Bankruptcy Law, Lawyers in the News

Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Interviewed by The Miami Herald

With about one out of every nine Miami-Dade workers — and nearly one out of every six in Broward — still out of a job due to the coronavirus pandemic, a question lingers in South Florida: How long can the region stave off an even worse economic disaster?

After a rough start, Florida’s unemployment system has come online to furnish tens of thousands of local workers with as much as $875 per week in unemployment insurance — the state’s standard $275, plus an extra $600 through the emergency U.S. CARES Act passed in March. But Florida’s unemployment insurance lasts only 12 weeks. And the extra $600 from Congress is set to expire July 31. Greater Miami ranks as one of the hardest hit metros in the country, thanks to its reliance on a tourism industry that has instantly dried up.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How Debt Collectors Trick Consumers into Reviving Old Debts

Creditors can be extremely creative when attempting to collect on a debt. Many of them rely on the fact that most consumers do not truly understand the laws surrounding debt collection. The average consumer may not know creditors only have so long to collect on a debt under the state’s statute of limitations. After that time has passed, the creditor or debt collector is barred from taking legal action to collect on the debt.  But that does not mean they can’t stop trying to collect on it.

The problem is many debt collectors will still attempt to get payment on the debt, even after it is past the legal statute of limitations. This practice is often referred to as “zombie debt collection.” Their hope is that the consumer will pay on the bill, even just a partial amount, reviving the debt, and then giving the debt collector the legal right to sue to collect on the remaining debt.

It is important that consumers be aware of what the statute of limitations is for their given state. In Florida, debt collectors may not collect on a debt that is more than five years past due for written contracts, such as personal loans. For other debts, including those with revolving accounts, such as credit cards, the statute of limitations is four years.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Tips for Buying a Home Post Bankruptcy

Many people assume that filing for bankruptcy means that they will never be able to qualify for a home loan or take out credit again.  This is one of the many bankruptcy myths out there. The following steps can help you achieve the goal of purchasing a home post-bankruptcy.

  1. Review Your Financial Situation

After receiving your fresh start from bankruptcy, you should review your financial situation. Ensure that all of the debts that would have qualified for discharge in a bankruptcy case have, in fact, been discharged. It also helps to get a clear picture of where you are financially by reviewing your credit report.  Most financial experts recommend you review your credit report every year to ensure that no mistakes exist on the report and to ensure that progress is being made in rebuilding your credit.

  1. Establish a Budget

Not only is it helpful to get a good idea of your financial situation by reviewing your credit report and keeping tabs on your progress in rebuilding your credit, it is also important to establish and stick to a budget. Review your monthly household expenses, as well as your monthly income. Lay out any upcoming annual expenses, including taxes or vehicle registration, and make sure enough money is available to pay for all of these necessary expenses. If any additional funds are available after all needed expenses are met, use this money to help build up a savings for a down payment, as well as unexpected emergency expenses. Stick to this budget throughout the year, as much as possible to help build up savings for a down payment on a home.

One practical way to grow your savings is to follow the adage of paying yourself first. When creating a budget, make sure that putting money into savings is a priority by doing it before you use any extra money on unnecessary expenses. While the more you are able to put away into savings is better, also be realistic in how much you set aside for savings. Do not stretch yourself too thin to the point where you have nothing left for any other costs and expenditures.

  1. Rebuild Your Credit

Building up savings is important, but it is equally important to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. One important tool used by bankruptcy filers to rebuild credit is a secured credit card. These types of cards carry lower spending limits and higher interest rates but using a secured credit card for a short period of time can help rebuild credit. After a set period of time, you can begin using a conventional credit card, so long as the balance is kept low and paid in full every month. It also helps to continue paying all bills on time and not missing payments, which will improve your credit score over time.

  1. Formulate a Plan

You should go into the home purchasing process with a plan in mind. Calculate what type of down payment you can afford, but also keep in mind what type of monthly mortgage payment your budget can handle. Financial experts recommend that you not spend more than 28 percent of your income on housing costs.  Also ensure that your budget allows for additional expenses, such as regular maintenance and costs that come along with home ownership. If you have a house you are interested in, make sure you schedule a thorough inspection to ensure that no additional, unidentified problems come along with the purchase.

  1. Get Organized

Before applying for a mortgage, it is recommended that you get yourself organized and prepared with all of the financial information that will be required for a mortgage application. If you have just completed a bankruptcy case, odds are you are familiar with compiling important financial documentation, including paystubs, tax returns, list of assets and other financial documentation.  Common documentation that is required includes bank, credit card and other loan statements, tax records, insurance documents, employment records, paystubs, and investment records. If you have recently gone through a bankruptcy, you may also need to provide legal documentation, such as your bankruptcy petition.

