Archive for: ‘April 2018’

Household Debt Continues to Climb- Here’s the Categories that have seen the Biggest Jump

April 18, 2018 Posted by kingcade

As a nation, household debt is continuing to increase.  Debt is increasing in all major categories, except for auto loans during the last quarter of 2017.  The two categories with the most significant growth were mortgage debt, which increased by more than $3,000 per household and credit card debt that went up by $250 per household.

The growth in credit card debt can be partially attributed to holiday spending. The last quarter of 2017 credit card debt per household stood at $15,983.  Mortgage debt totaled $178,037 per household.

Credit card debt often comes with high interest rates, which means carrying debt month to month can create significant financial stress.  Carrying this debt for many years can cause thousands of dollars in interest to accrue.  Some quick tips to pay off credit card debt include: Finding out your total balance, doing a balance transfer to stop the accruing interest and powering through the balance (i.e. – take advantage of the interest-free period of your new card).

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If you are struggling with insurmountable credit card debt 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.

Judge Finalizes $25 Million Settlement for Students Who Claim Fraud by Trump University

April 17, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A $25 million dollar settlement in the class action lawsuit against Trump University has been finalized by a judge, providing relief for thousands of former students who attended the now defunct real estate seminar.  Despite its name, ‘Trump University,’ which shut down in 2010, was not a licensed university.  It promised to teach students the “secrets of success” in the real estate industry.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco finalized the settlement after it was first approved by a judge last March following an appeal by Sherri Simpson, a Florida woman who said she spent approximately $19,000 on Trump University workshops. Simpson had wanted to opt out of a class action suit in order to pursue a separate suit against Trump, but the court rejected that.

Just days after the election, Trump agreed to settle three lawsuits filed against his real estate school that argued the program used false advertising and high-pressure sales techniques.  Students were allegedly lured into free investor workshops where they would be sold expensive seminars and told they would be mentored by real estate experts, leading to the loss of thousands of dollars in tuition.

Trump has always denied the fraud claims and said that he could have won at trial, but has said that as President he did not have time because he wanted to focus on the country.

“This settlement marked a stunning reversal by President Trump, who for years refused to compensate the victims of his sham university,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office filed one of the three lawsuits.

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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.

Class Action Lawsuit Brings Hope to Student Loan Borrowers in Bankruptcy

April 16, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A Texas bankruptcy judge has denied a request by student loan giant, Navient, to dismiss a class-action lawsuit accusing the firm of illegally collecting on loans that were discharged in bankruptcy. The decision means the case can move forward and allow the opportunity for an appellate court to consider whether loans historically viewed as exempt from bankruptcy can be discharged.

The ruling is an important one, as the Department of Education is currently reviewing the high standard student loan borrowers must meet to have their student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy.  The case in question focuses on a specific type of private loan debt (i.e. – money loaned to borrowers to pay for unaccredited programs, such as bar exam study courses and K-12 educational expenses).  However, if the appellate court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it could mean that borrowers with similar student loans from other companies could qualify for the same relief.

Before this ruling, bankruptcy courts have determined that the types of loans in question in this case cannot be discharged because they were received as an “educational benefit.”  Recently however, lawyers and judges have started to challenge whether loans to help borrowers study for the bar exam and other similar debts truly fit into the category.

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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.

5 Alternatives to Charging Your Medical Bills

April 13, 2018 Posted by kingcade

If you are like many individuals today facing serious medical bills, it is important to know that you have options.  The rising cost of healthcare, combined with the growing number of Americans without adequate health insurance has led many people to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In fact, medical debt is the No. 1 reason people file for bankruptcy in the U.S.  In 2014 alone, an estimated 40% of Americans accumulated medical debt resulting from a health issue.  Instead of putting medical expenses on your credit cards or worse signing up for a medical credit card, here are some alternatives that can help you stay out of medical debt.

  • Enroll in a payment plan. Certain hospitals and doctor’s offices offer payment plans for low-income patients. This will allow you to work out a payment plan directly with the healthcare provider, pay your bill overtime and avoid interest charges.
  • Ask about charitable funds. If your household income is low enough, you may qualify to have your medical bill completely dismissed.  Some hospitals have money set aside to pay for treatment of patients who cannot afford to pay their bill.  This is especially common in emergency health situations.  However, be warned the paperwork and forms involved is extensive but is worth it in the end.
  • Negotiate a lower amount. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to negotiate a lower bill.  It never hurts to ask.  In some cases, hospitals may agree to settle the debt for less than you owe.
  • Consider taking out a personal loan. If you have exhausted your other options and still need help paying your bill, consider taking out a personal loan rather than using credit cards. If you have good credit and a stable income, you could qualify for a loan with an interest rate as low as 5 percent.

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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.

 

An Inside Look at 83 Million Eviction Records, and what Housing has come to in America

April 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A recent article in the New York Times provided an in depth look at the eviction crisis occurring in America. Nearly one million American households received eviction judgments in 2016 in new data spanning dozens of states. Two years prior, sociologist Matthew Desmond turned the topic of eviction into a national one with his book, ‘Evicted,’ which chronicled how poor families who lost their homes in Milwaukee sank even further into poverty. This problem is not just in Milwaukee, eviction judgment rates for renting households is widespread.

Desmond’s team found records for nearly 900,000 eviction judgments in 2016. Landlords were given the legal right to remove at least one in 50 renter households in the communities covered by this data. And one in five renter households in Richmond, Va., which has one of the highest eviction rates, were threatened with eviction in 2016. Their landlords began legal proceedings, even if those cases did not end with a lasting mark on a tenant’s record.

Most of those evicted never made it to the courtroom.  Some did not appear because their problem seemed hopeless; others did not show because they had no legal representation.  The median amount owed was $686. These cases, sometimes brought in bulk by property managers are settled in minutes when defendants are not present.

Eviction is not just one problem; it often spirals into a number of problems.  Medicaid benefits and food stamps are forfeited by families who often need them the most after losing the permanent addresses where the renewal notices are sent.

To make matters worse, states like Virginia, that have some of the highest rates of eviction lack certain tenant rights available in other states.  In areas like Richmond, Va., many poor African-Americans live in low quality housing projects with no means of escaping it. Many times these individuals are just a car repair or hospital visit away from missing a rent payment.

The process of what happens after the eviction is not any better.  The current court process functions as an arduous rent-collection system, one that attaches attorney fees and court costs to rent checks, and one that saddles even tenants who do not lose their homes with lasting eviction marks on their credit reports.  It oftentimes takes years for families to stabilize after this.

Another downside, the underprivileged tenants are not ensured access to legal aid or protected from steep rent increases, as in some cities and they have no rights to deduct their own repair costs from the rent.  The median amount owed on a public housing eviction was $328, according to Desmond’s data.  The public housing authority, spends on average 50 days turning over the apartments, costing the agency more in lost rent than the unpaid rent cases are often worth.

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Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.