Archive for: ‘November 2015’

High Profile Foreclosure Case moves to Florida Supreme Court

November 30, 2015 Posted by kingcade

The Florida Supreme Court is in the final stages of determining when the clock starts ticking on mortgage foreclosure cases.  In the case of Bartram v. U.S. Bank, the now defunct law firm of David J. Stern filed a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit against Lewis Bartram of Ponte Vedra Beach back in 2006.  Years later, after the law firm shut down, with tens of thousands of foreclosure cases in limbo, U.S. Bank missed a case management conference and its foreclosure case was dismissed.

Thanks to the five-year statute of limitations on mortgage foreclosures, the case was revived and Bartram received another favorable judgment. But U.S. Bank appealed that ruling, and in 2014 Florida’s Fifth District Court ruled in favor of the bank, disregarding Florida’s five-year statute of limitations on mortgage foreclosures.

This was a sad day for struggling homeowners and a victory for the banks in Florida who continue to foreclose on loans that defaulted years ago. Many of those loans are referred to as “zombie mortgages,” or a foreclosure that has been started but not completed.

The issue in this case comes  down to mortgage acceleration. Most mortgage contracts carry an acceleration clause, which allows the lender to sue for the entire loan amount immediately, starting a five-year clock on the foreclosure process. But the Fifth District ruled that the court’s dismissal of U.S. Bank’s lawsuit in 2011 negated the loan’s original acceleration date that had been set in 2006, effectively resetting the acceleration date to 2011.

Two other Florida courts have issued similar rulings that uphold the Fifth District decision, but a court in Miami recently ruled against it, leaving it up to Florida’s Supreme Court to decide.   We will keep you posted – A ruling on this case is expected in the next couple of months.

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.

A WIN for Florida Foreclosure Plaintiffs!

November 27, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Florida homeowners succeeded in getting a judgment in favor of Wells Fargo dismissed, allowing them to reverse a foreclosure action previously in favor of the bank.  The case, Hicks v. Wells Fargo, reached the Fifth District Court of Appeals in the State of Florida.  According to the complaint, the issue turned on the statute of limitations, with the Fifth District holding that the bank’s foreclosure claim was time barred by Florida’s five-year statute of limitations for foreclosure.

The homeowners claim it all began when an initial default occurred on June 1, 2006.  At some point, a prior holder of the note sued to foreclose on Sept. 8, 2006, but the case was voluntarily dismissed in 2008. Then, in 2011, the current note holder (Wells Fargo) sent a notice to accelerate to the borrowers. The second foreclosure action did not occur until 2013, which is seven years past the original default date.

The appellate court agreed with the borrowers that the 2013 foreclosure action by Wells Fargo is “time-barred” by the state’s five-year statute of limitations; however, the bank is not barred from pursuing new or remaining foreclosure claims that fall within the statute of limitations period.

“Despite the previous acceleration of the balance owed in both the instant suit and prior suit, the bank is not precluded from filing a new foreclosure action based on different acts or dates of default not previously alleged, provided that the subsequent foreclosure action on the subsequent defaults is brought within the statute of limitations period,” the court wrote.

So what can be taken away from this case? Florida’s statute of limitations period is sensitive and acceleration actions cannot suffice without a timely foreclosure action. However, not all is lost if a bank fails to file on time, as long as there is a new valid claim to bring forth.

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.

Law School Grad Tries to Discharge Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy

November 26, 2015 Posted by kingcade

A recent law school graduate with close to $300,000 in student loan debt is asking for the U.S. Supreme Court’s help in getting it discharged in bankruptcy.  Courts including the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth circuits are split on what constitutes “undue hardship,” the determining factor as to whether a debtor is eligible for a bankruptcy discharge.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is also on the fence with the issue.

Law school debt has been getting more attention recently.  Lawmakers on both sides have “sharply criticized U.S. law schools” for burdening students with crushing debt and non-marketable degrees, according to Bloomberg Business.

This particular student’s alma mater – Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, FL – has received some negative press about its graduates’ debt.  Those in the 2015 graduating class that had debt (93 percent) carried a balance of almost $163,000. In addition, the median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score for Florida Coastal students was in the bottom 25%.

This student has failed the bar exam for the third time and is living at home with his parents below the poverty line. According to the debtor’s petition, he has struggled with depression and misdemeanor convictions, which make it difficult to find work in the legal field.

