Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Facing Challenges After Bankruptcy

By the end of the year, more than 1.6 million people are expected to have filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010. Many of these consumers have been financially devastated by the recession and chose to start fresh in the new year by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While filing for bankruptcy provides debtors with relief from worry and debt, it is important to keep in mind that there may be small challenges in life after bankruptcy.
Those who chose to file for bankruptcy should find comfort in numbers. Not only is the bankruptcy rate the highest it has been since 2005, a wider range of individuals are choosing to file for bankruptcy protection. Many individuals filing for bankruptcy do not hold college degrees and earn less than $30,000 a year. However, this dynamic is quickly shifting. Last year, more than one-fifth of debtors filing for bankruptcy held a college degree, representing a 4.1 percentage-point increase from 2006. Also, according to the Institute for Financial Literacy, 9.1 percent of debtors seeking bankruptcy protection in 2009 earned more than $60,000. This is compared to 5.5 percent in 2006.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in need of a financial fresh start, please contact our experienced team of bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorneys at (305) 285-9100. 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, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Elderly Americans Increasingly Declaring Bankruptcy in Retirement

A new trend has emerged that has identified more elderly Americans struggling under the weight of credit card debt and medical bills, causing them to resort to bankruptcy in retirement. Recent statistical data has backed these findings up, reporting that Americans 65 and older who carry a balance on their credit cards owe an average of $10,235, up 26% from 2005. These older debtors who filed for bankruptcy owed a median of $22,562 to credit card companies. The study also revealed that while multiple factors, such as health problems and medical debts, contribute to elders’ financial stress, the dominant force appears to be the overwhelming burden of credit cards. From 1991 to 2007, the rate of personal bankruptcy filings among those ages 65 or older soared by 150%, according to AARP. At the time, the biggest jump in bankruptcy filings occurred among people aged 75 to 84. Their rate skyrocketed 433%.
The study also revealed that elder debtors carry 50% more credit card debt than younger debtors. The challenge for seniors, however, is that when they run into financial trouble their options are somewhat limited, compared to the younger generation. For example, unlike younger Americans who can obtain work, put in more hours on the job, or perhaps get a second job to make ends meet, those choices do not always exist for people age 65 and older. Additionally, there are some issues confronting seniors that the rest of the population generally does not have to face. One big issue: Financial abuse by family members. Research also revealed that many elderly Americans are going broke, not just because of their own spending and high health care costs, but because their assets are being depleted by relatives or close friends who feel entitled to get an expected inheritance.
To read more on this story, please visit:
http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/11/22/elderly-americans-increasingly-declaring-bankruptcy-in-retiremen/
If you have any questions on this topic or are in need of a financial fresh start, please contact our experienced team of bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorneys at (305) 285-9100. 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, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Chief Justice Charles Canady addresses the issue of public access to Florida foreclosure proceedings- which has been in jeopardy as a result of the heavy volume of foreclosure cases

In a recent memorandum sent to chief judges of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits, Chief Justice Charles Canady addressed the important issue of public access to Florida’s foreclosure proceedings. The memorandum set forth that the chief judges ensure that the judges they supervise and the staff who report to those judges, as well as bailiffs and employees of the clerks of court, are not violating the rights of Floridians by improperly closing judicial proceedings to the public.
This comes after a letter was received from the Florida Press Association and other organizations. The letter alleged that in some instances, members of the public and/or press either were advised that they could not attend mortgage foreclosure proceedings or were prevented from attending such proceedings. Under Florida law, the public has a right to observe the workings of the judicial system. The reports, which have documented these incidents around the State of Florida, addressed the barriers, which have left members of the public and press subject to the discretion of individual foreclosure judges to admit or exclude them from attending the judicial proceedings.
The heavy volume of foreclosure cases has led to difficulties finding judges and courtrooms to hear the cases. As a result, some cases are being held in chambers for lack of an available traditional courtroom. Bottom line is- the proceedings must be open, even if they are held temporarily in a smaller and less formal physical setting than usual. While ordinary and uniform security procedures are still necessary, the unavailability of a traditional courtroom cannot justify a deprivation of the rights established under Florida law and the U.S. Constitution. 
If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Consumers Avoid Credit Card Spending This Holiday Season

