How Can Filing Bankruptcy Help Ease the Stress of Debt?

How Can Filing Bankruptcy Help Ease the Stress of Debt?

The thought of filing bankruptcy can be intimidating.  Our bankruptcy attorney has been working with clients to help them resolve debt issues for more than three decades.  We not only know the physical process of filing bankruptcy; we also understand the emotions that can occur as a result.  We sometimes meet with clients who are so overwhelmed, they feel there is no way out.  They often ask us if filing bankruptcy will really ease their stress.  While we cannot wave a magic want to make your stress go away, our bankruptcy lawyer can say with quite certainty that many clients report feeling much less stress after filing bankruptcy.

We are continuing our series of articles discussing some ways filing bankruptcy can ease the stress of being in debt.  Our previous article covered the fact that once your bankruptcy attorney files for you, an “automatic stay” takes effect and creditors will be required to stop contacting you. We also discussed the ways in which different types of bankruptcy can resolve debt issues. Today, we will look at two more ways filing bankruptcy can reduce stress of debt.

Prevents Foreclosure

Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help prevent your home from going into foreclosure.  This is because when your bankruptcy attorney files Chapter 13 on your behalf, you are essentially asking for the ability to re-organize your debt, allowing you to catch up on your mortgage and/or finance your past due payments in accordance with the payment plan that has been established as part of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Retain Assets

Filing bankruptcy can help protect your personal assets that you already own (i.e., jewelry, clothing, furniture, etc.) as well as help you retain some that you don’t.  For instance, if you have a car loan and are behind on payments, you may be able to keep the vehicle under your bankruptcy financial restructuring plan.  

When in need of an experienced lawyer to help them file bankruptcy, Charleston residents and those in surrounding areas trust the Drose Law Firm.  Give us a call to meet with our bankruptcy lawyer today.

Case Study

Nancy P. – Case Study

Nancy P. survived the loss of a career and a bankruptcy. Now she has some words of advice for those going through the same things.

The economy was still crashing in 2010 when Nancy came to the realization that what she thought were sound business decisions turned into a series of massive mistakes and unfortunate timing. She couldn’t hold on to her restaurant and her three rental houses any longer. Her employees were out of work and she couldn’t pay her vendors.

“I felt so terrible about myself because I couldn’t fix it. It was an avalanche and I couldn’t do anything to stop it,” she wrote in an email to TFS. “Everyone knew I had to close my restaurant and what was once a dream turned into a total nightmare.”

It wasn’t until late January of 2015 that Nancy and her husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

While at the time her personal bankruptcy felt like it was an “epic failure” and taking a handout she didn’t deserve, in retrospect Nancy said she should have filed sooner. It ended up being the best thing to do for herself, her family and her future.

She signed up with www.tfsbillpay.com for monthly payments in July of 2017. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. Early in the process, Nancy had a couple of failed payments but still persevered and made “catch up” payments. In all, she made 17 transactions totaling more than $10,000 through TFS.

“Money was tight but eventually I found the reward in making those payments,” she said “It was what I could do to get to the other side of this. It was a form of redemption.”

Now free from bankruptcy, Nancy feels like she was given a second chance.

Her credit is good, she is buying a house and she is even considering a new business opportunity – something she never expected to do.

“You will get out of this, too. Don’t beat yourself up,” Nancy said. “You will learn so much through this process and you will come out of it better and stronger.”

And, she has advice for others as they navigate through bankruptcy.

“Managing your mental state is probably one of the most important things you can do to get through bankruptcy,” Nancy wrote.

Here are Nancy’s best tips for going through a bankruptcy:

  1. You are not a failure if you file for bankruptcy. 
  2. Get a good bankruptcy attorney.
  3. Don’t wait too long to file. 
  4. Remember, it will eventually end. 
  5. Whether you are required to pay anything back or not, this is your chance to have a new life. It is a massive gift so just accept it graciously and get on with your life. 
  6. Be kind to yourself as you go through this. You are making the right decision for you and your future. 
  7. The world, your creditors and the government are not “out to get you.” Bankruptcy is your chance for a clean slate. 
  8. If you are a small business owner, get an accountant who can do your books and even better if they are savvy on market trends. Pay attention to the economy. 
  9. Learn about finances during bankruptcy. Buy books, take online courses or watch YouTube.  There are some excellent free resources online to help you manage your money. Your bank, investment firms and community centers also offer classes. Create a new relationship with money. 
  10. Did I mention that bankruptcy is not failure? You are not a failure. 
What Can I Expect After Filing Bankruptcy?

