Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

What kind of credit counseling is required when you file for bankruptcy?

For many people, filing for bankruptcy is a last resort to end the challenges they face struggling with insurmountable debt.  If you decide to file bankruptcy you will need to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and complete mandatory credit counseling through a government-approved agency.

In accordance with the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, anyone filing for bankruptcy must receive two certificates: one for pre-filing bankruptcy counseling and one for a pre-discharge education course.

This counseling typically includes a complete review of your financial situation, including current income, household budget and a list of all unsecured debt. Counselors will discuss alternatives to bankruptcy, such as consolidation, debt management, and direct negotiation with your creditors.  The entire process takes up to one hour.

After filing for bankruptcy, you also must take a pre-discharge education course. This course lasts two hours and is evaluated by the Justice Department to ensure the topics are in compliance.  Topics oftentimes include: budgeting, financial products and tools, credit scores, contracts and consumer protection laws.

It can also include interactive tools, including pre- and post-tests, to measure the level of knowledge about these topics, which are important to understand in order to re-establish personal finances, rebuild credit and avoid getting back in debt.  These courses are available online and allow filers to meet the necessary requirements to earn their bankruptcy pre-discharge education certificate.

Here are some ways to get the most out of your bankruptcy counseling:

  • Make sure you receive counseling from a reputable agency (one that is not only approved by the government, but a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and in good standing with the Better Business Bureau);
  • Commit to your credit counseling. Set aside a block of time dedicated to these sessions.
  • Ask the counselors to explain anything you do not understand. They will answer any questions you have, as long as they are not legal-related.  These should be directed to your bankruptcy attorney.

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

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Credit, Debt Relief, Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

5 Tips to Bounce Back from a Foreclosure or Short Sale

More than 9.3 million homeowners lost a home through a distressed property sale from 2006 through 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).  As rents continue to rise and mortgage rates remain low as the economy continues to improve, some who lost their homes during the housing market crash are now ready to re-enter the market.  In fact, a 2015 study by the NAR found that 1.5 million previous homeowners might be eligible to buy within the next five years, based on the time it takes to improve credit scores and save for a down payment.

Here are some tips to remember when re-entering the housing market after a foreclosure or short sale:

Know your options. For homeowners who had extenuating circumstances, such as prolonged income loss or major medical expenses, Fannie Mae has shortened the waiting period to two years after a pre-foreclosure sale – a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure – and to three years after a foreclosure. You no longer have to wait seven years after a bankruptcy or foreclosure to purchase a new home.

Start saving. Saving for a down payment and closing costs are the biggest hurdles for would-be home buyers. Create a strategy for savings and avoid impulse purchases.  Save your bonus checks, tax refunds and set up a direct deposit to your savings account to help build your down payment.

Repair your credit. The FHA’s minimum credit score requirement for maximum financing is 580. However, other mortgage lenders require a FICO score of 640 or higher. Here are some quick tips to help repair your credit:

  • Pay off any high-interest debt on time each month;
  • Do not take out new loans or maximize your lines of credit;
  • Ask your utility providers or landlord to report your on-time monthly payments to the major credit bureaus.

Beware of predatory lenders. Never sign any contract you are unsure of and if you encounter a lender that tries to sell you a “special” zero-down home loan or any offer that sounds just too good to be true- do not take the bait.  Always get a second opinion.  Have a real estate attorney, housing counselor or a different lender review the paperwork for you.

Enlist expert help. Not only can housing counselors help you address credit issues and set up a savings plan, they can connect you with state, local and private resources that can help get you into a new home.  If you are looking to re-enter the housing market, reach out to a “HUD-approved” housing counselor before you begin. Also, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) provides help to more than 3 million people each year. Find a NFCC-certified housing counselor to discuss your options.

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

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