Archive for: ‘June 2018’

Why Waiting to File Bankruptcy Can Hurt You

June 21, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one to make. There are a number of myths surrounding filing for bankruptcy, which can oftentimes lead people to wait.  It often can seem like an admission of personal or financial failure, and for this reason, many filers will hold off on filing for bankruptcy for years, allowing their financial issues to only worsen. In fact, the longer people wait to file for bankruptcy, the more likely they will end up struggling, according to a law review study recently published. By the time the individual files for bankruptcy, their personal life and well-being, as well as their financial situation will be damaged to the point where getting a fresh start can be extremely difficult.

Waiting Can Be Draining

The period of time before an individual files for bankruptcy is often referred to as a “financial sweatbox.” The filers are already under an immense amount of stress, are facing debt collector phone calls and lawsuits and are going without basic necessities to avoid the inevitable: having to file for bankruptcy. This “sweat it out” period can end up lasting for years before the person finally comes to the decision that bankruptcy is best for him or her. A recent Notre Dame Law Review piece titled “Life in the Sweatbox” focused on this period of time, showing how waiting it out can be more damaging than making the leap to file for bankruptcy sooner rather than later.

The study used data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which is a long-term academic research project that focus on people who end up filing for bankruptcy, reviewing the reasons why they file, as well as the consequences. The data includes information from approximately 3,200 bankruptcy cases between the years 2013 and 2016. “Life in the Sweatbox” focuses on 910 of the 3,200 filers.

Of those surveyed, over 66 percent of them were determined to be “long strugglers,” meaning they had been in the sweatbox for over two years. Approximately one-third of them waited five years or more to file for bankruptcy. They reviewed statistics from 2007 which showed that the number of people who were “long strugglers” doubled in numbers.

The problem is the longer the people waited, the worse their financial situation became. Those who waited had half the median assets compared to other debtors who did not wait or did not wait as long. In addition, the median debt-to-income ratio of these long strugglers was over 40 percent higher than other debtors. Approximately 50 percent of the long-term strugglers were facing debt collection lawsuits while only 35 percent of the others were facing them.

It was discussed that the stigma that exists around filing is what keeps people from making that decision to file for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy laws provide the ability for debtors to get a fresh start. Prolonging the decision to file only allows for assets to be depleted making it even more difficult for the person to get a true fresh start.

When to File for Bankruptcy

If a person’s debts are more than 40 percent of his or her income, it is recommended that he or she reaches out for financial guidance. Also, if the person is using debt to pay for basic necessities or other debts, this is another red flag that perhaps that person is in over his or her head.

A bankruptcy attorney can review what debts are crippling the individual. If they are unsecured consumer debts, including credit cards, personal loans or medical bills, these can all be wiped out in bankruptcy.  Lastly, if the individual is forgoing basic necessities such as food or medical care, it is highly recommended that he or she discuss options with a consumer bankruptcy attorney.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have 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.

 

 

 

 

New Bill Seeks to Enhance Foreclosure Protections

June 20, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The Mortgage Servicing Fairness Act of 2018, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), aims to protect homeowners against foreclosure and increase the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) oversight of mortgage servicers that conduct business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both of these agencies own or guarantee nearly 60 percent of all mortgage loans.

Waters, who is a ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, introduced the bill on Monday and said the new legislation will strengthen FHFA oversight of servicers who conduct business with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The new legislation will require:

  • Documentation of servicer behavior;
  • FHFA evaluation of the services provided to borrowers; and
  • Will penalize servicer failure to meet minimum standards established by the FHFA.

The bill is supported by the National Consumer Law Center and the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Click here to read more.

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.

Beware of ‘Get Out of Debt Quick’ Scams

June 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Getting out of debt is a goal for many people, and in a perfect world, a ‘get out of debt quick’ offer sounds too good to be true.  However, just like the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, if it sounds too good to be true, odds are it probably is too good to be true.

Debt relief companies prey on consumers who are drowning in debt and going through a great deal of personal stress as a result. While some legitimate debt relief companies do exist, the majority of them are looking to scam individuals who are desperate to get out of debt at all costs and find relief from the numerous collection calls they are receiving.

One of the most important steps an individual can take before choosing to work with a debt relief company is to thoroughly investigate and research the company. With online resources available, as well as review websites, it is easy to find out quickly whether a debt relief company is legitimate or not.