What Can I Expect After Filing Bankruptcy?

Some people are apprehensive about filing bankruptcy because they do not know what to expect. There is little worse than hiring a bankruptcy lawyer that leaves you in the dark. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, I take time to educate my clients on the process of filing bankruptcy. Charleston residents have come to trust me, which is why I am one of the most respected bankruptcy attorneys in the Lowcountry. Our next series of articles will discuss what you can expect to happen after you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Automatic Stay

Once your bankruptcy attorney has filed Chapter 7, an automatic stay will go into effect.  This essentially keeps creditors from contacting you, garnishing your wages or bank accounts, or taking any legal action against you. Be sure to inform your bankruptcy lawyer if you receive harassing calls or correspondence from your creditors after the automatic stay goes into effect.

Trustee

A trustee will be assigned to you.  Your trustee will review your filings and be present along with your bankruptcy attorney during your creditor meeting.

Reaffirmation Agreements

Your creditors may choose to send you a reaffirmation agreement to not have their debt discharged. If you receive one of these give it to your bankruptcy attorney to review before signing.

Our next article will cover more of what you can expect to happen after your bankruptcy lawyer files Chapter 7.

The Drose Law firm has more than 30 years of experience handling bankruptcy.  Charleston bankruptcy lawyers are not all equal and many also practice other types of law.  Our bankruptcy attorney only handles bankruptcy and creditor debtor law. If you’ve tried everything else or are ready to consider bankruptcy, we will be here for you. Give us a call to schedule a consultation today. 

Help! I’ve Filed Bankruptcy But Creditors Keep Calling

Help! I’ve Filed Bankruptcy But Creditors Keep Calling

Theoretically, when you file bankruptcy, your creditors should stop calling you.  You may still be contacted by creditors until your bankruptcy notice fully processes.  However, there are some debt collectors who may be relentless and still choose to contact you. If this happens, there are a few steps you can take.

Tell Them You Have Filed

The first step you should take if you are contacted by creditors after your bankruptcy attorney files for you is to let them know you have filed and ask them to stop calling you.

Make a Detailed List of Creditors Who Call

As you inform creditors who call you that your bankruptcy lawyer has filed for you, be sure to keep a log of each call.  Write down the name of the creditor, name of the person calling you (if you are able to get it), when they called (date and time), and a brief synopsis of the conversation. This could be useful if action needs to be taken against a persistent debt collector as discussed below.

Let Them Know You Are Prepared to Take Legal Action

Once you have informed your creditors that your bankruptcy attorney has filed on your behalf, they should stop calling you. If they do not, then you are well within your rights to inform them that you are prepared to take legal action if they continue to harass you.  Be sure to consult with your bankruptcy lawyer on your full rights and recommended verbiage to use in your particular situation.

When it comes to bankruptcy, Charleston residents and those in surrounding areas have trusted Drose Law Firm for more than 30 years. If you find yourself in need of an experienced and compassionate bankruptcy attorney, we are here. Give us a call to learn more today!

Scam Targets Bankruptcy Filers

Scam Targets Bankruptcy Filers

Phone scammers are targeting bankruptcy filers in several states, using personal information from filings and posing as attorneys to get intended victims to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt.

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys issued a warning that “Under no circumstances would a bankruptcy attorney or staff member telephone a client and ask for a wire transfer immediately to satisfy a debt. Nor would the bankruptcy attorney and staff ever threaten arrest if a debt isn’t paid.”

Bankruptcy filers in Vermont and Virginia reportedly have received calls. Vermont’s Attorney General says scammers use software to “spoof” the Caller ID system so the call appears to be originating from the phone line of the consumer’s bankruptcy attorney. Typically the calls come late in the evening or during non-business hours to make it difficult for intended victims to verify the call by contacting their attorney.

Consumers receiving this kind of call are advised to hang up and contact their bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Do not give any personal or financial account information to the caller.

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source:  uscourts.gov

What to Do If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft

What to Do If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft

by Bernard Pragides

If you have had identity theft or frauds occur, there are some steps to take to report the fraudulent activity. And there are steps to follow to retake control of your life.  Follow each according to the information you have about the fraudulent activity.