  1. Research Your Mortgage Options

It pays to do the research to determine the best available lending options. Conventional mortgages are available through private lenders, mortgage companies, commercial banks and credit unions. These types of mortgages tend to be more rigid in their criteria. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also offers loans that are backed by the government. These loans are a little more flexible in their criteria but come with other restrictions on the person’s ability to flip the property or rent it out later. FHA loans, however, are beneficial for first-time or lower-income homeowners.  Be sure to research the different interest rate options available before signing on the dotted line. Financing can be done through a fixed-rate mortgage, which locks the purchaser into an interest rate at the time he or she signs loan documents, or an adjustable rate mortgage, which can mean rates can fluctuate with the market.

How smoothly purchasing a home after bankruptcy goes can depend heavily on the type of consumer bankruptcy that was filed, whether it be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and the type of loan being sought. Mortgage lenders have different “seasoning periods” that determine when someone is ready to receive a mortgage following a bankruptcy or foreclosure. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the period usually is four-years after discharge for a conventional mortgage or two years for a VA or FHA loan. However, for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a borrower may be able to get a conventional mortgage just two years after receiving a discharge or even less than two years if the borrower is seeking a VA or FHA mortgage.

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://blog.credit.com/2017/11/5-steps-to-buying-a-home-after-bankruptcy-115998/

https://blog.credit.com/2014/10/how-soon-can-i-buy-a-house-after-bankruptcy-or-foreclosure-98939/

 

 

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

Floridians Hold Some of the Highest Amounts of Credit Card Debt in the Nation

Credit card debt is a problem for many Americans, but according to a recent study, it seems to be a more significant problem in Florida.  In fact, the Sunshine State has been ranked among the top three states where residents hold the highest amount of credit card debt.

Florida residents carry a total balance of $59.2 billion in credit card debt, as of the end of 2017. The State of California tops the list with its residents holding $106.8 billion in credit card debt, followed by Texas at $67.3 billion.

Interestingly enough, California has traditionally been known to be a state where individuals need to earn the most income to be considered “wealthy” by most standards. Considering the high level of credit card debt residents in California carry, this leads one to conclude that this “income” involves resorting to the use of credit cards, instead of solely relying on earnings.

According to the report, the states with the highest amounts of credit card debt in 2017 were:

  1. California $106.8 billion
  2. Texas $67.3 billion
  3. Florida 59.2 billion
  4. New York $58.1 billion
  5. Pennsylvania $33.2 billion
  6. Illinois $32.2 billion
  7. New Jersey $29.6 billion
  8. Ohio $26.7 billion
  9. Virginia $26.5 billion
  10. Georgia $26.3 billion

Florida residents were also in the top ten for credit card delinquency rates, meaning balances were left unpaid for 90 or more days. Nationally, approximately 7.5 percent of credit card debt was delinquent by these standards. Florida was above this average figure and ranked third in terms of delinquency reported.

The report stated that credit card balances on a national level declined between the years 2008 and 2013 but began to rise again in 2014. As of 2017, more than 470 million credit card accounts were open, totaling $3.5 trillion. The total debt figures were compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  The full report can be viewed here.

If you are struggling with credit card debt 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://patch.com/florida/southtampa/florida-among-states-highest-credit-card-debt

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Florida Ranks in the Top 5 States for Invalid and Illegal Debt Collection

Invalid and illegal debt collection practices are at an all-time high across the country, and Florida is no exception.  Data was analyzed from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) to identify the states that engaged in these deceptive and illegal practices.  ‘Zombie’ debt collections are rampant in South Florida and involve attempts to collect debts not owed, those that were already paid or discharged in bankruptcy, debts owed by someone else, or are a result of identity theft. Typically, this debt collection practice is done by third-parties, who have collected these debts written off by the original creditor.

The five states in which zombie debt collection is most prevalent are:

  1. Delaware– Delaware leads the nation when it comes to the likelihood of having to deal with a collection agency trying to collect a debt you do not owe.  With a total of 422 complaints in the Consumer Complaint Database, Delaware has a per-capita rate of 44.72 complaints per 100,000 residents.
  2. Florida– Florida comes in at number two with 42.43 complaints per 100,000 residents (a total of 8,314 complaints in all).
  3. Georgia– Georgia trails Florida by two hundredths in its per capita incidence rate of reports of zombie debt collection attempts, with 4,258 complaints registered and a population of almost exactly 10 million residents.
  4. Nevada– Like Florida, Nevada has incidence rates of illegal debt collection attempts well above the national average of 25.84 per 100,000.
  5. Maryland– Maryland has 38.65 complaints per 100,000 residents. The affluent and suburban Prince George’s County has an incidence rate of 66.6 per 100,000 residents.

Knowing which debt collection agencies have a history of practicing zombie debt collection in your state can help you avoid being a victim.  The three debt collection agencies most likely to engage in invalid and illegal debt collection practices in the country are:

  1. Encore Capital Group
  2. Enhanced Recovery Company (ERC)
  3. Portfolio Recovery Associates

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 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, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How to Pay for Bankruptcy When You’re Broke

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs anywhere from between $500 to $3,500. If you are already in financial distress, it may be difficult to come up with the fees you will need to file. Follow these three strategies to pay for bankruptcy.