As many consumers remain unemployed and are filing for bankruptcy at record rates, finding the extra cash for holiday shopping could prove difficult.
As we mentioned previously, fewer consumers will be turning to credit cards to purchase their holiday gifts this year. Financial experts say this trend will result in less spending overall, as consumers tend to spend less when they use cash than they would if they use credit. The good news is that many retailers are attempting to offset this revenue by offering sales and promotions.  However, how will the move away from spending affect our fragile economy? Without a doubt, the decreased spending will slow economic recovery. Still, while these responsible financial habits may thwart economic recovery in the short-term, economists say the “spend less, save more” mentality will benefit the economy in the long run. For example, consumers who save often have more money to spend in retirement. This can be a good situation for both the consumer and the economy.
Still, the financial security of the future seems quite far off for some struggling families. Many will become overwhelmed with the costs associated with the holidays, including food, decorations, gifts and travel. A director of an organization which provides debt and foreclosure counseling urges these individuals to be honest about their situations. She recommends telling family and friends there is a budget for the holidays, saying most people understand the holiday season is not about money and material possessions.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune “Retailers brace for shopping shift away from credit cards,” Lesley Mitchell, 20 November 2010

Timothy Kingcade Posts

Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors from Consumer Ally

As a consumer, it is important to know your rights if you are receiving harassing calls from collection agencies. Even if you do owe money, you still have rights. Thanks to federal laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act consumers are protected from unscrupulous means of debt collection.
Below are some tips for dealing with debt collection calls and understanding the rules:
1.) Debt collection calls have limits. Collectors cannot call you before 8 AM or after 9 PM, or at your work.
2.) Do not ignore a debt collector, even if you do not believe you are responsible for the debt. The Federal Trade Commission advises that you send a letter by certified mail with a return receipt. After that, they cannot contact you again except under very specific circumstances, such as filing a lawsuit against you.
3.) Debt collectors cannot discuss your debt with just anyone. They can contact others about your debt, but only to find ways to contact you. They may not discuss your debt with anyone but the person who owes the money, their spouse or their lawyer.
4.) Notification must be in writing. After you have been called by a collector, they are required to notify you within 5 days in writing with a statement of what you owe and a means to object if you dispute the debt.
5.) Abusive debt collection practices are prohibited. Debt collectors are forbidden from harassment or abuse, including threats, obscenities and repeated phone calls.
6.) Debt collectors must identify themselves. Debt collectors are forbidden from misrepresenting who they are what you owe and that owing money is a crime.
7.) Interest rates capped. Collectors cannot charge interest above what is permitted by state law.
8.) Garnishment is restricted. Garnishment is allowed only if you are sued and lose and the court orders that action.
9.) As a consumer, you can sue. You can sue a debt collector for violating the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act for both damages suffered by their acts and for simply violating the rules. You can recover actual damages and up to $1,000, plus court costs and attorney fees if you win, even if you didn’t suffer a specific loss due to the collection activity.
To read more on this story you can visit…
http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/11/05/10-tips-for-dealing-with-debt-collectors/
If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Florida Bar, Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Foreclosure Firms Face Action from the Florida Bar

This month, the Florida Bar investigated 43 reports of foreclosure fraud involving 32 lawyers. The investigation prompted the Florida Bar to add a new category solely for foreclosure fraud complaints. To find new cases, the head of the Florida Bar is asking judges around the state to report lawyers who break the rules, pointing specifically to news coverage of claims about foreclosure suits. Judges have been asked to send in copies of any orders they write that mention misconduct, in foreclosures or anywhere else.
Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum’s office opened investigations of three high volume South Florida foreclosure firms which included: the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, and Florida Default Law Group. It’s reported that fraud arguments are still rare in foreclosures, but recently Florida is seeing more defense lawyers trying them. It’s argued that for some, the goal is just to delay a foreclosure, not resolve the debt. Bad documentation isn’t evidence of fraud as much as a sign that law firms are trying to handle a lot of work fast and cheap.
To read more on this story, visit http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2010-11-15/story/foreclosure-firms-facing-action-florida-bar.
 If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Foreclosure Filings Fall Sharply as Lenders Continue to Sort through Faulty Foreclosure Documents

A recent article in the Miami Herald revealed the number of bank repossessions in South Florida fell sharply this past month according to a study conducted by real estate research firm, RealtyTrac.
With just under 20,000 foreclosures across South Florida, the region had the seventh highest foreclosure rate in the nation. One out of every 122 homes in South Florida was in some stage of foreclosure in October, the report found. After increasing steadily for months, bank repossessions fell 19.7 percent in Miami-Dade County in October compared to the previous month, dropping to 1,740. Monroe County had 98 foreclosures in October, down 38 percent for the month and down 47 percent from last October.
To read more on the story, please visit:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/11/1919784/foreclosures-dip-as-lenders-freeze.html#ixzz15OEZlVrH
If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

