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 www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

When Should I File Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a powerful legal tool that allows those in financial crisis to cancel debts such as medical debt, credit card debt, and unsecured personal loans.

As soon as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, the consumer receives immediate protection from his or her creditors. This protection comes from the automatic stay that is issued by the court upon filing. The automatic stay puts a pause on all collection actions, including collection phone calls, legal proceedings to collect on a debt, wage garnishments, evictions, and foreclosures. The automatic stay also gives consumers a chance to breathe and work with the court and bankruptcy trustee.  

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.

Bankruptcy Law

Which Type of Bankruptcy Should I File to Keep My Home?

One of the biggest fears people have when filing for bankruptcy is losing their home, car, and other important assets. However, with Florida bankruptcy exemptions and depending on the type of bankruptcy being filed, it is possible for consumers to keep their home and other property. It ultimately depends on the filer’s financial circumstances.  

Protecting Home Equity  

How much equity the filer has in his or her home plays a big part in whether he or she can keep it Equity plays an important part in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The equity a person has in his or her home is protected through the state’s homestead exemption, and fortunately for Florida filers, the state’s homestead exemption is quite generous.  

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.

Kingcade Garcia McMaken, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Kristina Gonzalez Named Partner at Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A.

The Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken is pleased to announce the promotion of Kristina Gonzalez to the position of Partner with the firm.

“We are delighted to have Kristina become a Partner with the firm. Kristina is an exceptional bankruptcy lawyer and is the perfect fit to support our firm’s growth and positioning as the leading consumer bankruptcy law firm in Miami,” said Timothy S. Kingcade, the firm’s Managing Partner.

Ms. Gonzalez focuses her practice on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, foreclosure defense, and debt settlement. Kristina represents debtors throughout the bankruptcy process – initiating petitions, guiding debtors through meetings, depositions, and litigation with the trustee and advocating for debtors before the bankruptcy court.

Florida Super Lawyers

Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Selected to Serve on the Super Lawyers Blue Ribbon Panel

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected as a Blue Ribbon Panelist for Florida Super Lawyers. Only those in each practice area with the highest point totals are asked as part of the panel to evaluate the candidacy of fellow lawyers to enter the prestigious Super Lawyer rankings.

“It is an honor to be selected among the Blue Ribbon Panelists in the most comprehensive and independent review of exceptional lawyers. Being selected as a Super Lawyer the past seven years is an achievement in and of itself, but to know that Super Lawyers values my opinion in the evaluation of my peers receiving the title of Super Lawyer is a true privilege I graciously accept,” said Timothy S. Kingcade.

Debt Relief

How To Ensure Student Loan Debt Does Not Prevent You From Getting a Mortgage

With the cost of attending a university rising each year, more students are taking out student loans to pay for their education.  According to statistics from the Federal Reserve and New York Federal Reserve, more than 44 million American consumers owe a collective $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Student borrowers oftentimes graduate with up to six figures in student loan debt. Certain steps can be taken to ensure that student loans do not prevent young adults from reaching important milestones, like homeownership.   

Income-to-Debt Ratio 

When being approved for a mortgage, the borrower’s income-to-debt ratio is an important figure considered by potential lenders. Two different ratios are used by potential lenders. One of them is called a front-end ratio, which looks at the loan applicant’s expected mortgage in comparison to his or her monthly income. The second ratio is called the back-end ratio. This figure reviews the applicant’s monthly expenses, including housing costs, car payments, student loan payments, and other monthly expenses, in comparison to the person’s monthly income. If the borrower’s debt far outweighs his or her income, it is unlikely that person will be approved for a mortgage. However, certain steps can be taken to help boost that ratio. If the potential borrower is carrying a high credit card balance, by paying that balance down, he or she can help boost chances of being approved for a mortgage. If the borrower can pay down the balance in full every month, then that debt will not even factor into his or her debt-to-income ratio.  

Bankruptcy Law

The Fear of Bankruptcy is What Keeps Many Consumers from Filing

The fear of the unknown is a powerful force. Unfortunately, the fear of filing for bankruptcy and the unknown keeps many from proceeding with a bankruptcy case, even when it is the best option.

It is for this reason that only a small portion of American consumers file for bankruptcy annually, even though many of them could benefit from either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. While many different reasons exist for this failure to file, a misunderstanding of the process and fear of taking that first step keeps them from moving forward.    

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.