Consumer Bankruptcy, Debt Collection

Should I Hire a Debt Relief Agency to Avoid Bankruptcy?

Consumers often resort to seeking the assistance of a debt relief company in an effort to avoid filing bankruptcy. However, hiring a third-party debt relief company is not always a wise decision for the consumer if bankruptcy is inevitable.

Some consumers decide to retain the services of a debt settlement company to negotiate payments on their outstanding debts. However, often the better option ends up being either having the consumer directly settle his or her debts without hiring another company or having the consumer move forward with filing for bankruptcy.

Debt settlement companies say they can work directly with the consumer’s creditors to settle their outstanding unsecured debts. In order to accomplish this, most debt settlement companies tell their clients to stop making payments on their debts, thereby pushing the debts into collections. The debt settlement company will then tell the consumer to pay them a monthly fee, which will be set aside into a savings account for future settlement of the person’s debts.

Unfortunately, there are many things a debt settlement company fails to tell the consumer when they are hired to negotiate the consumer’s debts. Ultimately, debt settlement is a business, and the company is looking out for their bottom line, not the consumer’s best interest, which is why so many debt relief scams exist.

First, while the debt settlement company is working on the consumer’s behalf, the total amount of debt will continue to grow thanks to interest accruing and fees being assessed when the consumer stops making payments. The consumer will also find his or her credit score taking a significant hit during this time since defaulting on a financial obligation is reflected poorly on someone’s credit report. Additionally, the creditor is under no obligation to work with the debt settlement company. They may be successful in settling a debt, the creditor is not obligated to take a settlement offer just because one is made. The creditor is always within their rights to pursue the full amount owed.

The consumer’s credit score will definitely be impacted by debt settlement. Essentially, entering debt settlement is an admission of the consumer not paying his or her debts as originally agreed. Additionally, the debt settlement will stay on the consumer’s credit report for seven years.

Ironically, debt settlement can also leave the consumer in an even worse situation than when he or she started, especially if the efforts to negotiate the debts are unsuccessful. For many consumers, going through debt settlement is essentially delaying the inevitable filing for bankruptcy. It is usually best for the consumer to first sit down with a bankruptcy attorney and analyze his or her situation to see which route is the best one to take.

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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

Debt Relief

What is Debt Relief and When Should I Seek It?

Debt can seem like an insurmountable burden, impossible to escape once a consumer has gotten too far in. Different options are available for dealing with credit card debt, student loan debt, and other consumer debts.  

Many times, consumers find themselves overwhelmed with several different types of debt in differing amounts.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Card Debt, Debt Collection

Important Tips to Know about Credit Card Debt Forgiveness

Credit card debt plagues so many today. Even with the economic stimulus relief, some consumers are having to utilize credit cards to make ends meet. Escaping the load of credit card debt can seem like an impossible feat. Whenever someone offers a way out or credit card debt forgiveness, it can be easy to jump to accept the offer. The problem is credit card debt forgiveness can be more complicated than simply having the debt forgiven.   

Not All Debt Forgiveness Strategies Are Equal  

Credit card debt is forgiven usually from two strategies, namely debt settlement or bankruptcy. Many consumers try a third strategy, which involves ignoring the amount owed until the statute of limitations has passed for collecting on the debt.  However, the damage that can result to the consumer’s credit score as a result of this failed strategy make it often not worth the wait.  

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.

Credit Card Debt

What to Do After Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a source of stress for many consumers. Once a large balance is accrued, the high interest rates can make credit cards nearly impossible to pay off.  Whether you have been able to pay off your credit card debt or have had the debt discharged in bankruptcy, it is important to modify your financial behavior moving forward.   

Monitor Your Credit Score 

Consumers should monitor their credit reports on an annual basis to ensure that there are no inaccuracies. Once a credit card is paid off in full, that should reflect on the person’s credit report. Additionally, paying down a large sum of debt will have a positive effect on the consumer’s credit score. As the person’s credit score goes up, his or her chances of being approved for financing in the future also improves. After paying off debt, the consumer should check his or her credit report to ensure that this payment is reflected on his or her score. To make sure that the consumer’s credit score improves, periodic monitoring of his or her credit report should also occur.  

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

Average American Consumer Carries over $90,000 in Debt

Most American consumers carry some form of debt. In fact, debt has become a way of life for many Americans. Whenever a big purchase needs to be made, consumers will often apply for financing to pay for this purchase. This can include items like a home, car, furniture, or even for basic purchases.  

According to data from the credit agency, Experian, as of 2019, the average American consumer has $90,460 in debt from various sources, including mortgages, student loan debt, personal loans and credit cards. Escaping this debt load can be tricky, and Experian’s data shows that certain generations struggle more than others when handling consumer debt. 

Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Small Business Bankruptcy

Personal and Business Bankruptcies Increase in the Month of July

The number of individuals and businesses seeking bankruptcy protection increased last month, while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues. Financial experts have predicted this jump for months since states began to shut down in mid-March.

According to the legal-services firm, Epiq Systems Inc., the number of businesses that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy increased by 52 percent when compared to July 2019. Additionally, the number of personal bankruptcy cases have gone up. The number of personal bankruptcy filings are expected to increase, when the Covid-19 economic stimulus relief is cut or reduced.

Debt Relief

U.S. Household Debt Jumps the Most in 12 Years

The total amount of household debt carried by American consumers increased by $601 billion in 2019, according to recent figures from the Federal Reserve.  This increase represents the largest annual jump seen since before the 2007 financial crisis, according to officials at the New York Federal Reserve.

While total household debt has increased by $601 billion, the total amount outstanding has now reached $14 trillion for the first time. The last time the nation has seen national household debt grow this much was in 2007. At the time, household debt jumped by just over $1 trillion.

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

An Alarming Number of Student Borrowers Have Made No Progress on their Loan Balances

A disturbing number of student loan borrowers who began their repayment plans between 2010 and 2012 have made little to no progress towards reducing the principal balance owed on their student loans. According to a recent report from Moody’s Investor Services, 49 percent of student loan borrowers whose loan repayment plans began during that time have made no progress. Even worse, many of them have seen their balances grow.

This problem could be due to several factors, including poor job prospects and low salaries in their first jobs after graduation. Depending on the degree pursued by each borrower, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find a viable job that will allow the borrower to make appropriate payments to pay down their student loan debt.

Bankruptcy Law

Tips to Recover Quickly from Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy offers consumers a fresh financial start, but many people hold off on filing bankruptcy for fear of the negative effect it will have on their credit.  This is one of the most common bankruptcy myths,  and can keep individuals who are drowning financially from filing for bankruptcy. Bouncing back after bankruptcy is possible, and with proper discipline, it can be done relatively quickly.

According to a recent study by LendingTree, 65 percent of people who filed for bankruptcy in 2017, had a credit score of 640 or higher in two years.  The following tips can help you bounce back quickly after bankruptcy.