GOVERNMENT MORTGAGE MODIFICATIONS MAY NOT BE EVERYTHING THEY SEEM

To financially distressed homeowners, the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Plan – HAMP – can sound like a dream come true. The promise of a significantly reduced mortgage, accompanied by considerably lower monthly mortgage payments, raises homeowner hopes. However, recent reports show the program delivering on its promise for only a third of participating homeowners.
An analysis from Amherst Securities reveals HAMP’s success rate: just 32 percent of trial mortgage modifications begun will be converted to permanent modifications without defaults.
In other words, two-thirds of homeowners who enter the program either don’t get a permanent modification or they default on their modified loan.
Problems With the Program:
The Financial Times reports that one problem with HAMP is that it doesn’t reduce debt-to-income (DTI) ratios enough. Of the permanent HAMP modifications, the borrower’s DTI (including factors such as mortgages, credit card payments, taxes, insurance, car loans, etc.) dropped from 80 percent to 65 percent. Generally, anything above a 50 percent DTI level is considered unsustainable. (The government requires anyone applying for HAMP with a DTI at 55 percent or above to get credit counseling.)
Another HAMP problem: the principal reduction portion of the plan is voluntary and few lenders are willing to voluntarily reduce principals on houses. The Financial Times speculates that unless this portion of the program is at some point made mandatory – at least for especially distressed homeowners and mortgages – it appears unlikely to do much to stave off a second dip in the housing market and perhaps a second recession as well.
Mortgage Modification can Hurt Credit
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that mortgage modifications link to the complex credit reporting system, causing long-term financial damage to homeowners. The credit code used when the three-month HAMP trial modification begins signifies to the credit industry that a borrower is making reduced payments, even if the homeowner isn’t delinquent when beginning the HAMP process.
Many financial professionals tell clients that bankruptcy can be a safer route to fiscal stability than a mortgage modification; The Wall Street Journal points out that some consumers will even see a rise in their credit scores after declaring bankruptcy.
Protecting Assets in Bankruptcy
Consumers saddled with large credit card debts or medical debt often find that Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a way out from under the debt. Florida bankruptcy law provides exemptions for a number of assets, enabling many borrowers deeply in debt to protect the following:
Their home
401k savings
Pension plans
Social Security benefits
Workers’ compensation
Supplemental Security Income
Prepaid school tuition
To learn more about whether a mortgage modification is right for you or if bankruptcy might be the better solution, contact a Miami bankruptcy attorney for an assessment of your bankruptcy eligibility.

Foreclosures

Renters Threatened as a Result of the Foreclosure Crisis

Not even renters are safe when it comes to the recent foreclosure crisis. At the start of the recession, reports of tenants being blindsided by foreclosure notices were not unusual. The problem prompted President Obama to sign the federal “Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act” in 2009, which requires tenants receive a 90-day notice if they are being evicted due to foreclosure, and that most existing leases for renters be honored up to the end of their term.
However, experts say even with this law in place, “Individual landlords- people who own one, two, or three properties is where there lies more risk for renters.” This problem is made even worse when foreclosure is coupled with Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for the landlord. This gives a property owner pretty much a get-out-of-jail-free card, which can impact a tenant’s lease term and agreement. The “shadow market” which are houses, which would be on the market if their owners felt they could sell the properties, leave some renters wondering if they’ll ever get back their security deposits, advanced rent payments and other out-of-pocket expenses.
To read more on this story, please visit:
http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/real-estate/foreclosures-renters-threatened/19686724/
If you have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures

New Trend in Foreclosure Filings

Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona remain the states with the highest rates of foreclosure, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas, according to RealtyTrac Inc. But the latest data show that many of the metro areas in those states saw a decline in the number of households receiving foreclosure-related filings, while many cities in other states saw a substantial increase in foreclosure filings.
This trend is the latest sign that the nation’s foreclosure crisis is worsening as homeowners facing high unemployment, slow job growth and uncertainty about home prices continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments. Eleven out of the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas saw foreclosure activity increase in the third quarter compared to the same period last year.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area registered the sharpest annual increase – 71 percent. One in every 129 households received a foreclosure filing. The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metropolitan area posted the second-highest annual jump, a 35 percent increase. One in every 84 households received a foreclosure notice.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rate were Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Stockton, Calif.; Merced, Calif.; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
To read more about this story, please visit:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h77P49EWZXCUcIXK2EG-be5lKqlQ?docId=e91bf1b9140b4f3d93fd14e7dbe99720
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, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.