Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Trump Administration Erases Restriction on Big Student Loan Fees

The Trump administration recently repealed the Obama guidelines and instructed guarantee agencies to once again go after defaulters with big fees. Agencies had previously been charging fees of up to 18.5 percent when people defaulted on their student loans. However, in July 2015 the Obama administration issued a memo forbidding such practices as long as the borrower entered into the government’s loan rehabilitation program within 60 days of defaulting and started paying again.

The announcement came after a report was released that found a double-digit increase in defaults. It also came after Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to keep the guidelines in place.

The loans that are affected by the changes are loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) that were taken out before 2010. There are approximately seven million borrowers with $162 billion of outstanding debt in the FFEL program.

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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://consumerist.com/2017/03/17/trump-administration-eases-restriction-on-student-loan-debt-collectors/

http://www.newser.com/story/239949/trump-change-means-student-loan-defaulters-face-big-fees.html

 

Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Consumer Credit Scores to Exclude Some Debt and Liens Starting July 1st

The nation’s three largest credit-reporting agencies will soon exclude tax liens and some civil debts from their reports. The change by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will take effect July 1st. According to the Consumer Data Industry Association, it is part of a plan to ensure that consumer identifications in the data are accurate and current.

The provision is likely to improve millions of American’s credit scores. If reports on those tax liens and civil debts do not include the consumers’ names, addresses and Social Security number, they will not be reported.  Additionally, the records will not be included without courthouse visits to obtain newly filed and updated public records at least every 90 days.

However, there are some controversies surrounding the changes. Although they are likely to help consumers appear more credit-worthy, the updated policies could potentially make loan-screening more difficult for lenders.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Bipartisan Bill Could Help You Pay Off Your Student Loans

A new bill in Congress aims to encourage companies to offer help to their workers in paying off their student loan debt. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of 31 lawmakers sponsored legislation that would make employer contributions to their staff’s student loan payments tax deductible. It would be similar to contributions companies make to their workers’ 401(k)s.

“Some companies are already offering this benefit because they see the advantage it gives them when recruiting and retaining younger employees, but we want to encourage more to participate so we can help both struggling graduates and our economy,” said Representative Rodney Davis, a Republican from Illinois who introduced the bill along with Representative Scott Peters, a Democrat from California.

Consulting firm PwC was one of the first companies to initiate a student loan benefit program last year. The company offers new employees $1,200 a year toward their loans for up to six years. Since then, several other companies have launched similar plans.

“Adding tax relief to the equation could elevate student loan assistance alongside 401(k) contribution as one of the most valuable financial benefits a company can offer its workers that directly impact their quality of life today,” said Scott Thompson, the CEO of Tuition IO, a company that helps employers put student loan benefit plans in place.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Beware of a New Scam Involving Cash Advances

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently warned consumers to beware of a new debt collection con where scammers pose as debt collectors who claim to be collecting on cash advances.

Here is how the scam works:

You receive an automated call from a company claiming to be collecting a payment for a cash advance. Next, the recording will prompt you to stay on the line and speak with an agent.

If you stay on the line, the agent will request that you pay your debt immediately using a wire transfer or a prepaid debt card. If you refuse, the agent will use threats of arrest, lawsuits or garnished wages to intimidate you.

Keep in mind that the use of threats in debt collection is in violation of your rights as a consumer under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you receive one of these calls, the BBB suggests you do the following:

  • Just hang up. If you don’t have any outstanding loans, hang up.
  • Get an official notice. Ask the debt collector to provide an official “validation notice” of the debt. In the US and most of Canada, debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights.
  • Confirm the agency is real. Ask the caller for his/her name, company, street address and telephone number.
  • Do not provide any information they do not have. Until you have verified the call, do not provide or confirm a bank account, credit card number or any other personal information.
  • Check your credit report. If you are unsure if you have outstanding debt, check your credit report with one of the three national credit reporting companies: Equifax, TransUnion or Experian.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report. If the scammer has personal information, alert the three credit reporting companies that you have been contacted.

 

Click here for more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

5 Last Minute Tax Tips You Need Before Tax Day

Tax filing day is rapidly approaching us on April 18th as countless Americans are scrambling to gather up their paperwork and get their returns in on time. Here are five last minute tips that can reduce what you owe or increase your refund.

