Posts Tagged: ‘debt collectors’

5 Signs it’s Time to File for Bankruptcy

December 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process and a decision that should not be taken lightly.  But for some, it is the only solution that will get them out of debt and serious financial problems.  So how do you know if bankruptcy is right for you?  Here are five signs it’s time to consider filing for bankruptcy:

You are being sued by debt collectors.  When you fail to make payments on a debt, that debt gets turned over to a collection agency.  If the collection agency’s calls and letters go unanswered they may file a lawsuit against you.  Fighting these lawsuits can be difficult and if you lose, you will likely end up paying more in attorneys’ fees and court costs.  It is best to not let it get to this point.  Filing for bankruptcy provides you legal protection against creditors and debt collectors.  Once the automatic stay is issued, it bars any additional collection attempts, including lawsuits being filed against you.

Your credit cards are maxed out.  This not only is affecting your credit score negatively, but you are likely trapped in a cycle of making only the minimum payment on these cards while the interest accrues to amounts you will never be able to pay off.  Credit card debt is one of the easiest kinds of debt to discharge in bankruptcy.

Your wages are being garnished. If a creditor obtains a court order for a wage garnishment, your employer is required by law to abide by the order and withhold money from your check each pay period until the debt is paid off.   If your wages are being garnished you can still be protected by the automatic stay, which will halt further wage garnishment.

You cannot afford your bills.  If you were recently laid off from your job or had an unexpected medical expense, for many Americans it is just a matter of time before even a small amount of debt can spiral into something much greater.   Chapter 7 bankruptcy is specifically designed for individuals and families whose income level is not sufficient to pay their debts.

You are in danger of losing your home.  If your financial situation has reached the point where you are behind on mortgage payments and facing possible foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy can help you get caught up on those payments while staying in your home.

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://smartasset.com/credit-score/4-signs-its-time-to-file-bankruptcy

Seniors and Bankruptcy: The Reasons Older Americans Are Filing

November 28, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt is the No. 1 cause of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States and a key reason more seniors are filing for bankruptcy.  Another reason for the uptick in bankruptcy filings among Americans 50 and older is the rising cost of healthcare.  We recently did a posting on Tips for Seniors to Avoid Medical Debt. The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act made it more difficult for some consumers to qualify for bankruptcy, but it did not change the number of people who had more debt than they could afford to pay.

Making matters worse for older Americans are the collection practices of unscrupulous debt collectors. A recent report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that debt collection was the most-complained about product or service for consumers over 62.

Bankruptcy brings with it emotional relief and getting their case filed and debts discharged relieves so much stress for our clients.  Seniors can protect assets through bankruptcy. Social security, 401(k)’s, pensions, qualified profit-sharing plans, and individual retirement accounts worth up to $1.245 million are all exempt from creditors during bankruptcy. This means that retirement income and savings are out of reach and protected under federal law. Protecting equity, which is the value of a property, minus the amount owed, is important for seniors. Using a homestead exemption, designed to protect the equity of a main residence in a bankruptcy, will usually keep retirees from losing their homes. Florida homeowners can take advantage of the fact that Florida does not have a limit on the equity that is exempt.

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 Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Do

September 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.  Here are 10 things debt collectors can and cannot do.

5 Things Debt Collectors Cannot Do:

  1. Come to your place of work. It is illegal for a debt collector to come to your workplace to collect on a debt. The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector publicizing your debts and showing up at your place of work to collect on a debt.
  2. Harass you. Harassment can come in a variety of forms and include: repeated phone calls, threats of violence, publishing information about you, abusive or obscene language.
  3. Arrest you for debt. You cannot be arrested for a debt you owe.
  4. Purse you for a debt you do not owe. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to a debt collector pursuing the wrong person for payment.  The issue is not uncommon, but it is illegal.
  5. Call you at any time. It is illegal for debt collectors to call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. You can request that a debt collector stop calling you, but your obligation to pay still remains.

