Archive for: ‘November 2014’

Common Filing Concerns & Bankruptcy Exemptions

November 24, 2014 Posted by kingcade

One of the most common concerns people have when filing for bankruptcy is that they will lose everything. At Kingcade & Garcia, we understand these concerns and want to put your mind at ease. Since 1996, we have helped more than 15,000 Miami-Dade County clients handle their Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

Bankruptcy laws were created to give hard-working people a fresh financial start. Whether you have fallen on hard times as a result of a sudden illness, divorce and / or unemployment, federal bankruptcy laws were created to help consumers and families get back on their feet and provide relief from burdensome debt.

A common question people have about bankruptcy is: What assets will I be able to keep? Many people are mislead to believe that bankruptcy can only make problems worse by causing them to lose their home, vehicles or their ability to ever qualify for credit, again. This could not be further from the truth.

In fact, those filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can keep almost everything.  Depending on your specific case, Florida bankruptcy laws allow you to keep the following:

• Homes
• Cars
• Retirement accounts
• Pensions
• Wages
• Personal property
• Savings
• Veterans or workers’ compensation benefits

If you have any questions on the topic of bankruptcy exemptions or are in a 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.

Ocwen Financial Corp. Accused of Illegal Foreclosure Practices

November 19, 2014 Posted by kingcade

There were 700,000 foreclosures nationwide last year and some of those didn’t need to happen.  Even six years after the housing market crash, mortgage companies are still making mistakes and foreclosing on homes when they should not be.  Ocwen Financial Corp., one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, is under investigation in a new lawsuit over its treatment of homeowners facing foreclosure.  The class action lawsuit alleges Ocwen has been charging mark-ups, illegal fees and unfairly pushing homeowners into foreclosure.

This is ironic; because for years Ocwen has claimed to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.  They even trademarked the slogan, “Helping homeowners is what we do!”

The case has been filed in a federal court in Florida and is seeking class-action status.   The lawsuit alleges that Ocwen is charging illegal fees.  Ocwen, oftentimes follows a pattern, usually beginning with a small problem, a mix-up with an escrow account or a homeowner simply misses a few payments.

Ocwen has charged plaintiffs late fees that it was not permitted to charge under the terms of the mortgage agreement.  The suit claims Ocwen also forced upon borrowers a second insurance policy through one of its own affiliates, and alleges that the company has been improperly steering profits to itself through this affiliate company.

One exhibit in the lawsuit is a plaintiff’s monthly statement asking for a payment of $73,000. Documents show that regulators are looking into thousands of loan-modification letters that likely caused homeowners “significant harm” because Ocwen back-dated them. Back-dating the letters made it look like the homeowners had missed their opportunity to avoid foreclosure.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.npr.org/2014/11/18/364131391/firm-accused-of-illegal-practices-that-push-families-into-foreclosure

Consumer Protections: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act & Florida’s Wage Garnishment Exemptions

November 17, 2014 Posted by kingcade

When you are struggling to make ends meet financially, it can be frustrating to have debt collectors calling you or even worse, having your wages garnished. A strong federal law, called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, protects consumers against certain unfair collection practices, which include:

• Calling you repeatedly to annoy or harass you.
• Trying to collect more than you owe.
• Fail to send a written notice of the debt.
• Threatening violence.
• Threatening dire consequences (i.e. – lawsuits, criminal prosecution, wage garnishment, jail time, permanently ruining your credit).
• Using profanity and abusive language.
• Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
• Revealing debt to third parties (i.e. – family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.).
• Contacting you at your work, after you have requested them to stop.
• Failing to verify disputed debts.
• Ignoring cease communication requests.

Following the 2008 recession, Florida legislatures have made changes in the laws to help individuals and families struggling to keep their homes and stay out of debt. Under Florida Statutes Section 222.11, there are specific exemptions laid out for those who are having their wages garnished by creditors, the IRS and hospitals.

Section 222.11 provides exemptions from wage garnishments if:

• You are the head of the household and earn more than $750 a week in disposable income (unless the person agrees to this in writing).
• If you are exempt from wage garnishments, your accumulated income deposited in a financial institution is also exempt for six months after the deposit.
• Any persons not considered “head of the household” are also exempt from having 75 percent of their earning garnished (over six-month period).
• If the head of the household does earn more than $750 a week in disposable income, creditors cannot garnish wages unless they receive written permission specified under the statute.

If you have any questions on the topic of wage garnishment 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, 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.

Related Resources:
http://blog.credit.com/2011/04/eleven-ways-a-debt-collector-may-be-breaking-the-law-18624/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o-ci9nVEgA

Medical Debt Responsible for the Majority of Bankruptcy Claims in the U.S.

November 12, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Consumers may be surprised to find out that it is not credit card debt that is the leading cause of bankruptcy, but medical debt. According to a recent study, Americans pay three times more in third-party collections from medical debt each year than they pay for bank and credit card debt combined. This year alone, approximately 51 million Americans will be contacted by a debt collection agency about a medical bill- that’s roughly one in five! This means more than $1 out of every $3 paid to third-party collectors is for medical debt.

The study conducted by NerdWallet Health also indicated that many of the people who are facing medical debt are being mistakenly overcharged. In fact, the study found hospital billing errors with overages of up to 26%. These billing errors were even more prominent with Medicare patients.

The study highlighted that Medicare Compliance reviews conducted by the Office of the Inspector General found that none of the hospitals they audited fully complied with Medicare billing requirements, with nearly half (49%) of the Medicare claims containing billing errors.

Considering that American households have lost $2,300 in median income, while health care expenses have increased $1,814, it would be wise for American consumers to take more initiative in understanding their health insurance packages. Out-of-pocket spending on healthcare is expected to accelerate to a 5.5% annual growth rate by 2023. That is double the growth of GDP.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a step in helping consumers avoid medical bankruptcies, by eliminating the underwriting process and subsidizing healthcare health care for those who would otherwise be uninsured- it can cause problems for individuals and families who choose the wrong plan.

According to health care experts, the average deductible for a silver plan can be upwards of $3,000 for an individual or $6,000 for a family — and that is just for in-network care. While 2015 out-of-pocket expenses are capped at $6,600 for an individual and $13,200 for a family, plans may impose separate out-of-pocket maxes — or have no max at all for out of network doctors and hospitals. Given the narrow network of approved providers within these plans, it becomes a likely scenario that an individual will at one point accidentally visit an out-of-network doctor or clinic and then be stuck with a large bill.

It is important consumers know that the ACA offers an external appeals process for health plan decisions, which provides recourse to individuals who face large medical bills after undergoing medical care that was not covered by their health insurance plan. A recent study in California even found that nearly half of such insurance denials were overturned in favor of the patient after review by an external board.

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, 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.

Related Resources:
http://www.mainstreet.com/article/medical-debt-is-responsible-for-the-majority-of-bankruptcy-claims-in-the-us

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/can-file-bankruptcy-eliminate-medical-bills.html