Posts Tagged: ‘Chapter 7 Bankruptcy’

Life After Bankruptcy: Getting a Credit Card Again

October 25, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you have recently filed for bankruptcy, you may be wondering about the possibility of getting a new credit card. Before you apply for a credit card, it is important to make sure you have a stable job and the ability to pay your other bills such as rent and utilities.

If bad financial decisions led to your bankruptcy, you may want to avoid getting a credit card for a while. However, if unexpected events such as a divorce or a job loss led to your money problems, you may be able to handle a credit card again.

Below are three important things to consider before filling out a credit card application:

  1. Timing is everything. Your bankruptcy must be discharged before you can get a credit card. Lenders will deny a line of credit during a bankruptcy proceeding because the account can be included in the bankruptcy. It takes approximately three months for debts to be discharged after the initial filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy entails a three to five-year partial repayment plan and therefore takes much longer to be fully discharged.
  2. Weigh your options, good and bad. A recent bankruptcy will drag down your credit score for some time. As a result, you will likely receive credit card offerings from subprime lenders. Keep in mind that these credit cards typically come with higher interest rates and low limits. In addition, they typically require frequent fees that are much higher than most. A better option after a bankruptcy discharge is a secured credit card. This type of card is designed for consumers with bad or no credit. They are backed by a security you are required to put down. Secured cards have low limits and high interest rates but do not typically charge annual fees.
  3. Monitor your credit score. If you do get a secured card, do not spend more than 30 percent of the credit limit and pay off the balance every month. If you follow these two rules, your credit score should improve in time.

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.

Key Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

October 20, 2017 Posted by kingcade

There are two main bankruptcy options available to people who are drowning in consumer debt, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Choosing the right one is critical for success in wiping away your debts. Below is a guide that shares the basic attributes of both options to help you decide which option will work best for you.

Chapter 7 is a form of liquidation. This means the debtor’s assets are allocated among each of the creditors. In most Chapter 7 cases, debtors do not have assets above the legal threshold, which is set by state law and therefore they do not have to give up anything. The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy case lasts approximately three and a half months from filing to discharge. Approximately 96 percent of debtors who file under Chapter 7 receive a discharge of their debts.

When a debt is discharged, it is no longer legally owed. Unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills are typically dischargeable, with the exception of student loans. Secured debts such as mortgages or car loans are typically either relinquished or kept by continuing payments.

Chapter 13 is a form of a repayment plan. The debtor’s obligations are combined in one, regular payment calibrated to the debtor’s income. However, certain obligations such as utility bills might be paid outside the plan.

Chapter 13 plans can last anywhere from three to five years, but most are five-year plans. Approximately 41 percent of debtors who filed under Chapter 13 received a discharge of their debts and another 10 percent first tiled under Chapter 13 and later converted to Chapter 7 and received a discharge that way.

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.

What is Considered Harassment by a Debt Collector?

October 19, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors cannot harass, oppress or abuse consumers or anyone else they contact. Harassment by a debt collector can come in different forms.

Here are some examples of harassment:

  • Repetitious phone calls that are intended to annoy, abuse or harass you or any person answering the phone
  • The use of obscene or profane language
  • Threats or violence or harm
  • Publishing lists of people who refuse to pay their debts
  • Calling you without telling you who they are
  • Threats of arrest
  • Calling you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

If you have been harassed by a debt collector, you can sue for violations of the FDCPA. If you sue and win, the debt collector must pay your attorney’s fees and may also have to pay damages.

Debt collectors are also prohibited from using false, deceptive or misleading practices including misrepresentations about the debt.

Here are some examples of misrepresentations of debt:

  • The amount owed
  • That the person is an attorney if they are not
  • False threats to have you arrested
  • Threats to do things that cannot legally be done
  • Threats to do things that the debt collector has no intention of doing

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.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-harassment-by-a-debt-collector-en-336/

http://timothykingcade.com/?p=6622

Steps to Take if You Are Facing a Medical Debt Lawsuit

October 17, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you have been sued by a debt collector or medical service provider, you know how stressful it can be.  According to the National Consumer Law Center, half of the collection items on consumers’ credit reports are from medical 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.

