Category: ‘Bankruptcy Law’

When Is the Right Time to File for Bankruptcy?

July 12, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one.  For some, it can be difficult to get past some of the myths associated with filing for bankruptcy.  Sometimes by waiting, an individual facing a lot of debt can find himself or herself in an even worse situation. So, when is the right time to file for bankruptcy?

A recent study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project and an article from the Notre Dame Law Review highlighted that the longer people wait to file bankruptcy, the more they end up struggling- not only financially, but in their personal lives as well.

The following factors are indicators that you should consider filing for bankruptcy, or at least sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options in more detail.

  • If your debt amount is more than 40 percent of your income. The higher the debt-to-income ratio a person has, the less likely it is he or she will earn enough money to ever pay back the debt;
  • If you are using debt, such as credit cards or unsecured personal loans, to pay for other debts;
  • If your debts include items that can be liquidated in bankruptcy, such as medical debt, credit cards or personal loans;
  • You are using payday loans to help cover necessities before your next paycheck. This is oftentimes a sign your expenses are exceeding your income;
  • If you are forgoing necessities such as healthcare, prescriptions, or food;
  • If the collection calls have reached a breaking point;
  • If you have been threatened with a lawsuit, are being sued by a creditor or your wages are being garnished.

If someone is on the fence as to whether to file for bankruptcy, he or she should schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

If you have questions on this topic or 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Student Loan Borrowers Seeing Some Relief from Bankruptcy Judges

July 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Student loan borrowers are beginning to see some relief in bankruptcy court when it comes to discharging student loan debt. At the start of 2018, the Department released a statement that it was reviewing student loan bankruptcy laws with respect to how difficult it has been for borrowers to receive a discharge of their student loan debt in bankruptcy. Following this statement, some bankruptcy court judges have lessened the standards borrowers are held to when deciding on whether the loan obligation should be discharged.

Since the statement was made by the Department and subsequent request for comments on the current policy, no updates have been given as to whether the Department would be making official policy changes. In the meantime, bankruptcy court judges seemed to have taken a cue from the Department and are now making rulings to make loan repayment terms easier on borrowers for the meantime.

A recent Wall Street Journal report found that judges were more becoming more lenient when dealing with individuals saddled with student loans. Current college graduates are now entering the workforce with well over six figures in student loan debt. Unless these graduates land a job making an income that is comparable to this debt, these individuals soon find themselves unable to make student loan payments. Bankruptcy is meant to provide individuals drowning in debt with a way out, but the current policy with respect to student loan debt has dictated that this obligation stays with the debtor even after a bankruptcy discharge of all other debts.

The study looked at 50 current and former bankruptcy court judges, reviewing bankruptcy cases where the filer had student loan debt. The study showed that a number of the judges were very sympathetic to the cause of the individuals in front of them who were not able to pay their current student loan debt obligations. In fact, many of them understood the struggle all too well with student loan debt since they may also carry debt from law school, or they may be influenced by the struggles they see with their law clerks finishing or graduating from law school. It is estimated that the average lawyer holds just under $120,000 in student loan debt.

These judges are required to follow the legal standard that a borrower must pass the “undue hardship test,” which has traditionally been a strict standard. It has also been a standard that has never been clearly defined by bankruptcy law and has been applied inconsistently from court to court.

Congress has never given a clear definition for what undue hardship consists of, but many courts have used the “Brunner” test to determine what this means.

The Brunner test requires that the borrower show that he or she has made a good faith effort in repaying the debt, that the financial circumstance is such that the person cannot have a reasonable standard of living if he or she has to repay the debt, and this financial situation is likely to continue in the future.

Even though the judges’ hands may be tied by the legal standard, they may seek other, more creative solutions to help the borrowers ease their burdens. They may not be able to completely cancel the debt in all situations, but they have tried to help alleviate some of that burden. In some cases, however, some of the more sympathetic judges have completely cancelled the borrower’s past due debt obligation.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available.  Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://studentloans.net/bankruptcy-judges-taking-it-easy-on-some-student-loan-borrowers/

https://lendedu.com/news/some-judges-push-to-ease-bankruptcy-rules-for-student-loan-debt/

 

U.S. Consumer Debt Increases in the Month of May

July 10, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Recent data shows that U.S. consumer debt rose in the month of May by the most it had in the last six months, showing that Americans were more confident in their spending habits halfway through the second quarter.  The increase was seen in revolving debt, which includes credit card debt along with non-revolving debt like student loan debt and auto loans.

