruptcy are complex and you can severely jeopardize your rights if you make mistakes. Visit with a Minneola bankruptcy lawyer today to determine if legal representation is best for you. 

How to Determine your Monthly Expenses in your Bankruptcy Case

If you are filing for bankruptcy, an experienced Lake County bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine your monthly expenses. This process may seem daunting, but your attorney is experienced in navigating the process and will make sure you will be able to calculate your expenses appropriately.

One method of helping your bankruptcy claim is by reducing your current monthly income (CMI). If your income is greater than the median income according to the tables, the IRS allows you to deduct the following:

– Necessary living expenses
– Living allowances

These are established in their National Standards and Local Standards. The IRS will then use the standards to determine your ability to pay any taxes you owe.

The Local Standards determine roles for deducting the following:

– Housing
– Utilities
– Transportation

The Local Standards, which are also known as Collection Financial Standards, vary by state and, in some cases, by county.  By contacting us we can inform you of any implications that may affect you.

Some housing and transportation expenses are listed separately under secured debts. These expenses include car payments and mortgages. Any amount you spend on car payments and mortgages must be included in the secured debt section. If the amount of your payment is greater than the cost of owning your vehicle, then enter a zero. The form will not recognize negative numbers.

Vehicle transportation is a different matter entirely. These do not vary by state, but by region (Northeast, Midwest, South and West). These amounts are listed in the Local Standards. Keep in mind the figures for owning and driving multiple vehicles. This includes operating costs, as well as public transportation costs.

For more information on how you can determine your monthly expenses in your bankruptcy case, contact Lake County bankruptcy lawyer Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law at 352-404-4634, or toll free at 877-580-6868.

Estate Assets in Joint Names

Estate planning is very important, and it must be handled with care and thoughtfulness. Many people take a simple approach and simply add the names of spouses and/or children to bank accounts and deeds. There are some very serious potential pitfalls in doing this, however. It is best to work with a Groveland estate planning attorney to decide how to plan your estate, even if you own property jointly.

What Is Joint Ownership?

Joint ownership between spouses means that both have equal ownership in all the assets in the estate. Your Groveland estate planning attorney will tell you that owning property in joint names is advantageous insofar as it allows the lion’s share of the estate to avoid probate. This means both a substantial savings and also immediate access to funds in the estate once the one spouse dies.

There are several types of joint ownership: 

• Joint tenants with full rights of survivorship allows for the surviving spouse to become sole owner of assets upon the death of the other. 
• Tenants in common, on the other hand, differs significantly. In essence, when the first spouse dies, the portion of the estate that belongs to the survivor is made immediately available to her. However, the assets belonging to the decedent pass through probate.
• Tenants by the entirety works similarly to joint tenants insomuch as all assets jointly held pass directly to the surviving spouse.


There are some basic disadvantages to setting up an estate with joint ownership. If, for instance, you and your spouse wish for the children to inherit the estate ultimately, you might think that it is a good idea to add one child’s name onto a joint ownership. Even if this is done with the understanding that the child will, upon the death of both parents, share assets in the estate equally with other siblings, he is not legally obligated to do so. 

Moreover, since none of the other children were listed as joint owners, any money they receive will be subject to gift taxes, which only allow for a minimal distribution annually before this tax is invoked. Currently this figure is $14,000. The estate may also be subject to estate taxes and capital gains, depending upon the nature of the asset.

A Groveland Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

Estate planning is very important. If you are considering how to plan your estate, it is very important that you work with a Groveland estate planning attorney who can help you set it up in the most advantageous way. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law, today at 352-404-4634.

Power of Attorney

clermont estate planning attorneyPower of attorney is a particularly important and useful estate planning tool. It enables the settlor to bestow powers of attorney on another person in order to manage his financial affairs. There is also a specialized form, called durable power of attorney. If you are considering either it is important that you consult an experienced Clermont estate planning attorney.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney includes two main individuals—the grantor, who creates the power of attorney, and the agent or attorney-in-fact, who is granted power over the grantor’s financial and other affairs. The breadth and scope of these powers is entirely up to the person who is granting the powers. The person may want only his financial affairs handled. He might grant power of attorney for only one thing, such as the sale of a house or the raising of his children should something happen.
A Clermont estate planning attorney will tell you that, because of the amount of power that is being placed in the hands of the agent, it is important to choose the person wisely. Make sure it is a friend you trust implicitly or a close relative who does not have a conflict of interest.

