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.

Bankruptcy Law

The Benefits of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A bankruptcy case can mean different things to different clients. For many of our clients, it means a chance at a fresh financial start. It also means freedom from crippling debt and an unending barrage of collection calls. It is for this reason that many individuals choose to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to the many benefits this type of bankruptcy offers.

The benefits of filing for bankruptcy can include relief from debt collectors through the automatic stay issued at the start of the case, as well as relief of most of the filer’s debts, including medical bills, credit cards, personal loans, and other unsecured debts. By discharging these debts before they become legal judgments against the filer, he or she can avoid wage garnishment and repossession.

Bankruptcy Law

Timing is Important When It Comes to Filing for Bankruptcy

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, it is not always a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when.” Depending on a person’s financial situation, it can pay to properly time out a bankruptcy filing. Whether it is the right time to file for bankruptcy can depend on several factors including whether someone is facing foreclosure, vehicle repossession, wage garnishment, or any of the following.

Mortgage Modification

When someone is facing foreclosure, a few different steps can be taken to delay or even prevent the process. One of these solutions is through a mortgage modification. Homeowners facing foreclosure should try this approach first before filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Law

Mistakes to Avoid if You are a Senior Filing for Bankruptcy in Florida

More seniors are filing for bankruptcy than ever before, which has been the result of a number of factors including rising healthcare costs, lack of retirement savings and less social security.  Between the years 2013 and 2016, approximately one in every eight bankruptcy cases were filed by individuals who were older than 65. Twenty-one percent of those filing for bankruptcy were between the ages of 55 and 64.

The following mistakes were made by individuals in this age group as they attempted to explore options to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

student loan debt, Student Loans

Be on the Look-Out for These Student Loan Scams

More than 40 million borrowers are carrying an estimated $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. With that many individuals carrying student loan debt, it should come as no surprise that many scams are out there, hoping to take advantage of borrowers who are desperate to get out of debt quickly. Borrowers need to be aware of these debt relief scams in particular, which are now facing investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Student Loan Debt Elimination Scams

Many companies are out there offering the promise of eliminating student loan debt for borrowers who are desperate for a way out. However, if someone is offering a deal that sounds too good to be true, that is usually because it is, in fact, too good to be true. Many companies will promise to wipe away a person’s loans when they have no actual ability to do so. The fact of the matter is no one can promise student loan forgiveness or cancellation. Student loan borrowers can only ever receive forgiveness if they meet very specific conditions, and the fastest any borrower can receive loan forgiveness is five years. Even these forgiveness programs can be very difficult in terms of qualifications.

If the borrower has federal student loans, it should be noted that no student loan debt relief company can negotiate directly with the federal government to obtain lower rates on those loans. If a company promises the ability to negotiate a lower payment, this can normally only be done via an income-drive repayment plan, but most of these can be applied for directly by the borrower, not a third-party entity.

Bankruptcy Law

Understanding the Bankruptcy Process: How to File & the Qualifications

Filing for bankruptcy can be an emotional and sometimes stressful process. However, enlisting the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make the process painless and worry-free.  Many clients have little understanding about what is involved when they file for bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding where a judge and bankruptcy trustee review the financial situation of individuals or businesses who are not able to pay their financial obligations and discharge qualifying debts that they are no longer able to pay.

The Purpose of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is meant to give an individual a fresh financial start, allowing that person to wipe the slate clean. It also serves as a way to give the filer some sense of relief through the protection of the automatic stay, which means creditors are prohibited from continuing collection actions against the filer. This allows the person time to regroup, protect valuable assets and work with the bankruptcy trustee to handle their debts.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Bankruptcy Checklist: What to Bring to Your First Meeting with Your Attorney

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is never an easy decision, but those who emerge from it are often thankful for a fresh financial start and the opportunity to rebuild their finances.

Before you sit down with an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney, there are several important documents you need to bring with you.

  • Outstanding Debts and a List of Assets. The most important documents to bring to your initial bankruptcy consultation are a list of your outstanding debts and a list of your assets (i.e. – major assets, such as homes, cars, boats, trailers, time shares, etc.)
  • Financial Documentation. Wage statements, a recent pay stub, tax returns, bank account statements and any large purchase receipts.
  • Budget. A rough budget of your household’s income and expenses.
  • Creditor Information. A list of credit accounts, account numbers, the amounts you owe and their contact information.
  • Loan documentation. Any mortgages and outstanding loans you may have, such as: car loans, personal loans, etc.
  • Real Estate documentation. Forms and information pertaining to any property you may own or rent.
  • Personal Property Documentation. Any major personal property items like vehicles, boats, valuable jewelry, electronic items, appliances or other items that could be repossessed.
  • Questions. A list of any personal questions you may have for your attorney.

