Bankruptcy Law, Kingcade Garcia McMaken

What to Look for When Choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult one, but having the right bankruptcy attorney in your corner can make the process a seamless one. It helps to do your research, not only online but in person, too. The following tips can help someone who is considering filing for bankruptcy choose the best attorney for the job.

Experience Matters

Many people will start their search on the Internet, looking online to find a bankruptcy attorney. Experience is one factor that should always be considered when choosing an attorney. Experience does not just mean years practicing law. It is important to find someone who has filed cases in bankruptcy court and handles bankruptcy matters regularly. It helps a great deal to find someone who focuses his or her practice solely on bankruptcy law and who handles the specific type of bankruptcy the filer is pursuing instead of a general practice attorney who handles a little bit of everything. Many attorneys will handle only Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, while others will handle corporate bankruptcies, restructuring and reorganization.

Bankruptcy Law

Applying for a Mortgage After Bankruptcy

One of the biggest worries that filers have when proceeding with a bankruptcy case is how the matter will affect their ability to obtain financing in the future, including a mortgage for a new home. While a bankruptcy case does impact a person’s credit score, all hope is not lost for eventually being able to purchase a home and obtain a mortgage. It depends a great deal on the success of the bankruptcy case and the consumer’s financial habits after the case is closed.

A Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy case is a much faster bankruptcy route that takes several months to finalize, while a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy case can take between three to five years to finalize. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can stay on a person’s credit report for up to ten years from the date of filing, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can stay on a person’s credit report for seven years from the date of filing or ten years if the bankruptcy is not completed or discharged.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Collection, Debt Relief

How to Continue Paying Debt While Unemployed During COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused countless Americans to lose their jobs. More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the wake of the outbreak. Paying for basic expenses can be difficult enough but paying down debt while unemployed can seem impossible.

However, with proper planning and by taking advantage of opportunities available during this time, it can make things a little easier. The first step is to evaluate all expenses coming out monthly and create a budget to see what payments can be made. Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) provides some relief, as well, that can make this process easier.

Bankruptcy Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt Relief

Coronavirus and the Changes it has had to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our country in so many ways. It has also affected the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, specifically through the recently passed $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Within the CARES Act were revisions to parts of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, meant to help small businesses and consumers during this difficult time. The CARES Act amended the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), which temporarily increased the debt threshold for filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy relief. The debt threshold increased from $2,725,625 to $7,500,000. After one year, the threshold will go back down to the original amount.

Bankruptcy Law

The Most Common Forms of Bankruptcy Fraud

Bankruptcy laws require that the filer be honest and open about his or her financial situation, including disclosing all assets and debts. While no one wants to lose property to pay off creditors, some assets must be sold during the bankruptcy case to pay off the filer’s debts. If a filer actively tries to hide or fails to disclose information in hopes of keeping it from the bankruptcy court, this is called bankruptcy fraud and it can cause your case to be dismissed.

Hiding Assets

Concealing assets is one of the more common forms of bankruptcy fraud. Approximately 70 percent of all cases where some type of fraud was reported involved concealment of assets. It can involve the person simply leaving a certain asset off the list of those reported to the bankruptcy trustee. It can also involve hiding the asset through a fraudulent transfer, including giving the asset to someone else to keep it during the duration of the bankruptcy case, with the intent that the person holding the asset will return it after the case concludes. If this type of fraud is discovered, the filer and the person holding the asset could be held liable for bankruptcy fraud.

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Student Loan Debt Relief Scams to Watch Out For

Student loan debt is an issue for many Americans, and for a great number of them, the situation has become a desperate one. This fact could be why so many borrowers are falling prey to student loan debt relief scams.

It is estimated that the national total student loan debt is well over $1.5 trillion. The average student loan borrower in 2018 is carrying just shy of $30,000 in loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero. This figure only represents what the average undergraduate student owes. For a graduate or professional degree, the borrower may end up with student loan debt well into six figures. With this much debt, borrowers can be paying on their loans for decades, which is why many of them jump at the opportunity, when presented, to get some sort of relief on their debt.  The problem is these “relief opportunities” end up being more trouble than they are worth.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

When Can a Credit Card Company Garnish Your Wages?

