Monday, August 21, 2017
If you have filed for bankruptcy you are probably wondering what your future financial picture will be painted. When you are in the middle of a financial crisis, it is hard to believe the future can be different or better. But the good thing about bankruptcy is that when your case is finished you get to start over, with a clean financial slate. Most people are able to rebuild their credit in a short amount of time after having filed for bankruptcy, but others fall victim to the same spending habits that caused them to file bankruptcy in the first place. If you want to avoid having financial problems after your bankruptcy case is finished, you need to know a few things about what to do after your case.
How to be successful after your bankruptcy depends on what you do, and here are some tips that will help you:
• Don’t take out new loans or credit cards unless you have the money to make the payments.
• Come up with a budget and be sure you follow it closely. If you are tempted to make impulse purchases, take some time to think about what you are considering buying before stepping up to the checkout register. Most times the impulse to buy subsides after time, and you are better able to decide if you can afford and truly need the item you are considering.
• Establish a savings or emergency fund. This will come in handy if you have an emergency and will save you from having to put big expenses on credit cards.
• Forgive yourself for past financial problems. It is easy to try and blame yourself for overspending or making unwise money choices, but now is the time to let go of that guilt and start anew.
Filing for bankruptcy will get you out of debt, but it is up to you to stay debt free after your case is over. We can give you pointers on what to do during and after your case, so you are able to reach your financial goals. If you need help with your budget and need to keep your creditors at bay, call us for help.
For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, contact us today at www.law-ri.com. We will help you come up with solutions that work for your family, and have multiple locations where we schedule appointments so you can make a choice that is convenient for you.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Four Reasons Why Celebrities File For Bankruptcy That Don't Have Anything To Do With Actually Being Bankrupt
Everyone gets into financial trouble from time to time, even people who make a good living. When that happens, one way to get out of deb and get a fresh start is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will eliminate certain dates and reduce others, so your monthly expenses are more manageable. But just because you file for bankruptcy, that does not necessarily mean you are out of money. Bankruptcy can provide benefits when you still have a decent cash flow, and can also protect certain assets.
One group of people who know all too well how bankruptcy can help with more than just a lack of money is celebrities. The list of celebrities who filed for bankruptcy is probably longer than you think, and chances are those celebrities still had money in the bank.
Here are four reasons why a celebrity might file for bankruptcy that doesn’t have anything to do with actually being bankrupt:
• Many stars do more than just act or sing, and branch out into other ventures such as restaurants and other service related industries. But these ventures do not always pan out, and the need to stop the financial bleeding arises. Bankruptcy is a good way to help out a sluggish business venture.
• Most celebrities own a lot of real property, but the value of those properties does not always increase. Filing bankruptcy can help even out the difference by allowing the owner to pay what the property is worth instead of what is owed.
• Large debts can be accumulated when luxury items are bought, bankruptcy gives you the chance to reduce that debt so you can focus on the wealth you do have.
• Divorce is commonplace among a large part of the population, especially celebrities. Sometimes bankruptcy goes hand in hand with divorce, even for a superstar.
If any of these things apply to you, bankruptcy is an option for you as well. The beauty of the bankruptcy rules are that they are not reserved for a certain demographic of people, and if you are struggling or need help getting your finances in order, bankruptcy can be the answer. Call us to find out more.
If you have more questions about debt, contact us today at www.law-ri.com. We will help you come up with solutions that work for your family, and have multiple locations where we schedule appointments so you can make a choice that is convenient for you.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is not one most people come to easily. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you probably have what feels like a million questions. Before you make a final decision, it is critical to get the answers you need, and asking a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney is a good place to start.
The top ten questions you should ask your bankruptcy attorney are:
• What type of case will I be able to file? There are two main chapters of consumer cases, a Chapter 13 and a Chapter 7. Both types of cases will reduce or eliminate debt, but there are some differences. It is important to know what chapter you are eligible to file, so you will know what to expect during your case.
• How is the chapter of case I file determined? There is a complex mathematical computation that must be performed prior to a case being filed, and the result of this calculation determines whether you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.
