Category: ‘Debt Relief’

New Rule makes it Harder for Medical Debt to Impact your Credit Score

October 5, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Consumers are getting some good news when it comes to their credit scores.  A new set of rules have taken effect this week that will make it more difficult for medical debt to damage your credit score, it will also not hurt your chances of qualifying for new credit.

The three credit reporting agencies now have to wait 180 days before putting an unpaid medical bill onto your credit report.  Going back and forth with your insurance company over an outstanding medical bill?  Unpaid medical bills that later get paid by your insurance must be removed from your credit report as well.

This new rule builds additional time between patients and insurance companies to resolve such matters.  Up until this point, there was no grace period and medical debt could appear on your credit report as soon as it was reported as an unpaid debt.  Medical offices tend to do this on their own schedule, sometimes as early as 30 days, while insurers may take longer to fully process claims.

The new waiting period carves out time for patients, their doctors, and insurers to work through legitimate grievances, and makes it harder for unpaid bills to hurt your credit score.  It also allows much-needed time for those suffering from illness and injury to sort out who owes what.

Credit bureaus have taken steps to remove medical bill collections that are less than 180 days old.  One out of five credit reports contain overdue medical debt, according to a 2014 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That means 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt negatively affecting their credit.

If you are on a fixed income or struggling financially, letting the medical provider know you are not able to pay will give them a reason to offer you a discount or be placed on a reasonable payment plan.  If you cannot pay, tell them why you cannot pay.  Some states require hospitals provide free or reduced care to consumers within certain income limits.  Florida is one of these states.

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.

Debt Settlement vs. Filing for Bankruptcy: The Pros and Cons

October 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you are having trouble affording your monthly expenses and are in over your head in debt, you may consider reaching out to a debt settlement company to alleviate some of the burden.  The commercials are appealing enough, touting promises of getting your debt negotiated with the lender for a fraction of what you owe.

Here’s how a debt settlement works and some of the risks involved:

The process starts by explaining your financial situation to the debt settlement company. You provide the names of the creditors and the amount you owe. The debt settlement company then gives you an estimate for reducing your debt along with a new lower monthly payment. As advised by the settlement company, you stop paying your creditors and instead send payments directly to the company.

The debt settlement company puts your monthly payments into a savings account. Once the account has grown to a certain amount, the debt settlement company calls your creditors and begins negotiating a settlement.  If the creditor agrees to a settlement amount, the settlement company pays the creditor and assesses a fee for the settlement.

Creditors typically do not settle debts until they are a few months past due, which means if you have not already done so you must stop paying on your accounts and allow them to become past due.  During this time, late payments will be reported to credit bureaus, your credit score will drop and you will begin receiving collection calls.  Late payments will remain on your credit reports for up to seven years and during this time you will have difficulty qualifying for new credit.

Debt settlement companies typically tackle the smallest debts, first which means your larger debts will continue to accumulate interest and additional fees. Add all that interest you are accumulating to the fees and you do not really end up saving much.  If you are unable to meet the terms of the debt settlement, ignore the debt or try and repay the debt and ultimately fail you run the risk of being sued.

Many consumers who have researched debt settlement options should also consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which erases credit card balances, medical bills, personal loans and other unsecured debts in three to four months.  Filing for bankruptcy will impact your credit score more than a debt settlement, but it legally erases the debts and prevents creditors from filing a lawsuit against you.

If you have any 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, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.thebalance.com/the-dangers-of-debt-settlement-960622

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-montalk-20171001-story.html

Lennar Offers Millennials Unique Mortgage Opportunity that Helps Pay off Student Loan Debt

September 29, 2017 Posted by kingcade

It’s no surprise that the amount of student loan debt many Millennials have, has been holding them back from purchasing a home.  A National Association of Realtors (NAR) study showed that only 20% of Millennial respondents own a home, while the majority of them carry an average student loan balance of $41,200, which exceeds their average annual income of $38,800.

Among the Millennials surveyed who do not own a home, 83% said that their student loan debt affected their ability to purchase a home.

Eagle Home Mortgage, a mortgage lender and a subsidiary of Lennar, announced this week that it will offer a new mortgage program that will help home buyers pay off their student loan debt. Eagle Home Mortgage’s Student Loan Debt Mortgage Program offers borrowers as much as $13,000 that can be used to pay off student loan debt.

Here are some of the program’s terms and conditions:

  • Borrowers who use Eagle Home Mortgage’s Student Loan Debt Mortgage Program can direct up to 3% of the purchase price to pay their student loans, but only if they purchase a new home from Lennar.
  • Borrowers must meet credit and income requirements when using the Student Loan Debt Mortgage Program, and can qualify for loans with down payments as low as 3%.
  • The program is not intended for parents who took out loans to finance their child’s education.
  • The program’s maximum loan amount is $424,100, but Lennar said that in addition to the 3% contribution to student loan balances, buyers may also be eligible for other incentives – such as credits toward closing costs.

