Philadelphia Debt Settlement Lawyer
Bankruptcy has helped millions of people get relief from debt and regain financial control of their lives. However, bankruptcy isn’t always right for everyone. If you need help getting your debt under control, but bankruptcy isn’t an option, debt settlement might be a useful alternative. Serving Philadelphia, Bucks, and Delaware Counties, the Pennsylvania debt settlement lawyers of Sadek & Cooper Law Offices can help you decide whether debt settlement is right for you, and if so, guide you through the process to help you efficiently achieve a better outcome.
Our respected team of debt lawyers and bankruptcy attorneys has years of experience helping Philadelphians manage their finances and get fresh starts. Our wealth of knowledge and extensive experience handling Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and debt settlement cases in Pennsylvania enables us to conduct a nuanced assessment of which strategy is best suited to your circumstances and objectives. When you are represented by Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, you’ll have an advocate who will be there to answer your questions, manage your documentation, advise you of your options, and protect your best interests throughout the debt negotiation process with your creditors.
Start getting the debt relief you need to eliminate stress and achieve your financial goals. For a free and completely confidential legal consultation, contact Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215)-545-0008 today.
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What’s the Difference Between Debt Settlement, Debt Consolidation, and Bankruptcy?
Debt settlement, debt consolidation, and personal bankruptcy are three approaches to debt which are frequently confused with one another. However, it is critical for debtors to be aware of the significant distinctions between these methods of addressing debt.
Debt settlement is the process of negotiating a payment to your creditors for less than the amount that you actually owe. For instance, if you owe a creditor $20,000, the goal of debt settlement would be to negotiate the debt down to a lower, more manageable payment, such as $13,000. Because debtors are generally expected to begin making settlement payments almost right away, it is critical to approach the debt settlement process with sufficient funds to accommodate the settlement payments.
The term “debt consolidation” sounds similar to debt settlement, but follows a completely different process. Instead of paying the creditor a reduced amount as he or she would following debt settlement negotiations, the debtor makes monthly payments to a third party, such as a debt consolidation company, which then takes a fee and makes minimum monthly payments on the debtor’s behalf.
Bankruptcy works differently depending on whether the debtor files Chapter 7 (“straight bankruptcy,” “ordinary bankruptcy,” “liquidation bankruptcy”) or Chapter 13 (“reorganization bankruptcy,” “wage earner’s plan”). However, both chapters are different from debt settlement and debt consolidation.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is authorized to sell some of the debtor’s property to creditors. However, debtors can usually keep most or all their property, either because the property can be retained using federal or Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions, or because the trustee decides not to sell it due to low value. If the debtor obeys bankruptcy regulations and court rules, liability for most of his or her debts will be wiped out, including credit card, medical debt, business debt, and debt arising from personal loans. That means the filer is no longer responsible for paying those debts.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor keeps all of his or her property. In exchange, the debtor is required to make monthly payments to a trustee, who distributes the funds amongst creditors. This process continues for either three or five years, depending on the terms of the debtor’s court-approved bankruptcy plan, called the “reorganization plan.” This gives the debtor an opportunity to prevent foreclosure and repossession. Additionally, many debts can be discharged (eliminated) in Chapter 13, including certain debts which are not dischargeable in Chapter 7.
Philadelphia Debt Settlement Attorneys Serving Bucks and Delaware Counties
If you’re struggling to keep up with monthly bills, feel overwhelmed by debt collectors, or find yourself worrying about foreclosure proceedings, it’s time to take action and get financial relief. However, it’s not in your best interests to initiate the debt settlement process or bankruptcy process without legal assistance from a knowledgeable and experienced debt attorney who possesses a strong understanding of bankruptcy laws, debt negotiation strategies, and debtors’ legal rights. If you approach the bankruptcy or debt settlement process without help from an attorney, it is easy to make errors or overlook technicalities that have serious repercussions for your financial outcome.
Don’t go through the debt settlement process alone. Get experienced, efficient, effective representation from Sadek & Cooper Law Offices. Our debt settlement and bankruptcy law firm helps individual debtors, married couples, and business owners throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, and Delaware Counties, including Ardmore, Chester, Croydon, Drexel Hill, Levittown, and more. For a free debt settlement consultation, contact our law offices at (215)-545-0008 today.