• What are the differences between bankruptcy chapters? Once you know what chapter you are able to file, you will want to know how that type of case is different from the other. Knowing the differences prepares you for your case.
• Should I reaffirm a debt? If you want to keep your house or your car, the lender will probably ask you to sign a reaffirmation agreement. These agreements are like new loans, and you will still be required to make payments after your case is finished. Because you still have to pay, you will want to carefully examine whether reaffirming is right for you.
• How long will my case take?
• Can I file a case now if I have filed one in the past? There are rules on how often you can file, and if you have a previous case you need to know these rules.
• What is the 341 hearing? This is the first time you will go to Court and in most cases is the only time. People typically get nervous when they have to go to Court, and we can put you at ease by letting you know what will happen at this hearing.
• How much does it cost to file a case? When you are already low on funds it helps you to plan better when you know what the cost of filing a case will be, and when you will have to make the payment.
• What happens if my case gets dismissed?
• Do I get to keep my things if I file bankruptcy, or do I have to return them to the lender?
We can let you know more details about bankruptcy, so you feel comfortable with your choice to file a case.
For help getting out of debt, contact us today at www.law-ri.com. We will help you get prepared for what comes after we file your case, and have multiple locations where we schedule appointments.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Most people think of filing for bankruptcy as a last resort to stop a foreclosure, or to put an end to a wage garnishment or other collection activity. But there is more to the process, and when done properly you can achieve financial success through filing a case. The main goal of a case is to eliminate or reduce debts, however this is not all that can be accomplished by filing a bankruptcy case.
Three main purposes to bankruptcy, other than having your debt slate wiped clean, are:
• To get a fresh financial start. Some situations are so complex that the best way to clean them up is to start over. This is especially true when it comes to your money. If you have gotten in over your head, and are barely making headway by making minimum monthly payments, you can start fresh by filing for bankruptcy.
• To manage debt in an orderly fashion. Bankruptcy cases are overseen by trustees, who have no stake in your case other than the orderly administration of the process. Having a disinterested third party at the helm provides for debt elimination in a way that is organized and monitored.
• To give creditors fair and equitable repayment treatment. How a creditor is repaid is probably not at the top of most borrowers’ lists of priorities, but one purpose of bankruptcy is to strike a balance between giving an honest but unfortunate debtor a clean start, with the repayment needs of the lenders. While bankruptcy court exists to afford relief to debtors, there are some protections for creditors as well.
Of these three main purposes to bankruptcy, two are geared towards helping the debtor. This tells us that help is available, and if you need help all you have to do is ask. We have helped people have successful bankruptcy cases, and can help you too. If you have more debt than you can repay, if there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel and you are treading water, contact our office today to find out how bankruptcy can help you get out of debt.
For more information about bankruptcy and how it can help you, contact us at www.law-ri.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
When people begin to experience financial difficulty, they want an immediate form of relief. Even a short reprieve from the stress of having more debt than income can help you to formulate a plan of attack, and put you on the path to financial freedom. The best way to get immediate relief is to file for bankruptcy, because it puts an immediate stop to collection calls and harassment from creditors. But is bankruptcy just a quick fix, or are there lasting benefits to filing a case?
The immediate relief offered by filing for bankruptcy is that your creditors can no longer contact you, and you get a chance to wipe out debts that are impossible to repay and start fresh. But there are also long term benefits to filing a bankruptcy case, such as:
• Before you are allowed to file a bankruptcy case you have to take a credit counseling course. This course is designed to give you tips and pointers for staying out of debt and recognizing the behavior that leads to getting in over your head. The knowledge you take away from this course is yours to keep, and can be relied upon for years to come.
• When you finish a case and have little to no debt left, you are literally starting with a clean slate. Having no debt gives you the freedom to save, so you are better prepared for an emergency down the road.
• The emotional relief bankruptcy affords is priceless. We all know how difficult it is to live with burdensome debt, and that not having enough money can cause problems in marriages, friendships, and distract you at work. When you file a bankruptcy case, those negative emotions decrease.