According to Lennar, the homebuilder will contribute up to 3% of the purchase price of a new home to be used to pay down student loans incurred while attending universities, colleges, community colleges, trade schools and other certificate-granting programs.  The Student Loan Debt Mortgage Program is being offered on a trial basis with new Lennar homes nationwide.

Click here to learn more about the program.

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. 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, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.housingwire.com/articles/41396-lennar-targets-millennials-with-mortgage-that-pays-off-student-loan-debt

Hurricane Relief Options Available for FHA Mortgages

September 28, 2017 Posted by kingcade

South Florida homeowners are receiving a much needed break when it comes to their mortgages, following the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.  Lenders are offering financial relief in the form of freezing foreclosures, putting mortgage payments on hold and offering special financing options to rebuild damaged homes in the area.

Our office has been getting a number of calls about this and we want to clarify the relief options available and steps you can take to qualify for these government programs.

  1. Call your lender directly. This is the safest route to confirming that an assistance offer is the real thing.  Before the call, gather as much information about your financial situation and mortgage as possible.  It is important that you tell the lender what you can afford to pay and your current financial situation.
  1. Know your options. Many homeowners who have been affected by Hurricane Irma are eligible for forbearance, which means the lender will suspend payments for up to 12 months (especially if you have a government-backed mortgage through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac). You will not incur late fees or have a delinquency reported to any of the major credit bureaus. Many lenders are currently offering 90 days of mortgage forbearance in affected areas Florida, with an option for some homeowners to extend further based on their situation. If you have a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, you are eligible for forbearance, a loan modification or a 90-day delay in foreclosure, to allow you to get current on your payments.
  1. Proceed with caution. Be cautious of calls from people claiming to offer mortgage relief on behalf of a government agency, or asking for fees upfront for a loan or service. Unfortunately, this has also provided an opportunity for scammers to come forward using social media and cleverly crafted emails to prey on vulnerable homeowners in financial need. Know this: Government employees never charge you a fee to help get you a benefit or service and will never ask for your payment or financial information.

 

Here are some additional FHA Programs available for hurricane victims:

  • HUD recently granted a 90-day suspension on foreclosures for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration. There are more than 280,000 FHA-insured Florida homeowners living in these impacted counties. For more details call: 1-800-569-4287.
  • For homeowners or renters who have lost their homes, HUD’s Section 203(h) program gives FHA insurance to disaster victims who have to rebuild or purchase another house. The loans come with no down payment and greater forgiveness of low credit scores. For more details call: 1-800-569-4287.

 

If your lender is not proactively offering forbearance or other help, you can go directly to the websites of the Federal Housing Finance Agency or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to see what type of relief you might qualify for, and bring this up to your lender.

We hope and pray you and your family made it through the storm safely and our community is quickly restored. During this time of recovery, our office is open and we are here if you need us. If you have any 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, 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 McMaken, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/hurricane-victims-can-get-a-break-on-mortgage-payments/

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/weather/hurricane/os-hurricane-irma-aid-20170914-story.html

Motion Denied After Creditor Attempts to Reopen Miami Bankruptcy Case and Seize Home

September 26, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade and associate Kristina Gonzalez of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. achieved a recent victory for their clients after a creditor, Bank of New York Mellon (“BONY”), attempted to re-open their 2009 bankruptcy case and compel the surrender of their Miami home.

“With this ruling, I am pleased to announce that my clients will be able to keep their home.  BONY made the decision to abandon its foreclosure efforts and enter into modification negotiations with my clients. It was seven years after my clients received their bankruptcy discharge, five years after the initial foreclosure was dismissed and only after those modification efforts proved unsuccessful that they filed the second foreclosure, based on new post-bankruptcy discharge defaults,” Timothy S. Kingcade said.

BONY waited more than a year after the second foreclosure was filed to seek to reopen the bankruptcy case, and only filed the motion when the bankruptcy debtor filed an action in District Court against the creditor’s loan servicer, Specialized Loan Servicing, for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In a consumer win for bankruptcy clients, the Honorable Laurel M. Isicoff ruled that there was “no purpose” in re-opening the bankruptcy case because the debtors’ decision to surrender the property was not binding in the subsequent foreclosure action.

Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade practices exclusively in the field of bankruptcy law, handling Chapter 7 and 13 filings and foreclosure defense cases for the Southern District of Florida.  As an experienced CPA and proven bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of their rights under the bankruptcy laws to restart, rebuild and recover.

Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade Garcia McMaken P.A. specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

Related Resources:

http://www.flsb.uscourts.gov/Opinions/LMI/09-30656Kurzban.pdf