Bankruptcy, like most legal services is something that people generally do not want to do. When finances are no longer manageable, bankruptcy is something that people need to do. Most people have heard the word “Bankruptcy,” but are unsure when to consider a Bankruptcy filing. Below are a few examples of the situations we see and help with on a daily basis.
1. Mortgage and Tax Foreclosure. Under Title 11 Section 362 any action against a bankruptcy filer or their property must stop. This provision of the bankruptcy code is well known as the “Automatic Stay.” The Automatic Stay is the most powerful law I have come across in my legal career. The automatic stay allows a homeowner at any time prior to a foreclosure sale to stop the proceedings and remain in their home. The Bankruptcy filer in exchange for stopping the sale of their home will still have the obligation to pay their regular monthly mortgage and a catch up payment over three to five years to a Trustee towards what they are behind on their mortgage. It is important in effort to keep the catch up payments as low as possible to engage a reputable attorney as early in the foreclosure process as possible.
2. Lawsuits. Usually by the time a collections lawsuit has commenced one is delinquent on several financial obligations. In the event there is a relatively low amount of debt or only a few creditors, defending a lawsuit in state or municipal court may be an option. Where there are numerous creditors and the debt is not affordable on a monthly basis and/or the debt is preventing the borrower to accumulate savings, a Bankruptcy may be a great option for a fresh financial start.
3. Limited Savings. Most people that our office meets with have limited savings. It is very common that after paying reasonable monthly expenses such as rent or a mortgage, car payment(s), insurances, gas, food and clothing and other necessities, plus debt payments, there simply is nothing left over. Due to the lack of a financial surplus on a monthly basis, it is increasingly difficult to establish and grow a savings fund. In turn where savings are not sufficient a potential Bankruptcy filer is forced to incur additional debt in the form of high interest credit cards and personal loans to get through the month. This is an ideal situation and very profitable for the Lender, but impedes the financial freedom of the consumer. If you find that you are unable to save because of the amount of debt you are carrying, Bankruptcy may be your answer.
4. Stop Phone Calls and Creditor Harassment. The creditors always seem to call at the worst time. As soon as you’re home and done work, the last thing you need is a nasty creditor calling or sending you letters. The reality is, if a consumer has the money, they would absolutely pay their obligations. Also, if the interest rate was reasonable or if the creditors were willing to work with the consumer, the consumer could more easily repay the debt. Because we realize how pestering the creditor phone calls can be, our office fields our clients’ creditor calls 24/7 for them.
5. Debt Consolidation not working. “Debt Consolidation,” “Credit Counseling,” “Debt Reduction Program” all work in somewhat similar fashion. Generally the consumer will put away a certain sum of money on a monthly basis towards ultimately settling the debt. The monthly amount is generally less than what the consumer is paying outside of the Debt Consolidation program (the consumer would not sign up over the phone if the amount was not less than what they were paying). The monthly payment amount is put into an escrow account earmarked for the eventual settlement of the debts. The issues we see on a regular basis regarding debt consolidation are the debt is increasing faster than the consumer can save to settle the debt on a monthly basis, even though the consumer is in the program they are still receiving lawsuits from creditors, not all of the creditors agree to the program, any debt amount forgiven in the program is subject to taxation, and the consumer has been in the program for months or years and not seeing results. If you are considering debt consolidation or your current debt consolidation plan is not working, please call us to discuss your options.