Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

When Is Filing for Bankruptcy the Best Option?

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one. Many individuals hold off on filing for fear of what it will do to their credit or worse, fear of the unknown. For many consumers, taking that first step and initiating a bankruptcy case can be the best option for them. The key is deciding when to take that step.

The longer a person stays in debt, struggling to pay bills, defaulting on liabililities, the worse the financial damage will be.  Not to mention the emotional toll it takes.  By not taking action, a person can risk being sued by thier creditors or having their wages garnished. Credit card companies, creditors and even the IRS can take legal action to garnish your wages to pay off outstanding debt.

Ironically, many individuals do not file for bankruptcy, believing that it will hurt their credit score or overall financial situation. While filing for bankruptcy does trigger a decrease in the consumer’s credit score, the damage done is less than what would occur if the individual continued defaulting and struggling with thier debt. Most consumers are able to recover fairly quickly after a successful bankruptcy discharge, whereas it can take much longer to recover from defaults or collections on the individual’s credit report.

One factor that plays a part in determining when to file for bankruptcy has to do with the type of debts the consumer finds himself or herself struggling to pay. Consumer bankruptcy cases normally free the individual from unsecured debts, such as credit cards, personal loans, and medical debt. If the majority of the consumer’s debts fall into these categories, and he or she he or she has defaulted, or is only able to make the minimum payments owed on these debts, it may be time to consider bankruptcy to eliminate these debts.

Many consumers also find that it is time to file for bankruptcy when they are in multiple collection actions. It is not uncommon for filers to have at least one account that is 120 days overdue. The longer the person stays in collections, the worse their financial situation will become and the more likely it is that even more accounts will fall into collections. By filing for bankruptcy, the consumer can take advantage of the “automatic stay,” which puts an immediate halt to all collection efforts, including pending lawsuits and wage garnishments. Once the case is finalized, if the debt that is the subject of this collection action is discharged, the collection lawsuit will be also eliminated.

If the consumer finds himself or herself digging a hole deeper into debt, spending more money on paying debts than he or she is bringing in, it is also likely time to consider filing for bankruptcy. Not only does delaying prolong the damage to a person’s credit score, it can also result in the person using their retirement savings to pay off debt.  This is a mistake, as retirement accounts are protected in bankruptcy.

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.

SOURCE: When Bankruptcy is the Best Option, NerdWallet

Consumer Bankruptcy, COVID-19

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Level Off in August 2021

Bankruptcy filings leveled off last month, according to figures from technology company, Epiq. The company compiled filings through their AACER bankruptcy program which showed that in the month of August, 32,225 new bankruptcy cases were filed, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases. This figure is down slightly from the 32,391 reported in July 2021.

Despite the fact that consumer bankruptcy filings have decreased, commercial bankruptcy filings have increased approximately one percent from July 2021 with 1,724 cases filed.

While bankruptcy cases were anticipated to go up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of bankruptcy cases filed has decreased by 20 percent since the start of the pandemic. The U.S. Federal Bankruptcy courts reported the number of open bankruptcy cases decreasing from 989,214 in April 2020 to 786,059 in August 2021.

COVID-19 relief packages have kept many people in their homes and financially afloat at least temporarily, which could be why the number of new bankruptcy filings has been down. According to Epiq AACER, 291,863 new bankruptcy cases have been filed in 2021, compared to the 396,113 new filings made the previous year. This figure is a 26.3 percent decline from 2020 to 2021. Whether new bankruptcy filings will continue on this downward trend remains to be seen. As COVID-19 relief packages lapse, consumers may find themselves not able to remain financially stable, which could inevitably result in more bankruptcy filings.

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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.

Consumer Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Filings Fall to Levels Not Seen Since 1985

Bankruptcy filings have fallen to levels not seen since the mid-1980’s. The low number of filings are credited to the government aid and stimulus checks issued since the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 462,309 individuals and companies filed for bankruptcy in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, which is a 32 percent decrease from the previous year. The office also noted that this figure was the lowest one reported for a 12-month period since 1985.

Personal bankruptcy filings decreased 33 percent to approximately 444,000 over the course of a year. Business filings similarly declined, although by a lower percentage. Business bankruptcy cases dropped by 17 percent to approximately 22,500 filings.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Bankruptcy

The thought of filing for bankruptcy can conjure up all kinds of emotions. For many, all they know of bankruptcy is what they have heard from others or seen on television advertisements. However, the following information can be helpful in terms of understanding the ins and outs of consumer bankruptcy.