While it is best to be as prepared as possible, if you are unable to obtain all of these documents, do not worry. You will be provided with adequate time to contact your banks, lenders and creditors to obtain the necessary documentation for your bankruptcy proceeding.  It is important to be open and honest with your bankruptcy attorney to prevent possible bankruptcy fraud or being accused of “hiding” assets.  By providing all necessary documentation and working closely with your attorney, you will help ensure the bankruptcy process runs smoothly.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The Top Ways To Get Out Of Debt

Debt is a weight that can drag you down and make you feel like you are drowning without any way out.  Having extreme debt can affect your health, happiness and personal relationships.  Getting out of debt can be an even bigger struggle, if you do not devise a plan that works for your specific situation.

Debt Consolidation

One popular method of paying off debt is through debt consolidation. What consolidation means is the consumer’s debt is combined into one, single debt amount owed. Debt consolidation can be done through many different methods. A consumer can apply for a personal loan or consolidation loan to pay off all of the debts with the monies from the loan. This method allows you to only make one payment to one creditor rather than multiple creditors.  With this method, we strongly advise that you do your research. Not all debt consolidation companies are reputable, and it is important you understand the terms of the loan before signing on the dotted line. For most debt consolidation loans, you need good credit to be approved. If you are already struggling financially, many lenders will see you as a risky bet and will avoid lending to you without a co-signer or at least some collateral to secure the debt.

Credit Counseling

Many different credit counseling resources exist, and they usually involve a professional counselor who will work with the debtor on understanding his or her financial situation and researching possible options to get out of debt. Credit counselors often will work with the individual to organize and manage their debt, and the counselor will also contact the debtor’s creditors on payment arrangements, including creating payment plans or negotiating lower interest rates. Credit counselors can also put together a debt management plan that allows the debtor to make lower monthly payments through the debt counselor who, in turn, pays the individual’s creditors.

Like debt consolidation companies, it is important that you do your due diligence in choosing a credit counselor. Less-than-reputable agencies do exist, so make sure you choose someone who has your best interests in mind. Know that a credit counselor cannot make certain promises, such as guaranteeing that your creditors will work with them or that they will be able to directly reduce your debt. While they can certainly work towards that goal, lenders are not obligated to work with credit counselors. If a ‘credit counselor’ is promising you this or telling you that they can completely eliminate your debt by having you pay a low monthly payment to them, this is a BIG red flag.

Debt Settlement

Another potential option for paying off debt is through debt settlement. This process normally involves a third-party company that works with a debtor’s creditors to allow the debtor to pay a lower amount than what is owed. However, with this option the likelihood of scams is very high. Many of these companies have been reported for taking the debtor’s money and never negotiating on the debt. Additionally, debt settlement can result in a person’s credit taking a rather serious hit due to the fact that the debtor will normally have to stop making payments to the creditor, pushing the accounts into default. Unless the creditor agrees to work with the debt settlement company, a judgment can easily be issued against the debtor, resulting in wage garnishment to satisfy the debt.

Filing for bankruptcy

Debt can be complex and oftentimes frightening to deal with. Many times, people are hesitant or feel ashamed to ask for help. However, not properly dealing with debt can only make problems worse. Rather than run the risk of being sued by a creditor or have your wages garnished, it is best to deal with your debt head on. There are a number of debt relief options available, including filing for bankruptcy, which can completely wipe out unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, personal loans and more- and give you a fresh financial start. Exploring these options with the guidance and support of an experienced attorney can help you make the right decision.

Do not let your debt cost you another sleepless night. Here are some of the signs that bankruptcy is right for you. 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. The consultation is free, the relief is real! You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

What It Means to Commit Bankruptcy Fraud

When filing for bankruptcy, it is extremely important that you fully disclose all information requested and that all information provided be accurate and true. Although, most people who file for bankruptcy are honest hardworking people, some individuals can be tempted to hide property and assets.  This is called bankruptcy fraud, which is a federal crime that the U.S. Department of Justice takes very seriously.

Bankruptcy fraud occurs when a person knowingly and fraudulently commits certain prohibited acts in their bankruptcy case. It is estimated that somewhere around 10 percent of all U.S. bankruptcy filings include some form of bankruptcy fraud. If this fraud is discovered, the person committing the fraudulent act can face fines up to $250,000 and even imprisonment for up to five years in federal prison.

The four most common types of bankruptcy fraud include: concealment of assets, petition mills, multiple-filing schemes, and bust-out schemes. It must be shown that the person intended to commit the crime of bankruptcy fraud, which means that intent to deceive must be present. The person must have planned to commit the fraudulent act. If, for instance, someone makes a mistake in their forms or accidentally forgets an asset when preparing the documents, fraudulent intent is not necessarily there.

