Archive for: ‘December 2017’

4 Tech Tools to Help you Get Out and Stay Out of Debt

December 15, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, household debt has reached almost $13 trillion as of September 30, 2017. If you are hoping to get a handle on your debt in 2018, here are a few tech tools to help you reach your goal.

  1. Make a Payoff Plan: Unbury.Me

Unbury.Me is a free online tool that allows users to create an account, list all of their debt and map out a payment plan to suit their needs. The app allows users to either use the “avalanche” method, attacking the highest interest rate debt first, then moving to the second highest and so on or the “snowball” method, which focuses on the lowest balance first.

  1. Attack Debt Subconsciously: Qoins

Qoins rounds each of your purchases to the nearest dollar, then applying that cash to your student loan or credit card debt. Nearly $1 million in spare change has been saved since the app launched in January 2017. To sign up, you log in and link your financial account to begin saving.

  1. Meet Payoff Goals Via Savings Goals: Digit

A great strategy for paying off debt is being able to do so without having to think about it. Digit is an app that analyzes your spending habits to gauge the right amount of money to auto-save for your goals. It only transfers an amount it thinks you won’t notice and the cash is moved from your checking account to an in-app savings account. You can also set a goal amount for a certain debt and once you have saved that amount, it will notify and congratulate you.

  1. Avoid Future Debt by Rethinking Credit: Debitize

If your goal is to pay off credit card debt, it is a good idea to put your plastic in a drawer and lock away the key until you have reached your goal. If you have paid off your credit card debt or you are hoping to avoid accruing more debt, Debitize is an app that will help you avoid more credit card debt. The app enables users to think of credit more concretely by automatically withdrawing the funds to cover any purchase you make immediately – then paying off the balance on your behalf within a day or two. Users end up with a credit card balance of zero each month.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.

Federal Trade Commission Bans Three Scammers from Posing as Debt Collectors

December 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A settlement has been reached with three defendants who allegedly posed as lawyers and falsely threatened to sue consumers, even have them arrested for failing to pay on debts they did not owe. The settlement resolves an FTC complaint filed in July 2017, alleging that the defendants told consumers they were attorneys or calling from a law firm and that a lawsuit had been filed or would soon be filed against them for an unpaid debt.  We originally wrote a blog on the topic, entitled: FTC Shuts Down Debt Collector for Allegedly Threatening Lawsuits.

The FTC alleged the defendants Hardco Holding Group LLC, S&H Financial Group Inc. and Daryl M. Hall (DBA- Alliance Law Group) threatened consumers with prison time and claimed police would show up at their home and arrest them if the debt was not paid.  The threats and harassment on the so called, “phantom debt” are all a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

According to the settlement order, the defendants are banned from ever participating in debt collection activities, buying or selling consumer or commercial debt, and trading in consumer information related to a debt. They are also prohibited from making misrepresentations about any product or service, profiting from consumers’ personal information obtained from any debt collection activities, and failing to dispose of consumers’ information properly.  The order imposes a $702,059 judgment that will be partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets.

Click here to read more on this story.

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.

Reasons to File Bankruptcy before Divorce

December 13, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Financial stress caused by the way couples view and spend money can ultimately lead to divorce.  If you are facing both of these issues, does it make sense to file for bankruptcy or divorce, first?  The bottom line: Divorce will most likely not make the financial pressure go away, oftentimes it compounds it.

Here are some reasons why you should file bankruptcy before divorce.

You will save money filing jointly. If you are still married, you can file your bankruptcy case together.  This will allow you to pay one court filing fee, one set of documents and scheduling, one meeting of the creditors and one attorney fee.

Filing for bankruptcy together will free you of any liability on joint debt.  If you file for bankruptcy before divorce you will be off the hook for paying joint debt acquired during the marriage.  However, if you file for divorce first and receive a divorce settlement, you may still be responsible for some (or all) of the joint debt.  Essentially, you may have to cover your spouse’s liability.

Filing jointly doubles the exemption amounts.  When you file for bankruptcy, you are allowed to keep some property in order to regain a fresh start.  These exemption amounts are usually limited or capped.  However, if you file a bankruptcy case with your spouse, in most states you and your spouse will each be able to claim a full set of exemptions.