Most importantly, never pay an upfront fee to one of these companies. If the company is requesting this, it is highly likely you will never hear from the company again after the initial fee has been paid. In addition, if the company is guaranteeing that they can eliminate all of your debt that should be a red flag as well. No debt relief company has the ability to guarantee that a creditor will forgive any debt. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has warned against these types of statements. If a debtor comes into contact with a company that makes any of these statements, the FTC encourages the individual to file a report and expose a possible scam.

The main question you should ask is: How much progress can be made through lifestyle changes and spending habits?

If smarter spending and lifestyle changes are sufficient, a debt management or debt consolidation program may be the best choice. These types of programs work on the balances with the highest interest rates first or consolidate debts by taking out a new loan with a lower interest rate to pay off older balances first. Debt management or consolidation normally requires a monthly fee. These companies will work with your creditors to lower the total debt balance.  The hope is that creditors will rather receive a lower lump-sum payment on the debt rather than risk not being paid at all in a bankruptcy situation.

However, sometimes the  debt amount can be just too much to handle. Debt settlement may be the best option in these cases, or even bankruptcy if the settlement of the debt is still not enough. Debt settlement can take anywhere from between two to four years for a company to work with creditors to pay down debt. If bankruptcy is the best option, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be completed in three to six months while Chapter 13 can take anywhere from three to five years.

Make sure and explore all of your options and make the best decision for your situation. A bankruptcy attorney can help decipher these options and give recommendations on what would be ideal and in your best interest.

Click here to read more.

If you have 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.

 

 

 

 

Judges Would Not Consider Forgiving Student Loan Debt until Now

June 18, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Bankruptcy judges have traditionally refused to forgive student loans as part of the bankruptcy process, no matter how severe the debt may be for the borrower. However, this mindset is slowly beginning to change as some judges are beginning to give some relief to borrowers who are drowning in student loan debt.

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 50 current and former bankruptcy judges have been reported as being frustrated with the lack of relief they see borrowers receiving when it comes to student loan debt. These individuals come into bankruptcy with six-figure student loan balances but are oftentimes turned away due to lack of resources or the legal ability to help these borrowers.

Once such bankruptcy judge is U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge John Waites from South Carolina who has expressed the belief that if the law is not going to change, it is up to the courts to offer that help.

It is reported that approximately 45 million individuals carry some form of student loan debt in the United States. The amount of this debt has jumped to $1.4 trillion, and the majority of this debt is backed by the federal government. Student loan debt has surpassed credit cards as the largest source of consumer debt, following mortgages. However, the problem is that most other forms of debt can be liquidated in bankruptcy. For years, the legal standard has made student loan debt essentially untouchable.

The current Presidential Administration is reviewing whether to fight the requests to cancel student loan debt through bankruptcy less aggressively than they have in the past.  However, until that happens, bankruptcy lawyers are noticing that judges are being more lenient when these requests are made in court.

The latest review was done in 2017 and involved judges’ ruling on student loan debt 16 times. Out of these cases, 12 of them ended with the judges preserving the debt with only three canceling. In one case, the borrower was granted partial relief.

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. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan 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.

 

 

 

Income-Based Repayment Plans – The Pros & Cons

June 15, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Many individuals struggle to make their student loan payments, and for those borrowers facing six figures in student loan debt, that one monthly payment can be an overwhelming burden.

However, what happens when a borrower is facing over a million dollars in student loan debt?

For one orthodontist featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article, this was his reality. He owed $1,060,945.42 in student loans, with the interest accruing at a rate of $130 daily, which also comes to $3,900 monthly or $46,800 annually.

His income in 2017 was $225,000, and he is paying his student loans back under a federal government income-based repayment (IBR) program. It can seem hardly fathomable that a man of his income level would qualify for such a program. His monthly student loan payment is $1,600. At this rate, he is not making much of a dent on the interest accruing, and it is likely he will stay on his IBR program for the 25-year period allowed. However, after that time, even though he has made barely a dent in the total balance, his student loans will be forgiven with the negative income tax consequences following, of course.

Only 101 of approximately 41 million student loan borrowers owe that much in student loan debt, but for certain career fields, like medical  or law, these debts can quickly add up to $500,000 easily.

The average law student debt varies depending on the school location and any discounts offered in the tuition for the student. However, taking the tuition, costs, and living expenses into account, a law student can come out with $200,000 plus in student loan debt. The law graduate’s dream is to land that high paying firm job, but most end up starting at a salary between $40,000 and $65,000. It is easy to see how someone can become stuck on an income-based program by paying the minimum monthly on a relatively small salary compared to what is owed.

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. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan 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.