Articles Posted in Debt Settlement

Published on:

choose-150x150Many times, I meet with potential clients who are in the process of weighing credit counseling v. bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida in hopes of achieving debt relief. These potential clients, who largely become clients, want to know what the main differences are between credit counseling and bankruptcy. I always stress the importance of my client’s goals as they try to decide which option is best for them. For some, bankruptcy is the last possible option they will consider. This is due to the bad stigma many people associate bankruptcy with, but this is why bankruptcy might make the most sense in the long run.

Credit Counseling

Let’s start with defining credit counseling. Credit counseling is when you work with an agency or company you have hired to help you come up with a plan to pay off your debt. However, you must be very careful when choosing a credit counseling agency as many charge high rates and do not actually help you pay off your debt as promised. I have many clients who have come to me after this specific experience. It is best to choose a not-for-profit agency. Continue reading →

Published on:

taxes-150x150Taxes. No one likes having to file taxes. If you are among the million other Americans who don’t only have to file taxes but also have to pay additional taxes each year, you really do not like taxes. When you get hit with a hefty tax bill you are likely unable to pay all of it right away. Most Americans cannot. This then leads to the question of how long do you have to pay the taxes you owe and will you owe this tax debt forever. With the 2017 tax season having come to an end earlier this week, I am sure many Americans are asking this very question right now.

Fortunately, against common belief, there is actually a statute of limitations on IRS debt. A statute of limitations is a state or federal law that sets a specific time limit on how long an entity or individual can try to collect a debt from you. The statute of limitations for the collection of IRS debt is ten years. As with most things, there are some exceptions to this rule. Continue reading →

Published on:

pastdue-150x150If you fall very far behind on your credit card payments, or any other kind of debt for that matter, your debt might appear as having been charged-off on your credit report. A charge-off occurs when you are at least 180 days behind on your credit card payments, and the bank decides that the debt is no longer collectible and decides to write it off as a loss. However, this does not mean you no longer owe the debt. You are still 100% responsible for the debt. But what do you do and what should you expect?

The debt will have to be repaid.

At first, you might think that it is a good thing that your debt has been charged-off and you might even think that you no longer owe the debt. Unfortunately, when your bank decides your account is uncollectible, that is simply an accounting term. It in no way affects your liability for the entire debt owed. However, there is one caveat. The bank can only collect on the debt until the statute of limitations expires. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a credit card debt is five years. Continue reading →

Published on:

Filing for bankruptcy can be a very smart decision, but it is not a smart decision for everyone. Many different factors must be taken into account before making the decision to file for bankruptcy and it is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

First you should consider all possibilities that could get you out of your current debt situation. One possible alternative is to come up with a repayment plan based on your current income. This approach basically allows you to make a little progress with each paycheck you receive. You will most likely be living paycheck to paycheck, but if you are in a lot of debt, you are probably already doing this. If you think this approach is possible for you, you must then consider whether you can emotionally deal with the lingering debt and harassing telephone calls you most definitely receive from your creditors until you have paid everything off. This could last for years and take a toll on your mental and physical health. If you think you can do this financially, but do not believe you can handle the mental or physical stress that comes with it, then this approach may not be a good one for you.

If the above approach is not for you, then you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy, but you must first fully understand which chapter of bankruptcy you are eligible to file and how bankruptcy will affect your debts, assets, future, and health. There are generally two types of bankruptcies an individual files. The first is a Chapter 7, which is a strict liquidation of your assets and a wiping out of your debts, and the second is a Chapter 13, which is a reorganization of your debts. Which chapter you are able to file mostly depends on your household income and family size.

Published on:

home-in-foreclosure-thumb-250x166-2941A short sale can be a great solution for a homeowner who is having trouble making his or her mortgage payments. A short sale is when a bank agrees to accept a sale price that is less than the full mortgage amount owed in order to avoid foreclosure. However, homeowners that complete a short sale are often surprised to find out months or even years later that their lender is seeking a deficiency judgment against them.

What is a deficiency judgment? Since the sale price is less than the full amount owed on the mortgage, the difference between the total debt owed and the sale price is known as the deficiency. In some states, the lender can seek a personal judgment against you after the short sale to recover this deficiency amount. If this judgment is entered against you, then the lender may collect this from the borrower by garnishing wages or levying the debtor’s bank account; Florida is one of these states.