One of the most common types of bankruptcy fraud is concealment of assets. Concealing assets accounts for approximately 70 percent of all bankruptcy fraud cases reported. A person should never assume they can outsmart the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy trustees are experts at finding undisclosed cash, property, vehicles, boats, jewelry, antiques, and collectibles. If you are caught trying to hide assets, the consequences are big. Your discharge will be denied, and you will be unable to discharge the debts you listed in a subsequent bankruptcy filing.

Another form of bankruptcy fraud is making false statements either in sworn documents filed with the court or in person to the bankruptcy trustee. Debtors are required to fill out a bankruptcy petition and a number of other supporting documents, which includes a schedule of income and assets as well as a sworn financial declaration. By submitting these documents, you are swearing that all information provided is completely true.

Bankruptcy fraud can also be committed by someone filing too many bankruptcy cases in two or more states. These filings can be made using the same name and information or also false name and information, so long as they were filed by the same person. In these types of cases, the debtor will list the certain assets on some claims while other assets on the others, thus confusing the system. The ultimate goal of these multiple filings is to keep assets from total liquidation, giving the person time to conceal assets he or she wishes to keep.

Another form of bankruptcy fraud that seems to focus heavily on non-English speaking claimants involves bankruptcy petition mills. These “mills” are fraudulent schemes committed by a third-party, where that person claims to be a consultant who can help someone avoid eviction. That person gets all of the tenant’s information and files a bankruptcy petition without the tenant ever knowing. While the bankruptcy case is pending, the perpetrator of the crime will often completely clean out the tenant’s bank accounts and destroy his or her credit.  Sadly, these types of schemes are on the rise, especially in areas where many non-English individuals reside.

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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, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

When to File for Bankruptcy

Coming to the decision to file for bankruptcy is not an easy choice to make. Many individuals consider bankruptcy to be an admission of failure, but it can oftentimes be the only way for them to truly obtain a fresh financial start. Certain decisions and factors must be considered when coming to the decision to file for bankruptcy.

One consideration that often holds people back from making the decision to file is the effect the filing will have on their credit. The effects of bankruptcy on a person’s credit score depends on the score the filer had before filing for bankruptcy. If you have a higher credit score, the effect the bankruptcy will have will be more noticeable. However, if you have a lower credit score to begin with, the change may not be as much after filing for bankruptcy.

It helps to sort through the myths and facts before making that final decision, and if you do choose to file for bankruptcy, this does not mean all hope is loss. There are proven ways to rebuild your credit score after bankruptcy, and our clients are proof!

My credit score said on all three reports 775, I couldn’t believe that I had such a great score before 10 years. Tim for me was the best move I have made for my situation. I have no regrets, I am glad the past is the past. – Bill T.

Hi Tim- I just wanted to send a quick note and thank you and your team for handling my bankruptcy case.  It is only a month or two after discharge, and my credit scores are already in the upper 600’s. – C.S.

Traditionally, two of the biggest reasons people file for bankruptcy are the result of a serious medical crisis or a divorce. Both can cause a person’s financial situation to change overnight. Even if someone has medical insurance, a major medical crisis can still put them in a tough financial spot, especially if that person must pay a high deductible for his or her medical costs. The same goes for a divorce and losing the financial support of another person in a relationship.

Several factors need to be considered when deciding which form of bankruptcy to choose. Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes approximately three to six months to have the debt discharged, which includes most of the filer’s unsecured debt, including medical bills, credit card debt and personal loans. Other types of debt are excluded for the most part, including student loan debt, child support, spousal support and tax obligations. The bankruptcy trustee may choose to sell of non-exempt property to pay off the debt, although most property falls under an exemption- which means you can keep it. Property that is secured and is associated with a piece of property, like a home, can be kept so long as the debtor is able to keep up on payments and maintain the property. Therefore, if most of your debt involves credit card debt or medical debt, Chapter 7 may be the best option for you to eliminate this burden.

If you are behind on your mortgage payments but want to keep your home, many times, the Chapter 13 filing is a more logical choice. In a Chapter 13 case, you can lump past due mortgage payments into the repayment plan and pay them over time while keeping current on payments.

The bankruptcy means test determines whether or not you are eligible to file for debt forgiveness through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test uses factors such as: income, expenses and family size to determine who can afford to repay their debts through reorganization and who cannot.

It is always recommended that you speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before making any decision to file or not file. If you are expecting a large lump sum payment, such as an inheritance or tax refund, the attorney may advise you to wait on filing and utilize that money on needed expenses first before filing to avoid losing it in a bankruptcy. Be honest with your attorney during this meeting and fully disclose all your financial circumstances so that the best decision can be made.

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.

Related Resources:

https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/pay-down-my-debt/debt-guide-file-bankruptcy/