People who are able to come out of bankruptcy and manage their money differently typically experience long term financial benefits. It seems odd that someone with good money habits may have them because of bankruptcy, but it is a very likely possibility. If you want to get out of debt, and stay out of debt, let us help you. We will let you know how bankruptcy will benefit you today, and tomorrow.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, contact us at www.law-ri.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.
Monday, August 14, 2017
For people who have more debt than they can manage, solutions are available. The type of solution you decide is best for you will depend on your needs, and also on your overall financial picture. Sometimes overwhelming debt can be alleviated by refinancing your house, modifying your mortgage, or eliminating overspending. But in many cases the answer to financial relief is found by filing bankruptcy, which is a legal way of getting rid of or reducing your debts.
Eliminating debts through bankruptcy is accomplished as follows:
• Filing a case that sets for everything you owe, and to whom the debts are owed.
• Appearing at the 341 meeting, which takes place shortly after your case is filed, and answering a few questions about what led you to need to file bankruptcy.
• Advising your lenders if you are going to return the collateral that secured their loans, or are going to keep paying for the property by reaffirming the debt.
• If you file a Chapter 13, you will be required to make the Chapter 13 Plan payments for the duration of your case (which is usually 5 years). Once your Plan payments are complete, you will receive a discharge of debts.
• If you file a Chapter 7 you will receive a discharge of debts approximately 4 to 6 months after your case is filed.
The discharge is how debts are eliminated through bankruptcy. An entry of discharge means all the debts in your case are no longer due, unless you agreed to reaffirm a debt. A reaffirmed debt remains due even after the bankruptcy case is over and if you fail to pay on a reaffirmed debt the lender can collect. Debts are also eliminated through bankruptcy by repayment during the bankruptcy case itself. This happens most frequently in a Chapter 13, where you propose a plan of repayment and then make monthly payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Chapter 13 Trustee will accept your monthly plan payment and divided it among your creditors, according to the terms of the Plan. Once all of the payments have been made, over the life of the case, and distributed to creditors, the debts are no longer due. There are some exceptions to this rule, as in the case of an ongoing debt that extends beyond the length of the Plan. If you have any of those types of debts in your Chapter 13, you will continue with payments on your own after the case is over. The ins and outs of bankruptcy can be hard to understand, but with our help you will see them clearly.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, contact us at www.law-ri.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.
Friday, August 11, 2017
People file bankruptcy for one main purpose: to eliminate debt. Elimination of debt in bankruptcy is achieved when the Court enters a discharge order in your case. Debts that have been discharged in bankruptcy are no longer considered valid debts, and you are no longer required to repay discharged debts. But there are other possible outcomes to a bankruptcy case and it is important to know the difference between the possibilities.
If your bankruptcy case is dismissed rather than discharged, here is what it means:
• The debts you included in your bankruptcy are still due.
• The automatic stay, which protected you from being contacted by lenders when you filed your bankruptcy case ceases to exist. This means your creditors are now permitted to call you to collect, and are also allowed to file lawsuits against you for collection of debts.
• If you had a pending garnishment when you filed bankruptcy, the judgment creditor who held that garnishment can have it reissued. This means your wages are once again subject to be garnished for repayment of a debt that has been reduced to a judgment.
Courts dismiss bankruptcy cases for any number of reasons. Among the most common reasons is the failure to file a complete case. If you leave out certain pieces of data regarding your income and debts the Court has the power to dismiss your case. Cases are also dismissed for the failure to complete the required credit counseling. Everyone who files a bankruptcy case is required to complete a credit counseling course and provide a certificate of completion to the Court. The course has two parts, one to be taken prior to filing a case and one to be taken prior to entry of the discharge. If you do not file your certificate of pre-bankruptcy completion and file a case anyway, the Court will dismiss your bankruptcy. You also have to show up at the first meeting of creditors, the 341 meeting, in your case. If you do not, the Court can dismiss your case. Dismissal can be harsh, and it is our job to prepare you to avoid that outcome. We make sure all of your documents are complete and all pre-filing requirements are met before your case is submitted to the Court. If you are having a hard time paying all of your bills, let us help. Call today to determine if bankruptcy is the answer you need.
