Archive for: ‘February 2018’

What is considered bankruptcy fraud and what are the consequences?

February 23, 2018 Posted by kingcade

When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to list all of your property and any assets you have transferred to others within a particular time period on your bankruptcy paperwork.  Failing to do so can cause you to be accused of bankruptcy fraud.  The relief bankruptcy affords you is a powerful one, and frees you from the burden of overwhelming debt.  However, it does cost your creditors.  Bankruptcy law attempts to mitigate this loss by establishing a bankruptcy ‘estate’ (i.e. – the remaining property) after your exemptions (those assets which are kept to maintain a job and household).

Although, most people who file for bankruptcy are honest hardworking people, some individuals can be tempted to hide property and assets.  Here are some examples that if caught, could be considered criminal:

  • Failing to list all assets on the appropriate bankruptcy schedule;
  • Concealing a property transfer prior to the bankruptcy filing (i.e. – giving a boat or car to a friend or family member);
  • Creating a false document;
  • Destroying or withholding documents, and
  • Paying someone to help hide property from the court.

The consequences of engaging in such activities are harsh. Anyone who makes a knowingly false statement in association with a bankruptcy filing can be assessed fines up to $250,000 and receive up to 5 years in prison. Regardless of your occupation or status in life, if you are found guilty of bankruptcy fraud- you face real consequences, criminal prosecution and even jail time.

Bankruptcy trustees are experts at finding undisclosed cash, property, vehicles, boats, jewelry, antiques, and collectibles. If you are caught trying to hide assets, the consequences are big. Your discharge will be denied, and you will be unable to discharge the debts you listed in a subsequent bankruptcy filing.

If you 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.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-fraud.html

Why Credit Card Debt is Bad for Your Health

February 21, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The economy is improving and with that comes consumer confidence, increased spending and rising credit card debt.  But while household income has grown over the past decade, so has the cost of living.  This has caused many consumers to access lines of credit and utilize more credit cards.  Credit card debt hit its highest point ever in 2017, surpassing $1 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.

Close to 2 in 5 consumers who have been in credit card debt say it has affected their overall happiness, according to a recent study by NerdWallet. One-third said it negatively affected their standard of living, and 1 in 5 said it negatively impacted their health. Still, the average American has about three credit cards and a total balance of $6,375, up nearly 3% from last year, according to Experian’s annual study on the state of credit and debt in America.

There are steps you can take to deal with credit card debt with rising interest rates.  Don’t let your debt cost you another sleepless night. Sit down with an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options in greater detail.  The consultation is free, the relief is real. 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/2018/02/19/why-credit-card-debt-can-bad-your-health/341044002/

Legal Tips to Stop Creditor Harassment

February 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

People accumulate debt for all kinds of reasons, whether it’s going back to school, having a baby, or one of life’s unexpected emergencies.  Regardless of your circumstances, being in debt can be stressful- it can be made even worse by creditor harassment.

The first step is to try to address the issue before it becomes a problem.  Do not ignore the debt and hope it goes away.  It will not.  Tell the creditor you are unable to pay the bill.  You can attempt to settle the debt at a reduced amount or request to be placed on an affordable monthly payment plan.  If these options do not work, you can write a letter requesting that the collector stop contacting you all together.

Another option is to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation to discuss your financial situation in greater detail.  Bankruptcy automatically protects you from further collection activity and is an effective way to stop creditor’s from harassing you.

If you are struggling with debt, know your rights and what debt collectors can and cannot do.  The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.

Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, it is illegal for debt collectors to do the following:

  • Call you repeatedly
  • Contact your employer or neighbors about your debt (they may only contact them to locate you, but may not mention the debt)
  • Call you late at night or at unreasonable hours
  • Call you at work
  • Engage in deceptive conduct
  • Calling you without disclosing their identity
  • Use obscene, derogatory, or insulting remarks
  • Threaten arrest or loss of child custody or welfare benefits
  • Publish your name
  • Use any communication, language or symbols on envelopes or postcards that indicate that the sender is in the debt collection business
  • Threaten repossession without legal right or present intent to do so

If the collection agency has made any of these violations, you may be able to sue them for damages, your attorney fees, plus an additional $1,000.00.