Durable Power of Attorney

You may also want to grant the power to make decisions about your health should you become incapacitated. This is called the durable provision, and it remains in effect either until you die or get better. Your Clermont estate planning lawyer will discuss with you whether the durable provision will be useful in your situation.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Agent? Do They End?

An agent is expected to act in the best interests of the grantor in all decisions that he makes. He should keep a detailed account of all transactions, and in all ways behave in a transparent way. It is important to note that the powers of attorney granted end upon the death of the grantor.

A Clermont Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help With Questions

If you are interested in learning more about power of attorney, contact a Clermont estate planning attorney today. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law, at 352-404-4634 or toll free at 877-580-6868.

Understanding a Cram Down

A Clermont bankruptcy attorney is knowledgeable about the various aspects of filing for Chapter 13 protection. One feature that he or she may explain is the cram down, which is something that some debtors who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection are eligible for. It applies to secured debt. Learn more about this topic below.

Financial Counseling Requirement for Debtors Filing a Bankruptcy Case

People seeking bankruptcy protection must receive credit counseling and debtor education from a non-profit agency approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office prior to filing a bankruptcy case. Once the case is filed, you also need to complete a debtor education course. A Clermont bankruptcy lawyer guides debtors through the legal process and helps them remain in compliance with the bankruptcy laws.

Credit Counseling and Debtor Education

Individuals are required to receive credit counseling within 180 days of filing a bankruptcy case. The U.S. Trustee’s Office provides a list of non-profit agencies that are authorized to offer credit counseling. Many agencies give debtors the option of taking the 90-minute credit counseling course in-person at one of their offices, online or on the phone. It is also common for agencies to offer the course in English and Spanish. Once you have fulfilled the requirement, the agency gives you a certificate verifying that the course was completed.

Debtor education is another financial counseling requirement that must be taken after the bankruptcy case is filed. If you filed for Chapter 7, the debtor education course must be completed within 60 days of the date set for the meeting of creditors. Chapter 13 debtors need to take the course before they finish the repayment plan. If the certificate of completion for the debtor education course isn’t filed in a timely manner, the court may refuse to issue an order of discharge.

Exemption to Credit Counseling Requirement

In rare cases, a debtor may be exempt from taking credit counseling if he doesn’t have access to an agency within his residential area. A debtor may also claim an exemption if he is mentally incapacitated, physically disabled or on active duty in the military and currently serving in a combat zone.

When debtors aren’t able to obtain credit counseling prior to filing the bankruptcy petition, they need to explain the extenuating circumstances to the court. If the bankruptcy court decides the debtor didn’t give a valid reason for not fulfilling the credit counseling requirement, the case may get dismissed.

Consult a Clermont Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are dealing with an overwhelming amount of debt, contact a bankruptcy attorney in Clermont. Merideth Nagel, P.A. Attorney at Law uses expertise to help many of her clients resolve their debt problems and get a fresh start. Call the law office today at 352-404-4634 or 877-580-6868 to schedule a consultation.


How Can I Repair My Credit After Bankruptcy?

Recovering after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might seem overwhelming as individuals try to qualify for a mortgage for a home or apply for credit cards. While the process is admittedly a struggle, a Clermont bankruptcy attorney might be able to offer some solutions to these challenges.

Timeline of a Short Sale

Merideth-Nagel-178X250Following the mortgage crisis and resultant recession, many homeowners found themselves unable to pay their mortgages. Many were not even able to sell their homes for home values had plummeted to the extent that they could not get what they owed. Real estate short sales have become a popular way to remedy this situation; it allows the homeowner to avoid foreclosure. If you are considering a short sale, it is important that you work with a Minneola short sale attorney who will ensure that your rights protected.

Why Short Sales Are Possible
Short sales work because lenders otherwise face the real possibility of receiving nothing at all as they foreclose on a property. Generally, however, a homeowner must be delinquent on payments to qualify. A Minneola short sale attorney will help you through the process of the short sale and make sure that you follow all the steps necessary in order to complete the sale as quickly as possible.

Timeline Of A Short Sale

Numerous issues bear upon the time it will take for a short sale to be completed. Even the type of loan you have affects this. If you have a government-sponsored and funded home loan such as an FHA, there may be a delay. Some homeowners have to contend with having mortgage insurance as well.Your first step is to gather all the necessary documents. These include:• Bank statements for the past two months

• Tax returns for the past two years
• Your payroll stubs and W2s for the past two years
• A financial statement (form 1126)
• Form 4506
• A letter detailing your hardship that must be signed and dated.These documents are necessary in order to show why you are unable to pay your monthly mortgage. You may be asked to provide more documents as well. You will then sign a listing agreement with the real estate agent. The period of time to a sale is difficult to estimate. If the marketplace is attracting a lot of buyers, you may be able to get an offer rather quickly. You may, however, need to wait two or three months or more.