For help getting out of financial distress, contact us at www.law-ri.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
If you are not able to make your house payments and ask your lender to modify your mortgage, you will have to provide certain documents. The first thing you need to do is to fill out the application form your lender provides and then send them whatever documents they request from you. The documents requested vary from lender to lender but you can count on being asked to provide proof of income and an explanation as to what type of financial hardship you are experiencing. It seems strange to have to turn over your income data when you ask for a modification, because if you aren’t able to make your payments it should be understood that you don’t have enough income to service the existing loan. But there are reasons beyond showing what you bring home every pay day that your lenders is interested in learning, and can find out from your pay stubs.
Here are some reasons why you lender wants to see your pay stubs when you apply for a modification of your mortgage:
• To verify you are employed.
• To verify the amount of income you bring home matches the amount of income you reported on the modification application.
• To see what types of deductions are being held out of your paycheck. If you have indicated you are experiencing financial distress, some of the back story to that situation can be found on your pay stub. For example, if there are pending garnishments your lender will see these deductions on your pay stub and be able to verify you are in fact behind on your obligations. This is a good indication you are suffering financially and need relief.
Once you have filled out the application and provided the requested documents, your lender should review your request and give you a decision on your modification. However, not every case goes this smoothly and many times it is beneficial to have a professional negotiate on your behalf. Our office has experience engaging in negotiation with lenders for modifications, and can analyze the offer made against your financial picture to determine if the offer is workable. If the offer does not afford you any relief, we take an aggressive approach to reach results that do work. For help with your mortgage modification, call our office.
For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
No one likes to file their taxes every year, especially if there is a tax liability to pay. It also takes a lot of time to get your documents in order for a tax preparer, and if you undertake the task yourself it can be confusing to know whether you are preparing your return properly. But if you need to get financial relief, one of the first things you should do is get your tax situation in order. This is because if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, your case can be held up for the failure to file taxes.
You are not necessarily prevented from filing a case if your taxes have not yet been filed, but there will be delays in the swift administration of your case. If you file bankruptcy before you file taxes, you should expect the following things to happen:
• The Trustee will ask you to finalize your taxes and provide them to the taxing authorities present at your 341 hearing rather than sending them to the IRS to process.
• The entry of discharge may be postponed in your case, until taxes are filed. Discharge is the entry in your bankruptcy case that means your debts are no longer due, and this is the reason you file for bankruptcy so it is in your best interest to file your taxes so you can obtain the bankruptcy discharge of debts.
• Taxes are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy, so not filing your returns will not eliminate the need to pay any tax debt due.
In many cases it is best to file taxes and then file for bankruptcy, because depending on the circumstances present in your case, you may not get to keep any refund you are due. Many people count on a tax refund to get caught up on debts or pay for auto and/or home repairs, if this money is withheld you may not be able to do these things. This is not to say you should file your taxes and immediately spend any refund, but if you have legitimate needs it is excusable to spend a refund shortly before filing for bankruptcy. The key is to keep record of your expenses and be prepared to show the Court what the refund was used for if you do get one and spend it right before filing a bankruptcy case.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy and debt, contact our office. We can be reached by phone, or online at www.law-ri.com.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Mortgage loan modifications are generally requested by homeowners who are struggling to make their payments. In most cases the borrower is several months behind on their house payments and needs relief in the form of a lower payment. Enter the modification process. The process includes rewriting the loan to a lower interest rate, which necessarily lowers the monthly payment. But not all borrowers are severely delinquent on their mortgage payments, and may even have maintained their loan in a current status. This group of homeowners may still want to modify their mortgages though, and wonder if this type of loan is available in their circumstances.
You do not have to be any certain number of months behind on your mortgage payment to receive a mortgage modification. Here are some examples of how a modification can help you even if you are not behind on your mortgage:
• The interest rate will be lowered, and so will your monthly payments as a result. Even people who are current on their payments can benefit from a lower payment. Lower payments allow borrowers to save more money each month, or to pay off other debts faster.