It saves you time. If one spouse files for bankruptcy in the middle of the divorce case, the bankruptcy judge may take jurisdiction of any property settlements, which can cause delays.  Filing a joint bankruptcy will eliminate most (if not all) unsecured debt, such as credit cards, medical bills and personal loans for both spouses, allowing the divorce to go much smoother when negotiating debt and property division.

It reduces stress.  Eliminating debt and reducing financial pressures can in turn reduce stress in the marriage.  If the marriage ultimately cannot be saved, it can help the divorce proceed more amicably.

Keep in mind, if your spouse files for bankruptcy before or during the divorce case and you do not, you may ultimately be responsible for all of the marital debt. This is because your spouse used the bankruptcy case to eliminate his or her liability on your joint debts.

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.thebalance.com/six-reasons-to-file-bankruptcy-before-the-divorce-316343

Reasons to Delay Your Bankruptcy Filing

December 12, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Bankruptcy can be used as an effective tool to take back control of your financial future and get out from under insurmountable debt.  However, sometimes it is best to delay filing your bankruptcy case. Here are some reasons you should do so.

You recently took on additional debt.  If you took on additional debt right before filing, there is a chance that debt will not be discharged in your bankruptcy case.   If you took on the debt knowing you could not repay it or intended to file for bankruptcy, the debt could be considered fraudulent.  Certain debts can be exempt from a bankruptcy discharge.  These include:

  • Cash advances of at least $925 taken out within 70 days before filing bankruptcy;
  • Charges of $650 or more to any one creditor for luxury items made within 90 days before filing bankruptcy.

You recently sold, gave away or transferred property.  If you sold or gave away property two years before filing for bankruptcy, the trustee will scrutinize the transaction.  They do this to prevent the person who is filing for bankruptcy from putting the property in the hands of someone else.  These might be gifts or they may be transferred intentionally to get them out of the bankruptcy case (i.e. – fraudulent transfers).

You expect your income to decrease or your expenses to increase soon.  To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your financial circumstances are applied to the Means Test.  This test compares your income and expenses against national and local norms to determine if you have the means to pay at least a portion of the debt.  The higher your income the more likely you are to have difficulty qualifying for the Means Test.   Sometimes depending on your financial circumstances and the timing, it might make sense to wait until the figures used to calculate the Means Test are most favorable.  It is important to work with a professional who has the skill and experience to evaluate all aspects of your financial situation and to build a strategy for your bankruptcy case that meets your specific needs.

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.thebalance.com/four-reasons-to-delay-filing-your-bankruptcy-case-316336

Wells Fargo Faces Penalties over Ignoring Student Loan Debt Included in Bankruptcy

December 11, 2017 Posted by kingcade

An important legal victory was recently obtained for a borrower attempting to discharge a student loan debt.  Ryan, the consumer, filed for bankruptcy and following the bankruptcy Wells Fargo Bank sued Ryan and obtained a state court judgment to collect on the debt.

Ryan had attended Capella University, a for-profit school.  In the case, Educational Financial Services, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, made the argument the loan was not actually discharged in the 2007 bankruptcy.  When Wells Fargo sued Ryan in State Court to collect on the student loan debt they made no mention of Ryan’s previous bankruptcy and discharge.

Ryan felt pressured to enter a consent judgment over the debt in 2008 and made monthly payments of $150 on the loan for the next seven years.  Frustrated, he sought legal help to reopen his previous bankruptcy case and his attorney raised the valid point, “that the loans from Wells Fargo were discharged by operation of law on November 29, 2007, because the loans were not a student debt protected by any subsection of Section 523(a)(8).”

The issue at hand was if Ryan’s discharge had been violated because the loans were not student loans under Section 523(a)(8).

“Given Wells Fargo’s actual and constructive knowledge of the timing of the Plaintiff’s loans, the “cost of attendance” at Capella University, and the nature of the Loans it extended to the Plaintiff, Wells Fargo knew or should have known that the Loans were discharged in the Plaintiff’s bankruptcy,” the complaint states.

The Judge ruled that even though Ryan had previously repaid the debt through the State Court judgment he was not prevented from reopening his bankruptcy and filing an adversary proceeding to rule on the discharge of his non-protected private student loan debt.

This is why it is important for anyone who includes student loans in a bankruptcy to pursue an adversary proceeding to get a ruling on the dischargeability of the loans, a key step which is often overlooked.

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, 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.