Archive for: ‘January 2018’

More Seniors Struggling with Student Loan Debt

January 17, 2018 Posted by kingcade

More than 5 million people began paying off federal student loan debt between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  And not all of them were young people.

The number of borrowers over the age of 60 with student loan debt has quadrupled over the past decade in the United States.  Of the more than 5 million people, 580,671 of them — or 11.5 percent — defaulted on their loans. This is a slight increase from the previous year’s 11.3 percent and the first time the percentage has increased in the last five years.

Many have accumulated the debt helping their children or grandchildren, either by borrowing directly or co-signing on student loans.  As these borrowers age, it becomes more difficult to afford the monthly payments while also paying for necessary food, housing, prescriptions, and medical expenses.

Seniors living month-to-month on fixed incomes are most likely to default.  When this happens to borrowers 65 and older, a portion of their social security benefits can be seized by the government.  Many seniors who are carrying federal student loan debt are eligible for income-based repayment plans, but student loan servicing companies have not made it easy for borrowers to enroll in these programs or even let them know it is an option.

For Florida seniors 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.

Related Resources:

https://www.dcourier.com/news/2018/jan/12/more-seniors-citizens-have-student-loan-debt/

 

31 Million Americans Believe They Will Never Get out of Credit Card Debt

January 16, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is at an all time high and according to a recent study 31 million (or 35%) of Americans believe they will still owe credit card debt when they die. Americans’ with outstanding credit card debt jumped 13% to $1.02 trillion in November.  Another 33% of consumers with credit card debt do not know when they will be debt free.

Getting out of the debt cycle begins with creating a realistic budget and getting a grasp on your current financial situation.  There are specific ways you can deal with high interest credit card debt.   Once you examine your budget and identify areas you can cut back in spending you can successfully put a plan in place to tackle high interest credit card debt.

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.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/budget-and-spending/2018/01/13/paying-off-credit-card-debt/1023310001/

How long does bankruptcy stay on my credit report?

January 15, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A common question you might have after filing for bankruptcy is how long will it remain on my credit report?  When you file for bankruptcy, it is considered “public record” and is maintained by the court where the case was filed.

Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, bankruptcies can be reported for 10 years from the filing date.  The three major credit reporting agencies will remove Chapter 13 bankruptcies seven years from the date the case was filed.  This type of bankruptcy involves paying some or all of the debt back over time.

Chapter 7 is a more straightforward bankruptcy and eliminates almost all unsecured debts, including credit card debt and medical bills allowing consumers to gain a fresh start financially. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on a consumer’s credit report for up to 10 years.

However, there are ways to speed up the removal process.  Removing a bankruptcy requires filing a separate dispute with each of the three major credit bureaus. This dispute can either be over inaccurate information in your credit report or an inquiry to the credit bureau about how your bankruptcy was verified.  This process is lengthy, but it can be worth it.

While you are waiting for your bankruptcy to be removed from your credit report, make an effort to rebuild and improve your credit.  It is a bankruptcy myth that you cannot rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy.  Make sure you have accurate and positive credit information moving forward.

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 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://blog.credit.com/2013/04/when-can-i-get-a-bankruptcy-off-my-credit-report-65750/

The Most Common Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions

January 12, 2018 Posted by kingcade

If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, you can use Florida bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property.  In addition, residents are provided unlimited exemptions for homestead, annuities, and the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy.

Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country. To use Florida’s exemptions, you must have resided in Florida for at least 730 days before filing your bankruptcy petition. To claim the full value of the homestead exemption in Florida, you must have owned the property for at least 1,215 days before the bankruptcy filing.

Personal Property Exemptions:  

  • Personal property up to $1,000. Personal property can include such items as furniture, art, and electronics. (Art. 10 Sec. 4, Fl. Constitution)
  • Education savings, health savings, and hurricane savings. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.22)
  • Prescribed health aids. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.25)
  • Prepaid medical savings account and health savings account deposits (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.22(2))
  • Tax credits and refunds (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.25(3))
  • Funeral costs per Florida’s Preneed Funeral Contract Consumer Protection Trust Fund (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 497.456)
  • Particular partnership property (Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 620.153, 620.8307)

Florida Motor Vehicle Exemption:

  • Bankruptcy filers can exempt up to $1,000 in motor vehicle equity, more if you are married and filing jointly.

Exemptions for Wages in Florida:

  • Wages of a head of the family are entirely exempt up to $750 per week, or the greater of 75% or 30 times the federal minimum wage.

Pensions and retirement funds are exempt in Florida:

  • ERISA qualified retirement plans and pensions (including 401(k)’s, 403(b)’s, profit sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRA’s, and other defined benefit plans) are fully exempt. (11 U.S.C. Section 522; Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.21.)
  • IRA’s and Roth IRA’s are exempt up to $1,171,650. (11 U.S.C. Section 522(b)(3)(C)(n).)
  • Public employee retirement benefits. (Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 121.131, 121.055(6)(e).)
  • State and County officers and employees retirement system benefits. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 122.15.)
  • Firefighter pensions. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 175.241.)
  • Municipal police pensions. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 185.25.)
  • Teachers’ retirement benefits. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 238.15.)

Alimony and Child Support Exemptions:

Alimony and child support, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor (the bankruptcy filer) and any dependent of the Debtor, are exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.201.)

Exemptions for Insurance Policies and Annuities:

  • The proceeds of a life insurance policy payable to a specific beneficiary are fully exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.13.)
  • The cash surrender value of a life insurance policy and the proceeds of an annuity contract are fully exempt. However, annuity proceeds resulting from lottery winnings are not exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.14.)
  • Disability income benefits are exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.18.)
  • Fraternal benefit society benefits are exempt. (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 632.619.)

Click here to read more on this story.

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 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Don’t Leave these Important Tax Deductions on the Table

January 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Tax time is almost here and with the new tax rules taking effect January 1, it is easy to get confused on what tax deductions you can and cannot include when filing your return. There are several tax breaks the tax reform eliminated for the 2018 tax year, but are still available to claim on your 2017 tax return.  Here are some of the most popular ones and the last year to take advantage of these tax benefits before they disappear.

Personal exemptions. One of the biggest tax breaks to disappear is the personal exemption. Starting in 2018, higher standard deductions, a larger child tax credit, and a new credit for non-child dependents will take the place of the personal exemption. However, for 2017 you can claim a $4,050 reduction in taxable income for every qualifying dependent. This generally includes yourself, your spouse, and children for whom you provide financial support.

State and local income tax deductions.  Some had initially hoped to prepay 2018 income taxes in 2017 to get further use of the deduction, but lawmakers specifically prohibited this.

Property tax deductions. This year will be the final tax year for which property taxes are deductible in full. Starting in 2018, property taxes will be subject to the same comprehensive $10,000 limit on all state and local taxes.

Mortgage interest deduction on home equity loans. The tax reform eliminated the deduction on home equity loan interest. Therefore, 2017 will be the last year that taxpayers can deduct interest on up to $100,000 in home equity debt as an itemized deduction.

Moving expenses. Tax reform took away the right to deduct your moving expenses. In 2018, to qualify, your new workplace must be at least 50 miles further away from your former home than your old workplace was, and you have to work full time at your new location for at least 39 weeks out of the 12 months following the move.

Miscellaneous deductions. These include unreimbursed employee expenses, tax-preparation fees, investment-related legal and accounting fees, and job-search costs.  These expenses are deductible only to the extent that they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

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.