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.legalzoom.com/articles/got-debt-stop-creditors-from-harassing-you-with-these-few-legal-tips

Top 10 Reasons People File for Bankruptcy

February 17, 2018 Posted by kingcade

While it is commonly assumed that people who file for bankruptcy cannot resist the temptation of using credit cards or are self-proclaimed shopaholics, most people go bankrupt for other reasons.  Here are the most common reasons people file for bankruptcy.

  1. Medical debt. Medical expenses account for approximately 62 percent of personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S., according to a recent Harvard University study.  And interestingly enough, the study revealed that 72 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy due to their medical bills had some form of health insurance.
  2. Reduced income. Companies are cutting back on expenses and for many employees that means pay cuts. Less income, combined with an unexpected expense can end in bankruptcy.
  3. Job loss. The sudden loss of a job can quickly deplete ones savings.  Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and 21% live month-to-month.
  4. Credit card debt. This is not always the result of irresponsible spending, but can accumulate due to an unexpected medical expense, illness or job loss.
  5. Divorce. This can mean a significant loss of income and assets for both partners. It can also mean taking on a portion of your partner’s debt if you co-signed on a loan during the marriage.
  6. Unexpected expenses. Emergencies can happen to any one of us, whether your vehicle breaks down, you suffer a debilitating illness or a catastrophic storm damages your home—these events can deplete savings quickly.
  7. Student loans. Even though these are difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, statistics show that student loans account for at least one percent of all U.S. bankruptcy filings, which translates to approximately 15,000 bankruptcies a year.
  8. Utility payments. For many homeowners, the rising costs of utilities- such as heating, air conditioning and electricity- can quickly add up and pave the way to bankruptcy.
  9. Foreclosure. A number of people file for bankruptcy in an effort to save their homes from foreclosure.
  10. Money mismanagement. Money management has become more difficult, thanks in part to inflation.  A combination of poor spending habits and incorrect budgeting can quickly spiral into debt.

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.

A Consumer’s Rights When a Creditor Violates the Automatic Stay

February 15, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The two most powerful tools in the bankruptcy code are the bankruptcy discharge and the automatic stay.  U.S. bankruptcy law defines the automatic stay as an automatic injunction that halts actions by creditors, with certain exceptions, to collect debts from an individual who has declared bankruptcy. Under section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the “stay” begins at the moment the bankruptcy petition is filed.

Automatic stay violations can be accidental or deliberate.  Most of the time, it is the result of timing issues or lack of understanding of the law. When a bankruptcy case is filed, the automatic stay goes into effect immediately, but sometimes it can take a week or more for the creditor to find out about the case.

When timing is of the essence- for example, when trying to prevent a foreclosure from taking place, it is of extreme importance your attorney notify that particular creditor immediately after the case is filed.

It is not unlikely that you will continue receiving phone calls, collection letters or statements demanding payment in the mail.  Even though these are violations of the automatic stay, in these situations it is best to direct all calls to your attorney.  To prove the violation, you will have to show the court that the creditor acted willfully (i.e. – the creditor must know that the action it is taking is prohibited.)

We advise our clients to keep their filing information readily available, so they can provide the case number, name of the court in which the case is being filed, etc. to creditors who continue to call.  If this is documented, and the calls continue, the creditors can be held accountable for violating the bankruptcy automatic stay.

Penalties for Violating the Automatic Stay

The penalties for violating the automatic stay depend on the nature of the violation and whether it was done with deliberate disregard for the bankruptcy filing. Damages can include out-of-pocket costs (e.g. – renting a vehicle to get to work if your car was repossessed); it can also include attorney’s fees and costs for having to bring the motion before the court, and even pain, suffering and mental anguish.

Our firm works to hold creditors accountable for violating the protections allotted by the U.S. bankruptcy laws.  Just last month, our firm’s motion was granted by a Florida judge in a case that held the creditor in contempt of court for violating the automatic stay in a Miami bankruptcy case. The Order directed the creditor to cease and desist all eviction proceedings until further order of the court.  The creditor in this case was also required to pay attorneys’ fees for our firm having to bring forth the motion to enforce the automatic stay to protect our client.

If you are dealing with a creditor you think may have violated the automatic stay, contact your attorney immediately.  An experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney will know whether the contact was innocent in nature or a willful violation worth pursuing.

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/your-rights-when-a-creditor-violates-the-automatic-stay-316196