When someone is facing a credit card collection action, the last thing that person wants is to have his or her wages garnished by the credit card company. However, credit card companies do have the right to garnish a cardholder’s wages, just like any other creditor.

Before credit card debt can be collected, it must be considered delinquent.  At the time a person gets a credit card, he or she enters into an agreement to make monthly payments. If these payments are not made on time, that contract is considered broken and the debt delinquent. Once this happens, the credit card company is within its right to collect on the debt. Normally, missing a credit card payment results in a significant interest rate hike, but if the debt goes unpaid for too long, the credit card company can file a legal action to collection on the debt.

This step is where garnishment comes into play. Credit card companies cannot garnish the cardholder’s wages without first filing a legal complaint to collect on the debt and serving the complaint on the cardholder. The accountholder has a chance to respond to the complaint and file an answer within a set period of time. If he or she does not respond, the credit card company can obtain a default judgment against the cardholder, speeding up the process. However, if the cardholder does respond, the credit card company must prove that the debt is owed at a hearing before a judge.

Credit, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How To File For Bankruptcy with Student Loan Debt

For consumers struggling with significant debt, filing for bankruptcy may be your best option to provide you with a fresh start. If your debts consist of federal student loans, it is not an easy process to get these discharged in bankruptcy; however, it is possible.

The first thing you must do is to decide whether you will file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the goal is to get unsecured debt wiped out. This means, you have little disposable income available to pay off your debts. If you choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your plan is to get your debts restructured in order to repay some of it. This also means you likely have some disposable income to repay part of your debt.

The most important part of your case when you have student loan debt is that you must prove “undue hardship” to the court. This means that you must prove that you cannot pay back your federal student loans. In order to prove undue hardship, you and your bankruptcy attorney must file a petition called an adversary proceeding, which is unique to bankruptcy involving student loan debt.

In most courts, The Brunner Test is used to evaluate hardship. Below are 3 factors of The Brunner test outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office:

  • The filer cannot maintain a basic standard of living if paying back federal student loans
  • The filer can prove the hardship will last for a large percentage of the repayment period
  • The filer honestly tried to repay the loans before filing

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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. 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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief

Steps to Take if a Creditor Has Seized Your Bank Account

If you owe a debt to a creditor or a collection agency, they can legally seize your bank account and take back what is owed. However, agencies are supposed to notify debtors about the lawsuit beforehand. Unfortunately, creditors can take everything in your bank account and leave you with nothing if it is the same amount or less than what is owed.

Although your options are limited, here are three of your best options at this point.

  1. File Bankruptcy. If a creditor seizes your account and you immediately file for bankruptcy, you may be able to recover some or all of the money that was in your account. In some states, you can “exempt” those funds that were seized from your bank and the creditor would be forced to return it.
  2. Contest the Lawsuit. You may be successful in contesting the lawsuit if you were not properly served.
  3. Stop using your Account. If the first two options fail, it may be in your best interest to avoid keeping funds in your bank account. Creditors may continue to seize your funds until the balance is paid in full.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorneywho 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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief

Things Not To Do Before Filing Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the list of actions to avoid is just as important as the list of things to do before filing. If you do not avoid these simple decisions, it may prevent you from getting debt relief.

  • Do not transfer assets out of your name. Doing so raises huge red flags in bankruptcy court, particularly if the transferal of assets occurs right before bankruptcy filing. In some cases, hasty asset transfers may be illegal.
  • Do not use a credit card for large cash advances. Many filers choose to max out their credit cards before filing for bankruptcy because they fear losing credit later or they assume the debt will be discharged. However, if someone has no intention of paying money back, it is considered fraud.
  • Do not pay off a preferred creditor. Oftentimes, bankruptcy filers try to pay off debts with friends and family members before filing. However, bankruptcy court may make them give the money back so other creditors can get their share.
  • Do not make large purchases. It may seem like a good time to make large, expensive purchases since your debts are about to be discharged, however; the bankruptcy court may consider these purchases fraudulent.

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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.