Archive for: ‘December 2017’

Foreclosure Myths Debunked

December 29, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The thought of losing one’s home is scary, and because the foreclosure process can be complicated there are a lot of misconceptions and myths surrounding it.  Here are some common myths disproved.

  1. Foreclosure happens fast. Even though the foreclosure process can happen in as few as 6 months in some states, it is taking much longer to process the average foreclosure. Recently, JP Morgan Chase revealed that their average borrower who loses a home to foreclosure has not made any payments in 14 months nationwide; 22 months in Florida and 26 months in New York. The fact that foreclosure is not happening nearly as fast, gives struggling families who are temporarily down on their luck some time to get back on their feet and figure out a financial plan to save their home.
  2. Buyers cannot get clear title or title insurance on foreclosed homes. Buyers of bank-owned properties in nearly every jurisdiction are protected from later title attacks by foreclosed homeowners by the “bona fide purchaser rule,” under which courts would prefer to simply award cash damages to be paid by the culpable bank to a wrongfully foreclosed-on homeowner, rather than reversing the sale or ownership to the new, innocent buyer.
  3. Having a foreclosure on your credit history means it will take five years before you can buy again. One of the most frequently asked questions from homeowners facing foreclosure or who have just lost their home is how long will it take before they will be able to purchase another home. Until recently, it was assumed that it would take 5 years, minimum, before being able to purchase a new home.  However, borrowers can obtain an FHA loan with the low, 3.5 minimum down payment requirement 3 years after foreclosure. Post-foreclosure buyers need a credit score of 620-640 to qualify for an FHA loan.  A foreclosure itself will diminish a consumer’s credit score by 100-150 points. Former homeowners who want to purchase again need to ensure they have no other late payments or credit dings after they lose their home.

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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Exceptions to Paying Tax on Forgiven Debt

December 28, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you recently had debt forgiven or negotiated down last year, you likely breathed a sigh of relief.  However, if you borrow money from a commercial lender and the lender later cancels or forgives the debt, you may have to include the cancelled amount as income on your tax return, depending on the circumstances. Before you write a check to the IRS, see if you qualify for one of these exceptions to paying tax on forgiven debt.

  • Debts discharged in bankruptcy. If you filed for bankruptcy protection, you do not have to pay tax on the canceled debt.
  • Mortgage debt forgiven due to foreclosure. Originally set to expire after the 2012 tax year, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act protects you from having to pay tax on debt forgiven when you lose your home in foreclosure.  The deadline has been extended several times, most recently in December 2015 to include the calendar years 20017 through 2016.  And in early 2017, a bill to grant another exemption was introduced to Congress.
  • Debts canceled when you were insolvent. This is the most common exception, because debt is generally only cancelled when debtors are “insolvent” (i.e. – completely broke).  This exclusion only applies up to the amount by which you are insolvent.
  • Student loans forgiven after you have worked for a period of time. If your student loans contain a loan forgiveness provision based on service in your profession, do not include the canceled debt as income. In addition, certain federal student loans that were discharged by the U.S. Education Department’s “Defense to Repayment” or “Closed School” discharge process are exempt.  These apply to students at Corinthian Colleges and American Career Institutes Inc.
  • Forgiven interest that would have been deductible. For example, interest on a business debt.  You are not required to pay tax on the portion of the debt due to interest, if you could have deducted the interest if you had paid it.  However, if it was interest on a personal credit card- you must pay taxes on all the forgiven debt, including the interest.
  • Cancellation of debt as a gift. If the cancellation of debt is a gift, it is not income.  Generally, the IRS will believe you if you say the debt payoff was a gift between parties such as family members or friends.
  • Business and farm exceptions. You may not have to pay tax on canceled debt if it was in connection with your farm or if the debts were tied to business real estate and were forgiven when you owed more money than the property was worth.

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 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.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/six-exceptions-paying-tax-forgiven-debt-1282.php

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/home-foreclosure-and-debt-cancellation

What You Can Expect at the Bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors

December 27, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The meeting of creditors, also known as the 341 hearing, is a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee and creditors who choose to attend the hearing.  The trustee is the individual responsible for administering your bankruptcy estate and ensure that you did not leave any assets or property off your bankruptcy papers and your reported income is accurate.