  1. Report all of your income. If you try to hide some of your income that you have received throughout the year, you may end up on the IRS audit list. Any time you receive income, whether it’s payment for a freelance job, a dividend check or interest from your bank, you’re required to report that income and pay taxes on it. In fact, you should receive a 1099 form from each issuer that pays you.
  2. Know your tax credits. Tax credits work by reducing your tax liability dollar-for-dollar. For example, a $1,000 tax credit means you get to automatically deduct $1,000 from your tax bill in full. As you prepare to file your return, take some time to read up on the various tax credits out there. For example, there are tax credits geared toward parents, students and low earners that can add up to huge savings.
  3. Don’t estimate your deductions. On the other hand, tax deductions can save you money by excluding a portion of your income from taxes. Some of the deductions that are available to tax filers include: mortgage interest deductions, medical expense deductions and deductions for charitable contributions. However, you need to check your records and make sure your numbers are 100% accurate.
  4. Contribute to last year’s IRA. If you failed to put money into an IRA last year, here’s some good news: it’s not too late! You can make a contribution that counts for the 2016 tax year. In fact, you have until Tax Day, April 18th, to make a contribution to the previous year’s account.
  5. File Electronically. Filing electronically can help to eliminate math errors. If your return contains a major mistake, you could get audited or cause your refund to be delayed. In 2014, the IRS identified almost 2.3 million math errors from the previous year’s returns.

 

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Woman Alleges SunTrust Bank Invaded Privacy with Collection Calls

Patricia Fonnegra, a Florida resident, filed a complaint on March 7th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against SunTrust Bank. Fonnegra stated in the complaint that the debt collector was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with frequent calls. The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from “robocalling” and regulate telephone practices.

Fonnegra claimed that she suffered damages in 2016 after receiving multiple collection calls from the defendant. In the complaint, the plaintiff holds SunTrust Bank responsible because the defendant allegedly invaded her privacy and harassed her with frequent calls.

Fonnegra requested a trial by jury and seeks statutory damages of $1,500, enjoin the defendant, all legal fees and any other relief as the court deems just.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://flarecord.com/stories/511088056-woman-alleges-suntrust-bank-invaded-privacy-with-collection-calls

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/fcc-approves-new-tcpa-rules-telephone-consumer-protection-act

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

8 Mistakes to Avoid on Black Friday

Millions of Americans wait all year for Black Friday to come around. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, seven out of ten people stock up on holiday gifts during Thanksgiving weekend. With the right planning and research, you can save a ton of money this holiday season.

Here are some mistakes to avoid during the busiest shopping day of the year.

  1. Failing to make a list. Start by making a list of the items you wish to buy. Then research the places with the best prices for these items. If you are unsure of the items you need, determine who you are shopping for and then do some research online.
  2. Paying full price for add-ons. One of the most common mistakes Black Friday shoppers make is paying full price for add-ons when shopping for electronics. These include batteries, cables and chargers. It is important to keep in mind that you do not need to get add-ons the same day or at the same place. Strategize where you can buy each commodity for electronics at the best price. Saving these items for Cyber Monday is a good choice!
  3. Buying toys. The sales on toys typically extend into the first two weeks of December. According to DealNews.com toys are generally cheaper in the first two weeks of December.
  4. Choosing the wrong time to go. Many of the stores who participate in Black Friday deals have started their sales on Thanksgiving in recent years. According to retale.com, 54 percent of shoppers said they would prefer to stay home on Thanksgiving. This gives shoppers a chance to beat the Black Friday crowds.
  5. Opening store credit cards. It is tempting to open a store credit card to save an additional 10 to 15 percent off your purchase. However, going into debt over the holidays is not worth the savings.
  6. Not using a price-comparison app. If you are planning on shopping on Black Friday, using apps like RedLaser, ShopSavvy and BuyVia will help you find the best prices.
  7. Falling for “fear of missing out.” Oftentimes shoppers fall for the belief that sales are short-lived or that items are in limited supply. This is not necessarily true. Retailers have been preparing for this day weeks in advance and have ample supplies of what they expect to be top sellers. Keep in mind that many of the door-buster deals that are in limited supply are cheap quality, as well as cheaply priced.
  8. Forgetting about Cyber Monday. If you do not find what you need on Black Friday, don’t forget about the Cyber Monday deals. Shopping online makes it easier to compare prices and stock up your cart with items you might not have been able to find in stores.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How does debt affect survivors after a loved one’s death?