The good news is there are ways to avoid a deficiency judgment after a short sale. One of the best methods is to negotiate a full waiver of the lender’s right to seek a deficiency judgment while negotiating the short sale with your mortgage holder. If the lender agrees, then the provision will be included in your short sale agreement. The agreement must state the transaction is in full satisfaction of the debt and that the lender waives its right to the deficiency.

Published on:

Jacksonville Bankruptcy LawyerAs a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney I am always being asked numerous questions about Florida Bankruptcies and their effect on individuals you file. Although individual results will vary, I strongly encourage you if you are considering Bankruptcy to consult with a local Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney. With that being said, here is a list of the 5 most common benefits applicable to most of my clients when filing a Florida Bankruptcy.

  1. Gives you a “Fresh Start.” This means you liability for your dischargeable will be eliminated.
  2. Will stop Foreclosure proceedings or allow you time to catch up on past due payments.
Published on:

Debt Forgiveness IncomeThe economic squalor many of us have been enduring over the last year has lead to foreclosures, bankruptcies and a larger than usual amount of debt settlement.

Debt settlement is a useful tool in improving an individuals financial situation, but it is not without pitfalls. When someone has a large unsecured debt, such as a credit card, they can offer their creditor an alternative payment plan. For example: Marc owes $7,000 to a credit card company. Marc has had a severe drop in income and hasn’t been able to make payments to his creditor for several months. Marc wants to pay his debt, but can’t afford the large payment the company requires. He goes to his attorney friend and the attorney negotiates with the creditor on his behalf. Creditors often prefer large initial payments, with a promise to pay small incremental amounts thereafter. If the credit card company agrees, Marc can pay them $1,000 today and make $200 payments each monthly for twenty-four months. They may agree to this because he hasn’t been making payments thus far and it is well known that his attorney friend files bankruptcy cases. If Marc were to file a bankruptcy, this creditor knows they would get little to nothing in payment. When they agree, Marc has struck a deal that has him paying $5,800 to satisfy a $7,000 debt obligation. This is a $1,200 dollar savings which makes Marc happy because it’s more manageable and less than he originally owed. Just before taxes are due, when Marc’s debt is long forgotten, he gets a letter in the mail from the IRS. He nervously opens it to find a Form 1099-C for $1,200 in income, the exact amount he saved in his settlement. This is called “Debt Forgiveness Income”. The IRS’ theory is that because Marc’s overall worth has gone up by a net $1,200, he has in effect earned $1,200 in value and should be taxed on it.

In Marc’s situation he can probably handle the tax liability from an extra $1,200 in income for the year, but as the debt forgiven gets larger, the ability to absorb that liability decreases.

Published on:

If you want to reaffirm a debt after filing for bankruptcy, your must executed a new agreement with your creditor. This reaffirmation agreement must be written and must be signed by both you and the creditor. Should you sign this reaffirmation agreement? Here are some pros and cons.

Pros

First, if you want to keep the property, you must sign the reaffirmation agreement. Also, if you do sign, you will be certain what your payments will be, what your interest rate is, etc. Signing a reaffirmation agreement may also help rebuild your credit, since you are taking responsibility for a pre-filing debt and are making regular payments on a debt.

Published on:

Inheritance can be an issue in bankruptcy law. One might think that after you receive a discharge in your bankruptcy case, your case is done and the court does not have an interest in your finances. This is not always so.

In a Chapter 7 case, if a loved one dies and leave you an inheritance within 180 days from the date of filing your case, then this money becomes part of your bankruptcy estate. The trustee may want some or all of the inherited funds to distribute to creditors. The important thing to remember is that the date that you become eligible for the inheritance that is the date to use in this 180 day analysis. This is the date of the loved one’s death, not when you actually receive the money or property.

In a Chapter 13 case there is an ongoing obligation to keep the trustee appraised of what property you own. Once they learn of an inheritance, they will likely take those funds for the benefit of your creditors. This can occur any time during the case. Since Chapter 13 cases are often as long as five years, it is important to make arrangements with relatives who may pass on during this time.

Published on:

If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors at the federal courthouse. This is a hearing with the trustee, and any creditors are invited to attend, though usually they decline to. You will be put under Oath and asked to produce a photo I.D. and social security card. Then the trustee will ask you some questions. Here are some sample questions that a trustee might ask.

1. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct?

2. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules?

Contact Information