Once an offer is made, the short sale package is submitted to HUD for approval. This can take anywhere from 60 to 90 days.

Your Minneola short sale attorney will tell you that there are many variables that can affect the time it takes to sell your property. For one, the buyer may become fearful and back out of the sale.

Work with an Attorney if You Are Considering a Short Sale
While it is not strictly required by law that you work with a Minneola short sale lawyer, you will find that it serves your best interests to do so. Call Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law today to arrange a consultation. Call 352-404-4634 or toll-free at 877-580-6868

Revocable Trusts

One favored estate planning tool that yourClermont estate planning lawyer may recommend is the revocable trust. This allows you to set parameters regarding how certain property should be used while giving you the peace of mind of knowing that you can modify it whenever you want to.


Your lawyer can explain that a testamentary trust, a trust in which you dispose of property at your death, must comply with all of the will formalities that are required of wills in Florida. These requirements include:
  • Settlor’s signature
  • Witnesses
  • Signatures of witnesses


Your  estate planning attorney can also explain that there is a presumption that a trust is revocable unless there is clear language to the contrary. However, this presumption is only for trust instruments that were created after June 30, 2007.
Revoking a Trust
If the revocable trust only has one settlor, he or she may revoke the trust or amend it by substantially complying with the relevant provision in the trust. If there is not a method proscribed in the trust for revocation, the settlor can create a later will that revokes or amends the terms of the trust or manifest clear intent in another manner. The testamentary aspects of the will must still comply with the requirements above. If there is more than one settlor, either spouse can revoke the will. However, if there is community property, both must agree to any amendment.
If you would like assistance in setting up a trust, contact Clermont estate planning attorney Merideth Nagel at 352-394-7408.

Welcome to our new website. Browse our articles or contact us at (352) 394-7408.

Trisha Sorval

Trisha has been with MNPA Since October 2013. She is our most senior Client Relations team member and also supports our Administrative team. Trisha became a part of the legal field in 2002 when she started with the Osceola County Courthouse.
When Trisha is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two boys and her husband on the baseball fields, or just relaxing at the lake.

Tina Smith

A graduate of Florida A&M University College of Law, Ms. Smith began her legal career as an Assistant State Attorney with the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Sumter County under Mr. Brad King and developed extensive knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system. She went on to become the first Legal Counsel for the Sumter County Clerk of Court, which allowed her to transition to her current position with the firm practicing Real Estate, Estate Planning and Probate Law. Ms. Smith is a member of the Sumter County and Lake County Bar Associations.

A Florida native, she is the youngest of three girls. From a young age her parents impressed upon her and her sisters that the greatest gift in life is the gift of being able to give back to those in need. Her teenage years included service with her family feeding the homeless and volunteering for Dreamflight, an organization that changes young lives through taking children with serious ill children or disability on a dream holiday of a lifetime. She met her husband and fellow volunteer at Dreamflight. Her love of service to others has expanded to volunteering at Houndhaven, a prominent Lake County dog rescue. Ms. Smith’s kind heart for children and animals is a presence picked up by another key staff member: aside from Ms. Nagel, Ms. Smith is by far the favorite attorney for Ms. Nagel’s dog Elway who helps in the office in any way he can.

When not spending time with her husband, one cat and three rescue dogs, she enjoys time with family, reading a good novel, and volunteering.

Her service for others has guided her down the path she follows today helping clients through her experience and knowledge making their goals her main priority.


“If it weren’t for Merideth Nagel and her top-notch team of seasoned professionals, I shudder to think where my family would be today. At this firm, you are not a name, a face, a case number, or a quagmire. You are a person, a child of God and treated as such. Merideth and her staff aren’t just my legal team, they are my friends. I cannot imagine being treated better, rightly, or more fairly than I have been in the years that Meredith Nagel has been my family’s attorney. She and her firm have richly blessed us. If Meredith isn’t your real estate attorney, well….she should be!”


“Merideth and her team have been a real blessing to me over the years! She helped me with real estate several times and estate planning. I can recommend her with full confidence!”


“We utilized Nagel Law to assist us with a real estate transaction a little over a year ago. Merideth and her entire staff treated us with the utmost professionalism as well as eased our minds pertaining to this transaction. We would not hesitate to utilize her firm again! Awesome group of people!”