Raise the money

First, minimize your outgoing cash. For example, if you are still making credit card payments, stop making them. Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges unsecured debts such as credit card balances. Next, try to find some additional income. This can be done by selling old electronics or taking on part-time work. You can also use your tax refund to pay attorney and bankruptcy filing fees.

Work out a payment plan

If you find the right attorney, you may be able to make payments for the services and filing fees. Ask about setting up a payment plan in the initial meeting with any bankruptcy attorney you are considering. Your attorney can also with work the court on a payment plan for your bankruptcy filing fee.

Go pro bono

If your income is less than 150% of the official poverty line for your family size, you might qualify for free legal services or waived fees. If you are not sure how to find out if you qualify, your local bankruptcy court will have information on free legal clinics and local free legal aid resources. Also, the American Bankruptcy Institute has a bankruptcy attorney directory that can help you find pro bono attorneys in your area.

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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Beware of Credit Card Skimming Scams at Gas Stations

Consumer protection officials are warning consumers about a new form of high-tech theft that can affect all credit and debt card users. Scammers are using devices known as ‘skimmers’ at gas pumps to steal account information from debit and credit cards that are swiped. These devices are also commonly found at ATMs.

According to Mississippi state Attorney General, Jim Hood, the devices are difficult to detect and come in two forms: internal or external. The external devices fit over the actual card readers at the pumps. The internal devices are typically communication cables connected to a device that records data from the cards.

“These devices may go undetected for weeks, all the while gathering sensitive account information from unsuspecting consumers,” Hood said. “Consumers need to call their financial institutions immediately if they see any unauthorized activity on their accounts, and watch closely for signs of tampering when using gas pumps or ATMs.”

Authorities offer the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of card skimming:

  • Pick pumps close to the entrance of the gas station or convenience store. Skimmers usually target pumps that are not near the entrance.
  • Pay with cash.
  • If you’re using a debit card, choose the option to process the payment as credit so scammers do not have access to your PIN.
  • Lightly wiggle the card reader on the pump. External skimmers might feel loose and come off.
  • Ask gas stations and convenience stores what type of anti-skimming measures they have adopted.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, more than 250 skimmers were confiscated from gas pumps between July 2015 and July 2016. Approximately 100 consumers’ card numbers were stolen from each device and $1,000 stolen from each consumer.

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, Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Florida Foreclosure Improvement Still Lagging Behind the National Average

The nationwide foreclosure filings rate has shown signs of improvement in the first half of 2016. However, the improvement rate in Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, New York and Indiana is still significantly lower than the pre-recession rates and seem to be lagging behind the rest of the country. RealtyTrac released the data from the first two quarters of 2016 that reveal that foreclosure filings are were down 20 percent compared to the previous two quarters in 2015.

Although the foreclosure filings rate is still 21 percent higher than the normal rates, there were 15 states in the first half of 2016 with foreclosure rates that were significantly lower than “pre-housing bust” levels including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Michigan.

According to RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist, the obvious divide between states is largely due to the fact that some states require foreclosures to take place in court, such as Florida. He went on to say, “the root issue that created the dysfunctional foreclosures processes was sloppy and improper documentation on the part of the banks.” Blomquist said that in non-judicial states, “it wasn’t an issue because there wasn’t oversight.”

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Florida among Top States for Mortgage Fraud

According to a recent report by CoreLogic, Florida remains one of the most at-risk states for mortgage fraud. The report revealed that Florida had an estimated value of $273 million in fraudulent mortgage applications, behind California ($864 million) and New York ($278 million). Texas ($261 million) and Virginia ($231 million) rounded out the top 5. Nationwide there were an estimated $5.3 billion in fraudulent loan applications.

Click here to read more on the story listing Florida as one of the top states for mortgage fraud.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website.

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Florida’s Foreclosure Rate Drops to No. 2

Florida has fallen to the No.2 spot in the nation for foreclosure activity in August behind Nevada after three consecutive months at No. 1, according to RealtyTrac. In August, one in every 383 residences in Florida received a foreclosure filing. A total of 23,372 Florida properties received foreclosure filings in August, down 14 percent from July and down 15 percent from a year earlier.

The decrease in Florida foreclosure activity reflects a 65 percent decrease in new filings, which hit their lowest level since RealtyTrac began issuing its state report in April 2005.

In Miami-Dade County, one in every 264 residences received some type of foreclosure filing in August, as foreclosure activity fell 19.88 percent from a year earlier and declined 14.13 percent from July, according to RealtyTrac. In Broward County, one in every 372 residences received a foreclosure filing in August. That reflected a 12.23 percent decline in foreclosure activity from a year earlier and a 27.28 percent decline from July. In both Miami-Dade and Broward, new foreclosures filings were down in August from a year earlier, while auction notices and bank repossessions increased.

Among the 20 largest metropolitan areas, Miami posted the highest foreclosure rate, and Tampa ranked second.

Click here to read more on Florida falling to the No. 2 spot in the nation for foreclosure activity.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.