Debt Settlement Pros and Cons in Pennsylvania
Debt can cast a shadow over every part of your life, causing constant stress and anxiety about how you will manage to keep paying your bills, putting food on the table, and avoiding foreclosure on your home or eviction from your apartment. The good news is that debt doesn’t have to continue impacting you so negatively. You may be able to dramatically reduce the amount you owe your creditors by going through a process known as “debt settlement,” which many Philadelphians use as an alternative to filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of debt settlement and how the process works. Then, contact our Philadelphia debt settlement attorneys for a free consultation about how we can help you get a fresh start.
What is the Debt Settlement Definition?
It is important to emphasize that debt settlement, which is an agreement you negotiate with your creditors to pay less than what you owe, is not the same as debt consolidation. Though you may hear these terms used interchangeably, do not be misled: they are different methods of reducing consumer debt.
You might also hear “debt settlement” used to describe bankruptcy, but this is also inaccurate. Like debt consolidation, bankruptcy is a separate process that follows completely different rules and procedures from debt settlement. If your intent is to file bankruptcy, you should contact a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer or Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Philadelphia for assistance with the Pennsylvania bankruptcy process.
It’s important to choose the right approach in order to get maximum debt relief. With years of experience handling all three procedures, our knowledgeable attorneys can help you make a decision about whether debt settlement, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy would be best for you after hearing more about your financial circumstances during your free consultation. In the meantime, this article will give you a clearer idea of the benefits and pitfalls of the debt settlement process.
This process begins when your debt settlement lawyer makes an offer to your creditor, meaning any individual to whom, or business to which, you currently owe money. If, like many debtors, you have more than one creditor, this process will need to be repeated with each.
The figure your attorney offers to the creditor or creditors will be lower than the amount that you actually owe, possibly by thousands of dollars. If the offer is accepted, you must pay the negotiated amount. Money will be withdrawn from your checking account and deposited into a separate, dedicated account, generally over a period of several months to several years, until enough funds have been accumulated to settle the debt.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Debt Settlement
Like any approach to reducing debt, debt settlement has both pros and cons. The key is to determine whether the pros would outweigh the cons in your situation (and if not, to identify a strategy that would better serve your needs and goals).
The main advantage of debt settlement, under the right circumstances, is that it may allow you to reduce your debts both rapidly and substantially. Depending on what you owe and what your creditor or creditors are willing to accept, you could slash your debts in half, or even to a lower amount.
On the other hand, there can also be some disadvantages to debt settlement. Potential pitfalls are that:
- Debt settlement can affect your tax liability, meaning you may owe money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). From the perspective of the IRS, the money you saved is effectively income that you gained – and can be taxed on.
- Debt settlement can have a negative impact on your credit score, as can bankruptcy. However, taking no action to resolve your debts will also continue to lower your credit score.
- Debt settlement can take time. Though it may be possible to settle the debts within just a few months, it could also take 36 months or longer to complete the process, depending on your circumstances. This is also true of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, though Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically completed in about four to six months.
- You may accrue interest charges and late fees while you are in the process of negotiating settlements with each of your creditors.
- Your creditor may simply refuse to accept your settlement offer, ruling out debt settlement as a possibility.
Because of these potential obstacles, it is critically important to have guidance from an experienced bankruptcy alternatives attorney in Philadelphia, who will protect your best interests while assisting you with financial documentation and advising you of your rights and responsibilities as a debtor.
Philadelphia Debt Settlement Lawyers Can Reduce What You Owe
You don’t have to keep living with overwhelming debt. Help is only a phone call away. To learn more about your options for reducing or wiping out your debts, including debt settlement, debt consolidation, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, call Sadek and Cooper Law Offices, LLC at (215)-545-0008 for a free consultation. Our Pennsylvania bankruptcy law firm has handled thousands of cases, and can give you honest and transparent advice about how to most effectively reduce or get rid of your debt.