Here are some steps you can take if you are facing a medical debt lawsuit:

  • Confirm the debt. You cannot properly address the lawsuit if you do not understand where the debt came from. Look back at all past medical bills and find the date of service and itemized list of services rendered. Mistakes can happen, so make sure and confirm all details are accurate.
  • Seek advice. Consumers sometimes make the mistake of representing themselves in these type cases.  Hiring an attorney to advise you is a wise move and does not have to cost a lot.  Many lawyers provide a free consultation before taking you on as client.  During this consultation, they will advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation.
  • Prepare for court. You must first prepare an answer to the lawsuit, including any defenses and countersuits. This will involve filing paperwork, mailing paperwork and showing up on the initial court date.
  • Understand wage garnishment. If you are found liable for the debt or you fail to answer the lawsuit, the judge will rule against you and the court may issue an order allowing the debt collector to garnish your wages. By federal law, they cannot leave you with less than 75% of your income or $217.50 per week — whichever is greater. Medical debt collectors are able to garnish your wages, but they cannot garnish Social Security benefits, disability insurance payments, unemployment insurance payments, VA benefits, pension distributions, child support payments, or public assistance benefits.
  • Watch out for balance billing. This happens when your hospital or medical provider bills you instead of (or in addition to) Medicaid or Medicare. This is a forbidden practice and you are not responsible for any amounts due when this happens. You can prove if you were a victim of balance billing by requesting an “Explanation of Benefits” from your insurer that states the amount they covered and the amount you still owe.
  • Stop lawsuits before they happen. Make sure the hospital did not make an error that resulted in a larger bill.  Have your bill examined by a medical bill advocate, who is familiar with medical billing and coding and request they review the charges.  You can start your search with the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants.  Debt collectors, hospitals, and other medical providers do not want to take you to court.  It costs them money, too and the odds of getting the full amount owed is slim.  They are almost always willing to work with you before filing a lawsuit.  Try to negotiate and apply for financial assistance.  You can also set up zero-interest payment plans directly with your healthcare provider.  Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open.
  • Consider bankruptcy as an option. At any point in the process, you can choose to file for bankruptcy, which can completely discharge your medical debt. There are two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often considered the most straightforward kind of bankruptcy and allows consumers to gain a financial fresh start.  This requires you sell off your assets to discharge your debts. Despite what many people believe, it does not automatically mean you will lose your home, your car or your retirement savings.  If you file for Chapter 13, you do not have to sell off any assets, but the debt will not disappear.   Instead, you will be put on a 3-5 year payment plan in order to settle.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.wftv.com/consumer/clark-howard/clark-your-life/before-you-respond-to-a-medical-debt-lawsuit-take-these-10-steps/616709645

Nearly Half of U.S. Carries Credit Card Debt for At least Two Years

October 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A new survey by CreditCards.com reveals that 43% of adults have carried credit card debt for more than two years, and 23% have been carrying debt for five years or longer.

Those most likely to carry credit card debt were older Baby Boomers (age 63-71) at 63%, while the Silent Generation (ages 72+) was at 57%.  What was more surprising was that out of the 2,000 some adults surveyed, those with more education were less likely to pay their credit card bill in full every month.  Only one in five cardholders with a high school degree or less carry a credit card balance, but one in three college graduates admit carrying one.

Everyday spending, such as grocery shopping and utilities, were the leading contributors to their credit card debt- not luxury purchases. Other reasons included medical bills, home repairs, retail purchases, and vacation expenses.

When it comes to income, Americans earning less are actually more likely to pay off their balances. Only 24% of cardholders who earn less than $50,000 a year carry a credit card balance, compared to 38% of cardholders with an annual salary of more than $50,000.

Florida is in the top 5 states with the highest credit card debt burden, according to CreditCards.com.  Here are some tips on how to tackle long-term credit card debt.

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.

Related Resources:

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/card-debt-survey.php

https://www.forbes.com/sites/reneemorad/2017/09/30/why-43-percent-of-adults-have-carried-credit-card-debt-for-more-than-two-years/#4a75fdb5e263

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/09/28/nearly-half-americans-carry-credit-card-debt-for-at-least-2-years.html