It is extremely difficult to prove undue hardship in the Seventh Circuit, without the presence of a serious medical condition, like Alzheimer’s disease or being paralyzed in a car accident.  The bankruptcy laws are supposed to be uniform, but there is a split on what the courts consider undue hardship.

The Eight Circuit uses a “totality of the circumstances test,” which is a more flexible standard.  It allows bankruptcy courts to consider a variety of factors when determining undue hardship.  As a result, if a debtor lives in Arkansas – in the Eight Circuit – like in this case, there is a good chance the high court will grant the certiorari.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, 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.

Tax Scams on the Rise

November 25, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Tax scams are on the rise and small businesses are just as vulnerable as consumers. Authorities report that there have been a rise in calls across the country from scammers claiming to be affiliated with the Internal Revenue Service. In case you are not aware of how the tax scam works, criminals use fear and intimidation practices to coerce victims into sending them money. They basically call victims and leave a threatening voicemail message stating you have a warrant out for your arrest because of a tax violation.

Here is what you need to know to protect yourself and your business from falling prey to this scam.

Get armed with the facts. Remember that these types of scams work on fear and the victims lack of information. Verifying facts is the greatest weapon against these criminals.

Don’t be fooled by professionalism. The scammers sound professional, going as far as to provide phony IRS badge numbers and altering the caller ID numbers to appear as if the calls are coming in from an agency. They also have personal information on their victims to make the scam sound more legitimate.

These tax scams have cost around 4,550 victims more than $23 million since October 2013.  And these are just the ones who report it, many victims of scams are afraid to report the crime, which means the loss is likely much higher.

The IRS has released the following facts regarding how the agency contacts individuals.

1. The IRS does not call and demand immediate payment. The agency only calls after first sending you a bill in the mail.
2. The IRS does not demand you pay taxes without letting you question or appeal the amount you owe.
3. The IRS does not require you pay in a specified way, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. The IRS does not ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. The IRS does not threaten arrest for not paying.

If you receive calls for these types of tax scams, hang up and report it to your local law enforcement agency immediately. You can visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov to get additional information.

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 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.

‘Doctors’ Loophole’ in Student Loan Debt-Forgiveness Helps more Americans than Intended

November 24, 2015 Posted by kingcade

The federal government is getting ready to forgive billions of dollars in student loan debt for doctors and other professionals with expensive educations, under a law designed to help “modestly paid” workers in public service.

At issue is the 2007 student loan forgiveness program that allows borrowers who have made a decade of payments and work for government or nonprofit entities, have the rest of their debt forgiven.  The program was designed to encourage young Americans to pursue traditionally hard-to-fill positions, such as: public defenders, social workers, teachers and modestly paid doctors in underprivileged  areas.

However, the program is helping far more than intended, many of the borrowers being well-paid.  Thousands of workers with expensive graduate degrees are set to discharge five- and six-figure student debt amounts as they approach typically lucrative careers.

The biggest beneficiaries will be med school students, who owe an average of $180,000 upon graduation and are increasingly working for nonprofit hospitals to qualify for the program.  What is being called the “doctor’s loophole,” financial advisors estimate that many will have 80% or more of their original balances forgiven.

The government will not start forgiving loans under the program until 2017, a decade after it was signed into law. But the estimated tab is growing quickly as enrollment surges.  As of September, about 295,000 borrowers in all fields had submitted paperwork and were on track to have debt forgiven under the program, according to the Education Department. That is an increase of 368% from two years prior, likely reflecting growing awareness of the program and a boom in higher-education attainment during the recession. The agency projects a total 600,000 borrowers will have loans forgiven over the next decade.

Supporters of the program note it is achieving the goal of increasing interest in jobs that are tough to fill, like public defender positions.  A surge has been reported in applications for legal positions, partly linked to lawyers hoping to shed their law school debt.

The typical borrower in the program owes between $60,000 and $70,000 in student debt, with 1 in 4 owing more than $100,000, according to a Government Accountability Office report. This suggests most enrollees are workers with postgraduate degrees.  Critics say the program does little to help the millions of Americans who truly need the relief from student loan debt, like those borrowers who did not complete college and have much smaller loan balances or who graduated with degrees that pay far less in today’s economy.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, 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.