Before the meeting of creditors, it is important that you carefully review your bankruptcy petition with your attorney to ensure every entry is accurate.

Here is what you will need to bring to the meeting of creditors (341 hearing):

  • Your bankruptcy papers;
  • Proof of income;
  • Recent bank statements and investment account information;
  • Your photo id;
  • Your social security card;
  • If documentation was required for any expenses under the Means Test, bring those as well;
  • Additional documentation the trustee requests in the Notice of Meeting of Creditors or required by the local courts.

The meeting of creditors is held in a meeting room, not a courtroom.  The trustee will be there, not the bankruptcy judge and creditors may attend, although in many bankruptcy cases creditors do not show up.  The trustee will swear you in and ask you some of the following questions. You will be required to answer the questions under oath.

  • How did you come up with the value for big ticket items, like your house or car?
  • Do you anticipate receiving any tax refunds?
  • Have you transferred any property within the last year?
  • Does anyone else hold property that belongs to you?
  • Do you anticipate receiving an inheritance or life insurance payout in the future?
  • Will you be receiving any property as a result of a divorce in the next year?
  • Do you have any legal claim for money from a business or another entity?
  • Do you have any possible claim against someone because of a recent accident?
  • Have you made any recent large payments to relatives or creditors?
  • Does anyone owe you money?

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 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:

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/what-expect-meeting-creditors-341-hearing.html

 

How To File For Bankruptcy with Student Loan Debt

December 26, 2017 Posted by kingcade

For consumers struggling with significant debt, filing for bankruptcy may be your best option to provide you with a fresh start. If your debts consist of federal student loans, it is not an easy process to get these discharged in bankruptcy; however, it is possible.

The first thing you must do is to decide whether you will file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the goal is to get unsecured debt wiped out. This means, you have little disposable income available to pay off your debts. If you choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your plan is to get your debts restructured in order to repay some of it. This also means you likely have some disposable income to repay part of your debt.

The most important part of your case when you have student loan debt is that you must prove “undue hardship” to the court. This means that you must prove that you cannot pay back your federal student loans. In order to prove undue hardship, you and your bankruptcy attorney must file a petition called an adversary proceeding, which is unique to bankruptcy involving student loan debt.

In most courts, The Brunner Test is used to evaluate hardship. Below are 3 factors of The Brunner test outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office:

  • The filer cannot maintain a basic standard of living if paying back federal student loans
  • The filer can prove the hardship will last for a large percentage of the repayment period
  • The filer honestly tried to repay the loans before filing

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 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.

Beware of these Holiday Debt Traps

December 22, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The holidays are officially here and if you have some last minute shopping to do this weekend, make sure and avoid these common holiday debt traps.  Last year shoppers took on an average of $1,003 worth of debt, up from $986 in 2015.  The merriment and excitement of holiday shopping can be replaced with anxiety and fear of debt in the New Year.

Keeping up with the Joneses. The pressure to purchase the latest and greatest holiday gifts ranging from expensive electronics to brand new cars all contribute to holiday debt.   From the tree, to elaborate light displays and decorations, if not limited to a budget can all leave you with debt in the New Year.

Hot holiday toy crazes. On average, parents plan to spend $495 per child, according holiday shopping data from Rubicon Project.  When the ‘must-have’ toy items start to run out, prices increase.  Plan accordingly, and budget throughout the year for holiday spending.

Store credit cards. Avoid store credit cards at all costs.  The 10% off the day of purchase can have big consequences if a single payment is missed on one of these cards, such as 29.99 percent APR.

Holiday parties. Hosting hordes of holiday visitors and entertaining guests can cost hundreds of dollars, not only adding to your grocery bill, but your utilities in the month of December.

Indulgent spending. The problem is that many consumers do not plan for holiday spending. Sometimes, they mentally plan to go into debt.  We advise planning ahead for the next season, start checking items off the list in February or in the summer months when fewer people are buying and prices are lower.

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 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:

http://www.wbir.com/article/money/magnify-money/watch-out-for-these-holiday-debt-traps/507-493900752