As of May 2018, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010. That means Americans are on track to accumulate $4 trillion collectively in consumer debt by the end of this year. Americans have been accumulating more debt, particularly over the last two years, where consumer credit has grown at a rate of 5 to 6 percent annually.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Miami Residents Carry Second Highest Credit Card Debt Balance in the Country

July 5, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many people and breaking the cycle can be even more of a challenge. While no one specific timeline works for every person when it comes to paying off credit card debt, it can take years of dedication and regular payments above the minimum to finally pay off a credit card. According to a recent study, it takes the average Florida resident around two years to get out of credit card debt.

The study published by CreditCards.com reported that people living in the Miami metro area, which includes both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, carry the second-highest credit card debt balances in the country, second to San Antonio, Texas. Texas was reported as being a state with three of the five cities that reportedly had the highest credit card debt.

According to the study, Florida residents holding this much credit card debt would need an estimated 21 months to pay off the current card balance. Those living in San Antonio were reported as only needing one more month, meaning 22 months, to bring the balance to zero.

The CreditCards.com study reviewed median income across the country to average credit card debt by taking data that was provided through the credit reporting company, Experian. The data looked at high debt burdens when the balance on the card was significantly high as compared to the residents’ income being reported as average or below average.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, San Francisco, a well-known area for residents living with higher-than-average income, was reported as having the lowest-reported credit card debt. The average San Francisco resident can pay off his or her debt in 13 months. The reason that debt can be paid off so quickly is the average San Francisco resident earns enough income to pay off this debt comfortably.

Other cities that reported lower debt burdens included Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The report indicated that the size of the debt was not so much the problem in the Miami area but rather the debt-to-income ratio. \South Florida residents are taking on more credit card debt than they have the income to handle.

The CreditCard.com study is not the first one that had reported that many Miami-area residents suffer from low income and high financial obligations. An additional report recently shows that Miami residents paid the highest proportions of their income on rent than any other area in the nation. In fact, it has been reported that the Miami-area is one of the least affordable places to live in the nation.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have questions on this topic or 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Is It Ever Too Late to Negotiate a Medical Bill?

July 3, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt continues to be a large portion of debt collection proceedings, but many individuals facing large amounts of medical debt may not believe they have rights when it comes to negotiating the bill. For this reason, these individuals may delay contacting the provider to see if the bill can be reduced or if they could be placed on an affordable repayment plan. However, even if the person owing the medical debt waits months or even years to try to make good on the debt, it is usually never too late to negotiate a medical bill.

Properly Reviewing the Bill

Before negotiating a payment schedule or amount, it is always wise to carefully review the billing statement sent to the patient. The provider needs to properly bill for all services provided within a reasonable amount of time, and not doing this can often be seen as a breach of contract. In addition, it should never be assumed that all of the items listed in the bill are correct. It is recommended that the patient review what is listed, check with his or her calendar to make sure that they line up, and if they do not, bring this discrepancy to the attention of the provider. These corrections can be made even after a period of time passes and the bill has remained unpaid.

Negotiating Past-Due Medical Bills and Bankruptcy

It is possible to negotiate a medical bill, even if it is past due. At the end of the day, most of the medical service providers want to receive some type of payment, even if it is a lower amount.

While the company is within its rights to not negotiate on a bill that is past due, it is usually in the best interest of the company to take a reduced payment, than no payment at all.  Medical debt is normally classified as an unsecured debt in a bankruptcy case meaning it is the debt that is discharged at the close of the case. Therefore, it is highly possible the medical company will walk away without receiving any payment if the individual pursues a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

Request Financial Assistance with Medical Debt

Medical providers will often offer financial assistance for individuals who are not able to pay for their medical bills. The company will not become aware of this issue if the consumer simply leaves the bill unpaid. It often helps to reach out and be screened for other programs, including financial assistance or state aid. The assistance can make it possible for the individual to pay off these debts in a manner that is much more realistic for the patient.

Speak with a Consumer or Bankruptcy Law Attorney

Depending on how much time has passed, it is recommended that the individual contact a consumer bankruptcy attorney to see if the statute of limitations has passed for these debts. Every state has a statute of limitations which controls the time period a creditor has to collect on a debt. Florida’s statute of limitations for medical debt is five years. However, if the patient negotiates and begins paying on the debt that falls out of this five-year period, this may revive the statute of limitations and then leave the person open to a lawsuit for the balance of the debt if he or she fails to continue paying. Therefore, it helps to speak first with an attorney regarding the debt before making any other decisions.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney 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 McMaken, 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.