Archive for: ‘February 2018’

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

Millennials Slower to Pay Down Medical Debt

February 14, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A recent study by TransUnion revealed that millennials pay medical expenses at a lower rate than Gen X or baby boomers. The study did a comparison of credit data and it revealed five key findings.

  1. Millennials use fewer credit cards than Gen X consumers. In fact, their use of private label cards is 23 percent lower than Gen X consumers, while their usage of bankcards is 22 percent lower.
  2. Millennials prefer to make every day purchases using cash and debit cards, according to TransUnion.
  3. When it comes to credit cards, subprime millennials carry a serious delinquency rate of 23 percent, which is lower than the Gen X rate of 28 percent.
  4. Millennials tend to pay medical bills at a slower pace compared to other generations, according to TransUnion. The study found 74 percent of millennials did not pay their medical bills in full in 2016, a 6 percent increase from 2015. That compares to 68 percent for Gen X consumers and 60 percent for baby boomers.
  5. Millennials’ slower rate of paying medical bills is occurring in a healthcare environment where patients are taking on more financial responsibility for their care. The study found healthcare provider revenue collected directly from patients increased from less than 10 percent to more than 30 percent over the last 10 years.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney 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

Auto Loans in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy- Can you keep your Vehicle?

February 13, 2018 Posted by kingcade

If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be wondering whether you will be able to keep your vehicle.  Fortunately, it is possible to keep your vehicle and file for bankruptcy- even if you are still financing it. People with car loans have three options under Chapter 7 – they can reaffirm the debt, redeem or surrender their vehicle.

If you choose to reaffirm your car loan, you agree to continue making payments on the loan.  You will need to fill out a Chapter 7 Individual Debtor’s Statement of Intention that lists your secured debts.  Continuing to make on-time payments on the auto loan after bankruptcy will help rebuild your credit score quickly as these payments will be reported to the credit agencies.

If you choose to redeem your car, this will mean coming up with the money to completely pay off the loan.  This option is oftentimes the most difficult of the three.

Surrendering the car allows a borrower to return the car to the lender in bankruptcy.  This is a viable option if you realize you are not able to make your monthly payments and the auto loan has become too burdensome or you are upside-down on your auto loan. This option can essentially give you a second chance with a less expensive, more affordable car payment.

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.bankrate.com/finance/debt/keeping-your-auto-car-loans-in-bankruptcy-1.aspx