 

5 Things Debt Collectors Can Do:

  1. Seek payment on an expired debt. Even debts that expired according to the statute of limitations can still be requested from debt collectors.  These unsecured debts can include credit cards and medical bills.  Remember: You cannot be sued for payment on these expired debts.
  2. Pressure you. While debt collectors cannot threaten you, they can apply pressure to collect payment.  Pressure can include daily calls, frequent letters or talk about pursuing a lawsuit for payment.
  3. Sue you for payment on a debt. A debt collector can sue you for non-payment. These type lawsuits can result in wage garnishment, bank levies or both.  It is best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you are sued or there is a judgment entered against you in regard to an outstanding debt.
  4. Sell your debt. A collector can resell debt it has not been able to collect on. So if one debt collector stops contacting you about a debt, do not be surprised if another starts.
  5. Negotiate what you owe. Because debt collectors buy debts for sometimes pennies on the dollar, they have fairly large profit margins if they collect the original amount owed. This gives them more flexibility in negotiating payment. You may be able to negotiate a settlement for 25% or 30% of what you originally owed.  Remember, to get the agreement in writing so you have proof that the amount paid was all that was required in the settlement.

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, 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/things-debt-collectors-cannot-do/

 

Bankruptcy & Divorce: Which comes first?

July 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Going through a divorce can be stressful enough, but when you pile on financial issues the effects can be overwhelming.  Your financial situation can be greatly affected by a divorce, as divorce is commonly cited as the leading cause of bankruptcy.  Here are some important facts you should know when it comes to bankruptcy and divorce.

  1. Do not file for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time.  This is for the sake of simplicity.  People typically file bankruptcy before divorce for several reasons.  Once you file for bankruptcy an “automatic stay” is put in place.  This is a court order that prohibits creditors from contacting you and protects your property and assets.  This hold is in effect throughout the bankruptcy process.
  2. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ideal for a quick divorce.  One of the benefits of filing for Chapter 7 is the timeline.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically eliminates all dischargeable debts within three to six months, allowing you to file for divorce relatively soon after.  In comparison, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy establishes a three- to five-year payment plan for you to pay off your debt, which can drag your divorce out longer.
  3. Conditions of Bankruptcy. Abiding by the rules listed in the Bankruptcy Code is critical for having your debts discharged.  A Chapter 7 discharge may be denied if the debtor:
  • Fails to provide requested tax documents;
  • Hides property for the purpose of defrauding creditors;
  • Destroys financial books or records;
  • Commits perjury in connection to the bankruptcy case;
  • Violates a court order;
  • Fails to complete the mandatory credit counseling course.

Bankruptcy and divorce are chances for you to make a fresh start for you and your family. However, both of these processes can be extremely complex and detailed in nature.  You should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and have a strong divorce attorney on your side who can guide you through the process and obtain the most successful outcome for you.

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, 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.divorcemag.com/monthly-newsletter/5-things-to-know-about-bankruptcy-and-divorce

The IRS is Using Private Debt Collectors- Here’s what Consumers Need to Know

April 21, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The IRS has entered into contracts with four private debt collection agencies- Conserve, Pioneer, Performant and CBE Group.  These agencies will only take over accounts if several criteria are met:

  1. The tax debt has been removed from the IRS’s active inventory due to a lack of resources or an inability to find the taxpayer;
  2. More than one-third of the applicable limitation period has passed and no IRS employee has been assigned to collect the debt;
  3. The debt has been assigned for collection, but more than 365 days have passed without interaction with the taxpayer for purposes of furthering collection of the debt.

These collection agencies are required to abide by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  This means they cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; they cannot contact you at work if you have told them not to; they cannot falsely claim you have committed a crime; they cannot misrepresent the amount you owe or threaten you with harm or arrest for lack of payment.

Consumers need to be aware of tax scammers looking to capitalize on this new IRS protocol.  Tax scammers oftentimes ask their victims pay their alleged debts by purchasing prepaid cards and then call back with the cards’ codes. Another common scam involves having large amounts of money sent via wire transfer.

This will never be the case with the listed contracted debt collectors, according to the IRS.  In fact, taxpayers will not be asked to pay the private debt collectors anything. Instead, these collectors will provide information about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS.gov/Pay.  Even written checks will need to be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection companies.

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 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, 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.