Archive for: ‘September 2015’

Tampa Bay Judges Crack Down on ‘Serial’ Bankruptcy Filers

September 21, 2015 Posted by kingcade

In the past year and a half, at least 85 Tampa Bay residents have been banned from refilling for bankruptcy, after it became evident that they did so only to save their homes.  Another 25 bay area debtors who have pending bankruptcy cases have been ordered to show cause as to why they should not be categorized as ‘abusive filers.’

Tampa Bay bankruptcy judges have had enough and are cracking down on non-lawyers who have prepared petitions for these serial filers.  To draw in new business, one preparer bragged to prospective clients that he had filed for bankruptcy six times to block foreclosure on his own home.

Debtors already barred from re-filing include:

A Palm Harbor couple who filed for bankruptcy 11 times in eight years to stop foreclosure. The bank got a final judgment against them in 2007, but repeatedly had to cancel foreclosure auctions because of all the filings.

Another Palm Harbor couple who filed 18 bankruptcy petitions over ten years. They had been living free for 12 years before the bank finally got a writ of possession in 2014.

A Safety Harbor woman who has filed seven bankruptcy petitions since 2011, including two in 2015. She has not made a mortgage payment in more than six years.

Bankruptcy judges agree that these serial filers are a ‘drain on the system’ and take time away from the legitimate cases.  Currently, there is no limit as to how many bankruptcy petitions an individual can file.  In all bankruptcy cases, it is true that as soon as a petition is filed, an automatic stay takes effect barring banks and other creditors from trying to collect debts, including mortgage debts.  At the same time, the filer must present an honest and accurate account of assets, liabilities and creditors.

There is a procedure in place to catch anyone declaring bankruptcy for a third time.  Judges can order the debtor to come to court and prove why he or she should not be declared an abusive serial bankruptcy filer.

If you have any questions on this topic 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.

FREE help with credit problems

September 18, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Credit can be confusing, particularly if you are already overwhelmed with debt.   It is important to know that no matter how big or small your financial problems are there are resources available that can help you get back on track.

Credit counselors. Financial counseling agencies do much more than help consumers get out of debt.  Services include a budget and creditor review, housing counseling for those struggling with their mortgage or those hoping to buy a home, a one-on-one review of your credit report and much more!  These services are often free or low-cost and these type agencies always try to accommodate individuals and families with low incomes who cannot afford to pay.

Consumer Websites.  There’s no shortage of information on the Internet, but not all of it is accurate and some of it can mislead consumers.  Below are some quality resources.

  • Information published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Credit.com blog
  • The Consumer Recovery Network
  • CareConnect USA

Bankruptcy Attorney.  If you cannot see a way out of your debt, are receiving frequent calls from debt collectors or are being sued by a creditor or collector you cannot afford to pay, consider talking to a consumer bankruptcy attorney.  Most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free initial consultation / evaluation to assess your financial situation to see if bankruptcy is the best option for you.

Credit Reporting Agencies.  By law, these reporting agencies must explain information in your credit reports that you do not understand.  Additionally, you can contact the bureaus to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your report to dispute a mistake on your credit report.  You can begin the process by getting a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can download a copy of your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Government Agencies.  You can find a wealth of helpful consumer information on the CFPB website, but more importantly, you can file a complaint or tell your story.  You can also search the CFPB complaint database to find out if other consumers are experiencing similar problems.  There are also Do Not Call list registration and resources and tools for stopping robocalls.  Telemarketing scams can cost you money and sometimes can result in new debt you must repay.

If you have any questions on this topic 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/08/29/credit-dotcom-free-help-credit-problem/32328883/

Can I include my payday loans in bankruptcy?

September 17, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Many individuals on the verge of bankruptcy are also trapped in an endless cycle of payday loans.  This popular source of short-term financing is easy to get, but comes with a high price tag.   Finance charges on these type loans can range from 15 to 30 percent.   That is comparable to getting a loan with an annual percentage rate of nearly 800 percent!  It’s easy to see how these loans can quickly spiral out of control.  But there’s good news- payday loans can be included in a bankruptcy filing.  These type loans are considered an unsecured debt and are dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Because of the predatory nature of many payday loans, bankruptcy courts oftentimes have little patience for the demands of these payday lenders.   However, it is important to avoid taking these loans out immediately before filing for bankruptcy.

After filing for bankruptcy, you should avoid taking out payday loans in the future.  Instead, you should consider the following alternative loan sources:

  • Local credit unions
  • Cash advance on a credit card
  • Small loans from family or friends
  • A small loan company
  • A payroll advance from your employer

If you have any questions on this topic 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.totalbankruptcy.com/rules/can-you-include-payday-loans-bankruptcy.aspx

The most important price factor for insurance companies REVEALED!

September 16, 2015 Posted by kingcade

A two-year investigation of more than two billion insurance quotes from companies across the country has revealed that credit history has the biggest impact on the cost of your insurance premium. According to the study by Consumer Reports, the score can take into account what kind of credit card consumers have along with whether they have recently applied for credit.

The car insurance credit score is different from your FICO score and how it figures into your premium varies depending on the insurer and your state, according to Consumer Reports.   The insurance companies are using this score not to predict whether you are a good driver, but whether you will file a claim.

A poor credit score has caused rates to more than double in some states.  For example, in Florida, someone with an excellent credit score had a premium of $1,409.  An individual with a poor credit score had a premium of $3,826.  To put this in perspective, the premium amount for someone with a DWI who had an excellent credit score was $2,274.

Consumer Reports’ research reveals that some insurers are penalizing drivers more for having a poor credit score. If you feel your car insurance company has given you a low score, clearing up inconsistencies on your credit report can help.  You can download a copy of your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

If you have any questions on this topic 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.wral.com/credit-history-revealed-as-most-important-factor-for-insurance-companies-/14887484/

NEW Rules will Boost Credit Scores for Millions

September 15, 2015 Posted by kingcade

If unresolved medical bills are keeping your credit score low, there’s good news.  Changes are coming this fall to Fair Isaac’s FICO Score, which will take a closer look at unpaid medical bills and accounts sent to collections.  Consumers whose only negative mark is from medical debt can expect their credit score to increase by 25 points.

These new rules are far reaching, as more than half of all debt on credit reports is from medical bills, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The changes also expand banks’ abilities to offer loans to borrowers who may not have otherwise qualified.

In July, approximately 64.3 million U.S. consumers had medical debt on their credit reports, according to the credit bureau Experian. Of 106.5 million total consumers with agency collections on their reports, 9.4 million had a zero balance. Under the new credit score system (FICO Score 9), those consumers will not be penalized.

The changes come as a result of an agreement between the three major credit bureaus using FICO scores- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.  In addition, delinquent medical bills will not be reported to credit bureaus for six months.  This is another win for consumers, allowing them time to pay claims and resolve disputes with their insurance company.

While these changes make it easier to qualify for a loan, it is important consumers keep their debt-to-income ratio under 43 percent.   This is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still qualify for a mortgage in today’s market.

The CFPB gives the following debt-to-income ratio example:

If you pay $1,500 a month for your mortgage and another $100 a month for your car loan and $400 for your remaining debts, your monthly debt payments total $2,000.   If your gross monthly income is $6,000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent.

If you have any questions on this topic 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.moneytalksnews.com/new-rules-may-boost-your-ailing-credit-score/