Types of Consumer Bankruptcy.

If a consumer is considering filing for bankruptcy, he or she has two options available. These options are based on the specific chapters within the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The first option is called Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 case tends to take only several months to complete and involve the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to sell nonexempt assets and pay off qualifying debts. At the end of the case, the remaining consumer debts held by the filer are discharged. However, to qualify for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer needs to be below a certain income threshold per the bankruptcy court’s means test.

The other option is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which takes three-to-five years to complete and involves the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to complete a structured repayment plan on the consumer’s debts. Chapter 13 cases, since they take longer, do cost more in terms of legal fees.

Consumer Bankruptcy

Fear Holds Many People Back from Ever Filing Bankruptcy

There are many people who can benefit from bankruptcy, but put off filing due to fear and the myths surrounding bankruptcy. Bankruptcy offers consumers a fresh financial start and relief from the burden of debt, but for many, it is the fear of the unknown that holds them back from ever taking the first step. Every year, only a small portion of consumers who could benefit from bankruptcy actually move forward with starting a case.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, approximately 14 percent (14%) of U.S. households or nearly 17 million consumers owe more than they own. While most of these individuals could benefit from bankruptcy, less than one percent (1%) of them file for bankruptcy annually. In 2020, there were only 752,160 personal bankruptcies filed. 

Consumer Bankruptcy

Post-COVID Debt Continues to Grow as Bankruptcy Filings Fall in 2021

Financial analysts had predicted a bankruptcy surge following the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts were closed for the majority of 2020, but as they began to reopen, it was believed that a massive wave of bankruptcy filings would follow. Oddly enough, that surge never came, and the number of consumer bankruptcy filings continue to drop.

According to figures from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), 181,000 bankruptcy cases were filed in the U.S. by May 2021, which is 29 percent lower than the number of cases filed by that time in 2020. As many people were forced out of jobs or laid off with businesses temporarily or even permanently closing, consumers are continuing to rely on credit cards to cover expenses.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

The Three Most Common Fears People Have When Filing for Bankruptcy

The fear of losing everything is a very real concern for those contemplating bankruptcy. However, this is one of the most common bankruptcy myths, and can keep individuals who are drowning in debt from obtaining a fresh financial start.

To make the bankruptcy process a little easier to understand, we have dispelled the top three fears people have when filing for bankruptcy.

Consumer Bankruptcy, Legal Awards

Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Named a Florida Super Lawyer 8 Consecutive Years

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers 2021, in the practice area of consumer bankruptcy. This is the eighth consecutive year Kingcade has been selected to the Florida Super Lawyers list (2014-2021). The prestigious honor is awarded to only five percent of lawyers in the state.

After receiving one of the highest point totals, Kingcade was also selected to be on the Florida Super Lawyers Blue Ribbon Panel. Only those in each practice area with the highest point totals are asked to be part of the panel to evaluate the candidacy of fellow lawyers to enter the prestigious Super Lawyer rankings.

Consumer Bankruptcy, Debt Relief

Defaulting on Debt v. Filing Bankruptcy

It can be tempting to want to walk away from debt in lieu of filing for bankruptcy. But doing so will not provide the consumer with the clean slate that a bankruptcy discharge offers. It is often better to face these debts in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case instead of choosing to default on them.

Whenever a consumer fails to make payments on a loan or financial obligation, this failure to pay is otherwise known as a default. Lenders all have their own requirements on what exactly qualifies as a “default,” including how many payments have been missed before the account is officially considered in default.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Steps to File for Bankruptcy in 2021

Bankruptcy is an important tool, that allows consumers to obtain a fresh financial start. For many, the concept of bankruptcy is unfamiliar, and understanding the steps needed to file for bankruptcy is important in fully understanding the process.  

Choosing a Chapter 

The first step is determining which type of bankruptcy to pursue. Bankruptcy is not a one-size-fits-all type of situation. Choosing the right type of bankruptcy hinges a great deal on the individual’s specific circumstances. The most common two categories used by consumers are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For filers who fall under a certain level of income and can pass the mean test, meaning they earn less than Florida’s median income, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best selection for them.  Alternatively, if a consumer earns too much to qualify for Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy may be the best avenue for him or her.