Posts Tagged: ‘Chapter 7 Bankruptcy’

When Is the Right Time to File for Bankruptcy?

July 12, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one.  For some, it can be difficult to get past some of the myths associated with filing for bankruptcy.  Sometimes by waiting, an individual facing a lot of debt can find himself or herself in an even worse situation. So, when is the right time to file for bankruptcy?

A recent study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project and an article from the Notre Dame Law Review highlighted that the longer people wait to file bankruptcy, the more they end up struggling- not only financially, but in their personal lives as well.

The following factors are indicators that you should consider filing for bankruptcy, or at least sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options in more detail.

  • If your debt amount is more than 40 percent of your income. The higher the debt-to-income ratio a person has, the less likely it is he or she will earn enough money to ever pay back the debt;
  • If you are using debt, such as credit cards or unsecured personal loans, to pay for other debts;
  • If your debts include items that can be liquidated in bankruptcy, such as medical debt, credit cards or personal loans;
  • You are using payday loans to help cover necessities before your next paycheck. This is oftentimes a sign your expenses are exceeding your income;
  • If you are forgoing necessities such as healthcare, prescriptions, or food;
  • If the collection calls have reached a breaking point;
  • If you have been threatened with a lawsuit, are being sued by a creditor or your wages are being garnished.

If someone is on the fence as to whether to file for bankruptcy, he or she should schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

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.

 

Study Finds Parent PLUS Loans to African American Families Can Be Predatory

June 1, 2018 Posted by kingcade

College is expensive and finding ways to pay for tuition and associated costs can be difficult for many students, as well as their family members. When options are limited, sometimes parents resort to taking out loans themselves to help their children pay for the costs of a higher education. Recently, one such loan has been criticized, the Parent PLUS loan for its terms and conditions, and also the effect it has on the parents who sign on the dotted line, not fully knowing what they are agreeing to.

A study recently issued by New America reports that a higher percentage of low-income African American parents rely on the use of Parent PLUS loans more than low-income whites. The study recommends making the use of Parent PLUS loans off limits to any family of limited financial means and offering additional, and affordable federal loan options for lower income families.

Families often resort to the parent PLUS loans after their children have maxed out other federal loan options. Many of the features of Parent PLUS loans have given them the reputation of being a loan of “last resort.” The limits tend to be fairly generous, the underwriting limited and the interest rates high.

The repayment options that parents are given on these loans are very limited, which only increases the risk that the borrower parents will default on the loan obligation. By having parents take these loans out, creates a level of “intergenerational debt” that can be crippling.

An additional problem with Parent PLUS loans have been the fact that lenders have issued these loans without evaluating the borrower’s ability to repay them. Without properly qualifying the borrower, issuing the loan simply puts them in a situation where he or she ends up falling behind on payments.

These loans were originally intended for families with more financial resources and in higher income tax brackets whose children may not qualify for need-based aid. In fact, most of the PLUS borrowers are from families earning more than $75,000 annually, many of them coming from upper class, Caucasian families with only 10 percent of Caucasian families earning less than $30,000 taking out these loans. However, for African American families, one-third of these individuals who have ended up taking out a PLUS loan earn less than $30,000, which is the opposite of what the study found with Caucasian families in the same tax bracket.

Because of the high fees associated with these loans, repaying the Parent PLUS loans can be difficult. If the parent is already struggling to make monthly payments, few options exist for that parent when it comes to repayment options. Currently the only income-based payment plan is an income-contingent repay (ICR) plan. To qualify, the parent must convert the loan into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan, and the minimum monthly payment in an ICR is normally 20 percent of that person’s disposable income. The monthly payment may be lower, but the interest rate does not decrease. At some point, it becomes nearly impossible for that parent to get caught up.

The study recommends making these loans off-limits to families in the lower-income categories and encourages the Department of Education to allow students from these brackets to borrow more from themselves rather than resort to having their parents take out these types of loans.

The study also recommends no longer allowing schools to characterize these loans as “aid” in financial aid award letters. They also recommend requiring parents who take these loans out to complete counseling that makes it abundantly clear to them that these loans are their sole obligation and not their children, as well as explain the terms of the loans so that they are clearly understood.

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.

Millennials Struggle to Keep up Financially with Previous Generations

May 22, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The financial crisis may have hit the ’80s generation the hardest. Americans who were born in the 1980s, otherwise known as “millennials,” are finding themselves struggling financially more than generations before them. Following the Great Recession, which began in 2007, individuals born in the ‘80s are at wealth levels which are 34 percent below where they would be had the financial crisis not occurred. Most millennials have to save longer to buy a home, struggle with student loan debt and rising home prices.

The generation known as “millennials” is categorized as being born between 1981 and 1996. According to a report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, people in this generation are at risk of being termed “the lost generation.”

“Not only is their wealth shortfall in 2016 very large in percentage terms, but the typical 1980s family actually lost ground in relative terms between 2010 and 2016, a period of rapidly rising asset values that buoyed the wealth of all older cohorts,” the report says.

This can be attributed to a number of factors. One major setback this generation faced was entering the workforce as the financial crisis was beginning. In fact, this generation seems to have been hit the hardest for this very reason. Entering the workforce at the time of a recession put these young workers at an immediate disadvantage for earning an income, as well as saving money towards big purchases or retirement.

Once the recession passed and the economy began to improve, these individuals faced difficulty in recovering from the hard hit.

Millennials have been on the receiving end of a 67 percent increase in wages since 1970, but this increase in pay has not kept up with the rising costs of living, including rent, home prices, college tuition, costs for childcare, healthcare, and entertainment.

This generation also has to deal with large amounts of credit card debt, on top of six figure student loan debt. After graduating from college at a time when jobs are not as prevalent, these individuals have had to resort to credit to pay for these expenses.

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:

http://www.businessinsider.com/1980s-millennials-wealth-the-great-recession-2018-5

https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2018/05/21/crisis-hits-1980s-generation/

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.

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.

 

Divorce & Bankruptcy – How They Are Connected

April 5, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Medical bills, job loss and divorce are some of the main reasons people file for bankruptcy today.  Financial problems can sometimes lead to divorce and as a result it is not uncommon for couples to decide to file bankruptcy right after they get divorced.  Here are some things to consider.

Whether or not you decide to file for bankruptcy before or after your divorce depends on the following:

  • Which type of bankruptcy you file– If you file together, both of your incomes are used to qualify you for a Chapter 7, which may make you ineligible for this type of bankruptcy. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you determine which type of bankruptcy to file, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
  • State exemption laws– All property you own is declared either exempt or non-exempt during a bankruptcy.  Exempt property may be kept after the bankruptcy case has concluded. Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country.  Here are some of the most common bankruptcy exemptions in Florida.
  • State laws concerning division of property during a divorce could be at odds with what property is exempt in a bankruptcy.  The items you fought to keep after your marriage comes to an end could be in jeopardy, again in subsequent bankruptcy proceedings.
  • The cost for filing a joint bankruptcy is the same as filing an individual one.  This means you can save hundreds of dollars by filing together.
  • Work together if possible. Filing bankruptcy jointly implies that you can work together, something that may be difficult to do, but worth it in the end.

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.