It is a common occurrence that creditors start contacting grieving relatives to nudge them into paying their deceased loved one’s lingering debts. If you ever find yourself in this situation, here is what you need to know.

You do not need to worry about inheriting debt. In most situations, debt does not get passed down to heirs. However, creditors typically won’t tell you that. In fact, they are oftentimes depending on your sense of duty to pay off those debts. They may seem kind and sympathetic, but their ultimate goal is to persuade you into paying.

There are exceptions to the rule. Below are four instances in which you might still be on the hook for a debt after your loved one dies:

  • You co-signed on the debt.
  • You live in a community property state.
  • You are the spouse, and state law requires you to pay certain debts such as medical bills.
  • You were responsible for resolving the estate and did not follow state laws.

 

Estates may be liable. Although you are not personally responsible for your loved one’s debts, the estate may be. The estate is made up of your loved one’s remaining assets and may be required to cover the costs of outstanding debts left by your loved one. Creditors may file a claim in probate court. In which case, the money from the estate is used to pay those claims. What is left is what gets distributed to heirs.

If the estate does not have enough money to pay off creditors, it is considered insolvent. In that case, the unpaid debt should disappear. However, that might not stop some companies from calling you for payment.

Click here to read more on this story.

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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Borrowing your way out of Debt

Oftentimes people take out loans to pay off credit cards or other financial obligations and end up deeper in debt. However, there is a way to use debt consolidation loans successfully.

Emilie Burke of Raeford, North Carolina used a $6,000 personal loan from online lender Upstart to pay off some of the $13,600 credit card debt she incurred as a student. Since taking out the loan last November, she has paid down the balance to $4,500 and reduced her remaining credit card debt to $2,500. She also used balance transfer offers with a zero percent annual rate to lower her credit card interest rates and speed up her debt payoff.

Burke sought help from a financial planner at LearnVest, an online advice site. She then dedicated her earnings from a side job to pay down her debts. She also stopped carrying credit cards altogether. “I figured I couldn’t go back into debt if I didn’t have my cards,” Burke posted on her blog about her journey out of debt.

Five Steps to Successful Debt Consolidation

  1. Objectively assess your situation. If your debts equal more than half of your income, consider consulting a bankruptcy attorney. You are unlikely to be able to pay off your debts within five years, which is typically the longest period you would be forced to do so under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment. If your debt is unmanageable, consider filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which erases consumer debt within three to four months.
  2. Avoid high-cost loans. Calculate the total cost of the loan. Add up the monthly payments times the number of payments, plus any other fees. Then compare that number with what you are paying now. Avoid lenders who offer low payments but sky-high interest rates and long terms that will keep you in debt longer. Credit unions tend to offer the best rates and terms on personal loans.
  3. Opt for the shortest possible loan. Choosing the shortest loan will minimize the interest that you will pay. Only use a loan with terms up to three years, if possible. Five years is the maximum you should consider.
  4. Look for direct payment of creditors. If possible, use a lender that will pay your credit card company directly. This will remove the temptation to use borrowed funds for another purpose.
  5. Consider closing your cards. Although this can hurt your credit score, going into further debt can impact your score much worse. According to financial experts, people who closed their accounts were more likely to pay off their debts, regardless of the dollar amount, than those who left them open.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How soon can a Creditor Send my Account to Collections?

A bill sent to collections can stay on your credit report for up to seven years and have a negative impact on your credit score.  Sometimes people are unaware they have an unpaid bill until a debt collector contacts them, others have fallen on hard times and do not have a choice but to let their debt go to collections.

So how quickly can a creditor send an unpaid bill to a debt collector?

This can occur as soon as the default in payment has occurred. For example, if you made a promise to pay on a certain date and failed to do so, you could be sent to collections the very next day.  However, if there is a contractual grace period, the creditor cannot send the account to collections until the grace period has expired.

You may be able to negotiate with the creditor (or landlord, doctor’s office, utility company, etc.) by explaining your situation and working out a payment plan.  Keep in mind, they want to get paid, rather than write the debt off as a loss.

If you end up with a collection account on your credit report, you can try to have it removed. If it cannot be removed, focus on other aspects of your credit, like paying down debt and making future payments on time. This will help rehabilitate your credit score overtime.

It is also a good idea to regularly review your credit report for mistakes, because credit report errors are common and can damage your credit- unnecessarily. You are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.