Archive for: ‘March 2018’

Steps to Take if You Want to Buy a Home after Bankruptcy

March 21, 2018 Posted by kingcade

After filing for bankruptcy, you are going to want to begin rebuilding your credit as soon as possible.  You can start by checking your FREE annual credit report on AnnualCreditReport.com to get reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Your report may show late and missed payments on credit cards, mortgages and credit accounts you may have opened or closed.  Bankruptcy provides you with a clean slate, which means you have a second chance to pay your bills on-time and in full.

If your credit score is in the low 600s, your credit is still too low for most decent loans with good terms, but you can work quickly to get it back up in the mid-700s.

After bankruptcy, when accessing and utilizing credit again, keep your credit card balances relatively low compared to the card’s limit.  For example, less than 30% is typically advised while using just 10% of the available credit is even better.

Once your credit score improves, you can then find the right mortgage lender, real estate agent, and the right attorney to move forward with the purchase of your new home.

Still not convinced?  A testimonial from one of our clients in regards to their credit score after filing for bankruptcy.

My credit score said on all three reports 775, I couldn’t believe that I had such a great score before 10 years. Tim for me was the best move I have made for my situation. I have no regrets, I am glad the past is the past. – Bill T.

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.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2018/03/05/financial-steps-to-take-if-you-want-to-buy-a-home-after-a-bankruptcy/?utm_term=.83d7fe172cc1

Will Student Loans Be Discharged In Bankruptcy Under Trump Administration?

March 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

For years, the fact that student loan debt stayed with bankruptcy filers kept individuals sinking in personal debt from filing for bankruptcy. That may all change with a recent statement made by the current administration.

According to the Department of Education, the possibility of borrowers having their student loans discharged in bankruptcy is becoming more of a reality. In fact, the Department is opening comments with respect to individuals requesting an undue hardship discharge of their student loan debt in bankruptcy.

Student loan balances have sky-rocketed over the past few years to an all-time high of $1.4 trillion. The average balance held is now at $34,144, which has gone up 62 percent over the past ten years.

As of September 30, 2017, approximately 4.6 million student loan borrowers were in default on their loans.  The Department of Education now has the national student loan default rate at somewhere over 11 percent. To be in default, a borrower has to have missed making monthly payments for 270 days.

Of course, the fact that the Department is opening the comment period does not guarantee a policy change, but at the least, the Department is interested in hearing what borrowers have to say.

Currently if a borrower is facing issues with student loan debts, the first steps he or she is recommended to take is to postpone payments with either a deferment or forbearance. A deferment will let the borrower put the loan on hold for a period of up to three years, allowing them to catch up on other debts. However, the borrower does have to qualify for a deferment, and if he or she does not qualify, a deferment allows the borrower to at least temporarily suspend student loan payments for a period up to one year. This allows some temporary relief in terms of the large payments student loans often incur, but remember during this time the interest on the loan will continue to accrue and be added to your total balance.

If deferment and forbearance are not options, working with the lender on an income-based repayment plan can allow the borrower to pay a percentage based on his or her income, rather than a flat rate. However, even this option requires the borrower to be at a certain income level.

Student loan discharge is not currently a complete impossibility, but it is an uphill battle. Two legal tests are currently used by courts to determine if a borrower qualifies for student loan debt forgiveness in bankruptcy. Under the Brunner test, the borrower has to be at a certain poverty level such that he or she cannot maintain a minimal standard of living for himself or his or her dependents, the financial situation is likely to persist for a significant period of the repayment period and the borrower has made good faith efforts in repaying student loans. The Totality of the Circumstances test allows courts to look at all relevant factors in the case to determine if forcing the borrower to repay back his or her student loan would be an undue hardship. Both tests require the borrower present evidence and testify in bankruptcy court to get the student loan debt discharged.

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.

What happens if a creditor tries to collect on a debt during my bankruptcy?

March 16, 2018 Posted by kingcade

After you file for bankruptcy, creditors are not allowed to contact you regarding any debt you owe; they must deal only with your attorney.  The protections allotted by the bankruptcy automatic stay prohibit all collection activity, including legal action, wage garnishment, even contact by phone or mail in an attempt to collect on a debt.

There are a few exceptions. For example, the automatic stay does not stop criminal cases, some child support actions, and certain eviction cases. The automatic stay also does not apply to debts incurred after the bankruptcy case was filed. Here’s how to determine if a creditor violated the automatic stay and what you can do if a creditor continues trying to collect a debt.

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. You have several options if a creditor continues to pursue a debt in violation of the automatic stay.

Tell the creditor about your bankruptcy. Most debt collectors will stop contacting you if you tell them this.  Many times the debt collector is unaware of your case.  For example, if a collector garnishes your wages after the bankruptcy case is filed, it must immediately return the money.

Notify the bankruptcy court. If the collection attempts continue, the next step is to notify the bankruptcy court. The court can sanction the collector for violating its automatic stay order.

File a lawsuit. If a debt collector continues to try and collect on the debt, it may not only be violating the automatic stay but also other state and federal laws including, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Our firm works to hold creditors accountable for violating the protections allotted by the U.S. bankruptcy laws.  Recently, 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.

U.S. Credit Card Debt Exceeds $1 Trillion for the First Time

March 14, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Consumer credit card debt in the United States has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time, according to a recent study by WalletHub.  The average U.S. household owes $8,600 on credit cards. Florida is in the top 5 states with the highest credit card debt burden, according to CreditCards.com.

Financial experts attribute this increase to consumer confidence.  In the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, consumers added $67.6 billion while the charge-off rate remained at historic lows.  Charge-off rate refers to the percentage of credit card users whose unpaid balances credit card companies are unable to collect.

Household indebtedness in the fourth-quarter rose to $13.15 trillion from $12.96 trillion in the third quarter, an increase of 1.5 percent. Mortgages accounted for the largest component of household debt, according to a quarterly report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In addition, the average credit score for U.S. consumers has declined.  It is now 675, just four points lower than the average in 2007, according to consumer credit reporting agency Experian.

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, 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.

 

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Have Substantial Medical Debt

March 13, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt is a leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States.  Even if you recover from the illness, the medical debt can remain.  This can be made even worse by constant calls from debt collectors.  If you are struggling with medical debt, you are not alone.  Nearly one in five Americans has delinquent medical debt on their credit reports.

Many times this medical debt can be bought and sold for pennies on the dollar. For example, a collection agency can spend ten dollars to purchase $1,000 worth of debt. Yet, the collectors will still attempt to get the full amount from people who owe the debt.

You may be tempted to ignore a medical debt lawsuit and hope it goes away, but this is one of the worst things you can do because the debt collector will automatically win by default.  There are steps you can take if you are facing a medical debt lawsuit.

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.