  1. Being by calling in and reporting whatever information you have to your local authorities, even if it’s online fraud. Law enforcement may want to send out someone to take a report or ask you to come in to file one.
  2. If there was a company involved in the fraud and you have information about them, contact the Better Business Bureau and fill out a report. This can be down quickly and easily online by starting at: http://www.bbb.org .
  3. Along with #2 above, contact the Attorney General’s Office for that state in the U.S.A. Simply key in “attorney general office of (state you are in)” to search engines for online information and complaint / fraud forms.
  4. If the fraud occurred via the telephone, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling toll-free: 1-877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338); TDD at 202-326-2502. Contact them by mail in care of the: Consumer Response Center, FTC; 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.; Washington, DC 20580, USA.
  5. If the fraud involved the post office, contact them for more information. Their website with plenty of contact details is at: http://www.usps.com or call them at: General Information 1-800-ASK-USPS® or (800) 275-8777.
  6. If any checks were involved in fraudulent activity, contact your bank and close the account immediately. Then follow up with any of the following check companies involved as needed (ask your banker or accountant):Equifax — (800) 437-5120 CrossCheck — (800) 552-1900 CheckRite — (800) 766-2748 ChexSystems — (800) 428-9623 National Processing Co. (NPC) — (800) 526-5380 TeleCheck — (800) 710-9898 SCAN — (800) 262-7771
  7. If you believe or know that your social security number has been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration at:Social Security Administration Office of Public Inquiries
    Windsor Park Building
    6401 Security Blvd.
    Baltimore, MD 21235

    Call 800-269-0271 http://www.ssa.gov

  8. If you need to inform the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they have a procedure, their “1.13 IRS Procedures: Reporting Fraud” online at: http://www.irs.gov/faqs/faq1-13.html for more details and how to file a report. Write to them in care of:Internal Revenue Service Fresno, CA 93888
  9. Print out this list for emergencies and handy reference. And share it with your friends and loved ones to protect and help them in the event of identity fraud and theft.

About the Author

Bernard Pragides is an author and offers expert advice and tips regarding identity theft. Please visit his site http://www.IdentityProtek.com for more helpful information

Refinancing After Bankruptcy

Refinancing After Bankruptcy

By Carrie Reeder

Refinancing after a bankruptcy can seem like an especially difficult challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Six months after your bankruptcy has been finalized, you can find lenders willing to refinance your mortgage. In fact, refinancing your mortgage can help rebuild your credit to good standing in two year’s time. The following steps will help you find the best refinance lender while helping you rebuild your credit record.

Preparing For Refinancing

Right after bankruptcy, you have six months to prepare to refinance your mortgage. Begin by establishing good payment history by regularly paying your bills and current mortgage. This is also a good time to open a credit card account to start establishing good credit history.

If possible, also start building up a savings account. The more cash assets you have, the better your application will look. Consider having a garage sale or taking a second job to raise funds.

Researching Lenders

Once you are ready to refinance, research mortgage lenders and their rates. Online mortgage websites allow easy comparison shopping. Look at both interest rates and fees of refinancing quotes. Usually a slightly higher rate with low fees is the best deal.

With bankruptcy on your credit report, you will typically need to work with a sub prime lender. You can expect to pay a few percentage points above a traditional mortgage, which you can find through online mortgage companies.

Choosing Your Refinancing Package

You may be offered a chance to cash out part of your home’s equity when refinancing your mortgage. If you need to make home improvements or buy a car, this may be a good option. However, if you keep your home’s equity in place, you are improving your credit.

Once you have decided on your terms, you can finish your loan application online or through the mail. Quotes are not guaranteed, so rates may vary slightly once your application has been approved. Before the loan is finalized though you have the opportunity to review the loan again.

After Refinancing

With your refinancing completed, you can plan to lower your interest rates through refinancing in two years by building up your credit score. Continue to make regular payments and add to your cash reserves. Before you apply to refinance again, review your credit report to be sure your bankruptcy closed all past accounts on your record. With a solid credit history behind you, you can apply to traditional mortgage lenders.
bankruptcy

Carrie Reeder is the owner ABC Loan Guide (http://www.abcloanguide.com), an informational website about various types of loans.

To view Carrie’s recommended sources for refinancing after a bankruptcy online, visit this page: http://www.abcloanguide.com/lessthanperfectcredit.shtml.