Bankruptcy Filings Drop to Eight-Year Low

February 11, 2016 Posted by kingcade

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) released statistics showing a 9.9 percent drop in bankruptcy filings in 2015. During the 12-month period, January through December, 844,495 cases were filed in federal bankruptcy courts. This is down from 936,795 bankruptcy cases filed in 2014.

This is the lowest number of bankruptcy filings within a 12-month period since 2007. Last year was the fifth consecutive year that bankruptcy filings have fallen.

Business and non-business bankruptcy filings dropped in 2015. The total business bankruptcy filings were down from 26,983 in 2014 to 24,735 in 2015. The total non-business bankruptcy filings were 819,760, down from 909,812 the previous year.

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings dropped in 2015. Chapter 7 filings are the proceedings in which a debtor’s nonexempt assets are liquidated and the proceeds are distributed to creditors. Chapter 13 filings allow individuals to receive regular income to obtain debt relief while retaining their property by proposing a plan that uses future income to repay a portion of their debts over a three to five year period.

Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 filings both increased slightly from 2014. Chapter 11 filings are for businesses or individuals whose debts exceed the statutory thresholds for Chapter 13. Chapter 12 filings are for family farmers or fisherman.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Credit Card Debt on the Rise

February 10, 2016 Posted by kingcade

While the economy indicated signs of financial hardship in November 2015 with low spending, consumers were spending more confidently in December and January with credit card debt increasing at its fastest pace in more than seven years. Outstanding consumer credit, which includes all credit outside of mortgages, increased by an annualized $21.27 billion in December. Economists had only predicted consumer credit would rise $16.5 billion.

Revolving credit, which is mostly credit card debt, rose by $5.84 billion after rising $6.36 billion in November. Since last year, revolving credit rose 5.1 percent. This is the fastest gain since October 2008.

So where were consumers using their credit cards in the fourth quarter? Amazon.com accounted for a vast majority of credit card use, bringing in 51 percent of the total retail sales growth in the fourth quarter. The online retail giant also accounted for 42 percent of total retail sales growth for the entire year. However, companies such as Apple iPhone indicated sales were flat worldwide in December. Apple also forecasted its first yearly decline in sales in 13 years.

Non-revolving credit, including auto and student loans, increased $15.43 billion, up from $7.66 billion in November. However, economists anticipate auto sales will plateau or fall in 2016 from fourth quarter levels.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How Foreclosure Rates Affect Homeownership

February 9, 2016 Posted by kingcade

The housing market has experienced a gradual recovery largely due to the fact that foreclosure start rates are returning to “normal,” pre-recession rates. In 2014, foreclosure start rates fell to 1.75 percent, after exceeding 5.4 percent at the height of the housing market crisis in 2009. The third quarter of 2015 experienced the lowest foreclosure start rate since the second quarter of 2005, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

Prior to the housing market crash, homeownership reached a peak rate of 69 percent of households, meaning that 31 percent of households were renters in 2006. Studies show that most people rent before they own, therefore the ‘normal’ flow is for renters to become owners with age. According to the National Association of Realtors, first-time buyers closed approximately 36 percent of the 6.5 million existing-home sales in 2006. Which meant that approximately 2.3 million renters became buyers in 2006.

There is also a flow in the opposite direction where homeowners become renters. In 2006, 1.9 percent of existing mortgages entered into foreclosure. This means that approximately 900,000 homeowners left their homes and became renters. Using these two measures, first-time homebuyers and foreclosure starts, we can see that the flow into homeownership was strong and the flow out of homeownership was weak in 2006.

This trend greatly changed during the housing market crash. At the height of the recession in 2009, the foreclosure rate rose to historically high levels and first-time homebuyers fell drastically. That same year, nearly 2.8 million homeowners left their homes after entering into foreclosure and became renters.

Mortgage companies have since offered assistance to first-time homebuyers to ensure the housing market stays on the right track. For example, many mortgage companies offer first-time buyers the ability to obtain a mortgage with less than a 20 percent down payment. Mortgage companies have also tightened their grip on mortgage lending criteria for obtaining a home loan. Lending companies’ historically reckless lending practices played a big role in the housing market crash.

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Does Florida Law Protect Inherited IRA’s?

February 8, 2016 Posted by kingcade

In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was enacted to protect Individual Retirement Accounts or IRA’s from being seized by bankruptcy courts. Most states’ bankruptcy courts allowed inherited IRA’s to be protected from seizure as well, until a 2014 ruling by the Supreme Court.

The 2014 case of Clark v. Rameker set a precedent when the Supreme Court ruled that federal law does not protect inherited IRA’s because the holder of the IRA cannot invest new money into the account; can withdraw the entire balance at any time and use the funds for any reason without penalty; and must take required distributions from the account no matter how far the holder is from retirement.

In addition, the ruling also means that inherited 401(k)s are not protected in bankruptcy court. IRA’s have a $1.2 million cap on the protected amount, however 401(k)s do not have a limit on account balances that are protected.

There are some circumstances where inherited IRA’s may be protected to an extent. Each state is allowed to establish individual exemptions. Florida is one of seven states where all IRA’s are considered a bankruptcy exemption. Under Florida Statute 222.21, IRAs and Roth IRAs are completely protected by debtors in bankruptcy court.  Another exception in most states is if a living spouse is the beneficiary of the IRA, they are allowed to treat it as their own in bankruptcy court and it is therefore, exempt.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures and Delinquent Mortgages Decline in South Florida

February 5, 2016 Posted by kingcade

A report released by CoreLogic revealed that the housing market is improving in South Florida. Both property foreclosures and delinquent mortgages are down from previous years.

The foreclosure rate in Broward County decreased 2.01 percent in November 2015 compared to November 2014. Approximately 2.55 percent of mortgages in Broward County were in foreclosure this year, down from 4.56 percent the previous year.

Palm Beach County had the lowest foreclosure rate at 1.95 percent. This is down from 3.49 percent the previous year. Miami-Dade County’s foreclosure rate dropped from 4.8 percent to 3.12 percent.

South Florida’s rate of improvement was higher than the average rate in the country. However, the actual number of foreclosures remained substantially higher in the area. The national foreclosure rate fell from 1.49 percent to 1.17 percent.

The number of mortgage loans that were at least 90 days delinquent also improved in South Florida and across the country. Broward County’s delinquency rate was 6.29 percent, down from 9.50 percent; Palm Beach County’s rate was 4.75 percent, down from 7.54 percent and Miami-Dade County’s rate dropped from 10.67 percent to 7.25 percent. The average rate across the country dropped from 4.14 percent to 3.25 percent.

The improvements in the market are good news for today’s buyers. Lenders are using a stricter underwriting process to avoid lending to risky borrowers, which experts attribute to the decrease in foreclosures. Property values are on the rise, restoring equity and confidence among homeowners and buyers.

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com