• A major expense may have arisen that makes it difficult to keep paying your house payment on top of the unexpected expense. This is most commonly seen when a homeowner has experienced a major medical set back or a reduction in salary. A modification can help get the borrower through a temporary financial hardship in these cases.
If you are able to keep making your payments, that could be better for you. Sometimes people are told they can only modify their mortgage if they are behind. But that is just not true and the consequences can be severe if you deliberately stop paying. When you fall behind on your mortgage your lender has the option to foreclose, and that can put you in the position of needing to modify rather than doing it to alleviate a temporary financial crisis. Every situation is different, which is why you need personalized advice. We have seen all sorts of fact patterns, and can help you get the relief you need no matter the set of facts. Call today.
If you have questions about mortgage modifications, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.
Monday, August 7, 2017
There is nothing more frustrating than making a plan and have it go haywire. Sometimes there are thing that are out of your control, like a rainstorm during your beach vacation or a wait at the doctor’s office, but it is always nice when the plans you make go off without a hitch. However, that is not always possible and unexpected events have a way of interrupting even the best of intentions. Knowing in advance what types of obstacles might arise can help you plan for not only your ultimate goal, but also how to maneuver around those obstacles.
When you ask your lender to modify your mortgage, you can expect to encounter some hiccups along the way. These hiccups can delay the final outcome and cause you to duplicate your work. Here are four tips for a smooth mortgage modification process:
• Keep copies of everything you send to your lender, including notations regarding your method of service. If you use UPS or FedEx, keep a tracking number and print out proof of delivery. Also, be sure to make notes on all mailings with an inventory of what was included in the package and keep copies of those things as well.
• Write down dates, times, and names of people you talk to at the bank about your application.
• Document your income and expenses so you know what amount you can afford to pay. It does no good to ask for a modification only to be given new loan terms that are still out of reach. You need to know in advance what payment amount you can afford.
• Allow a professional to handle the request for you. A professional will keep track of your case, and make counteroffers when the outcome doesn’t meet your needs.
A loan modification is often times the best way to keep your house, and can be a quick solution when done properly. But when lenders fail to do all they are required, your case can seem to go on forever with no real relief in sight. We know this is frustrating, and that is why we take special care to keep your case moving and to keep you informed.
For more information about how to have a smooth mortgage modification process, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.
Friday, August 4, 2017
Mortgage modifications are a great way to reduce your monthly mortgage payments. A modification will lower your interest rate, thus giving you a lower payment. But there are rules and procedures to follow and it is a good idea to have some general knowledge before you call your lender about this option. First, you need to know that your lender has the power to change the terms of your mortgage because it is their mortgage to modify. Second, you should not be asked to have your home appraised because that happened when you bought your home and used your lender for the financing. Valuation data should already be part of your existing loan file. Third, you should expect to be provided an application to fill out and return, and should do so promptly with any documents requested.
A question that often arises is whether the homeowner has to pay anything out of pocket for the modification, and while all modifications are different the answer is generally that no upfront funds are needed.
Even though you will go through a closing just like when the house was bought, you can roll the closing costs into the modification and should also not be asked for a down payment. Those are the things you should not have to do, it is also good to know what you will have to do though and those include:
• Proving financial ability to repay the modified loan. This is most typically done by providing paystubs and copies of tax returns.
• Providing your employment information. You will be asked to fill out an application for modification and part of that application contains spots to provide your employer’s name, address, phone number, and how long you have been employed.
• Insuring the home and listing the lender as the loss payee on the policy.
• Maintaining the property taxes in a current status.
If you are interested in modifying your mortgage, let us help. We work with lenders every day to work out solutions for our clients’ financial issues. We know your money is important to you and work hard to help you transition from a bad financial spot to one that is more stable and secure.
For more information about what is required to modify your mortgage, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
With a questionable economic and political future, everyone is trying to do all they can to save a dollar and secure their financial future. For most of us that means holding down a job and cutting back on expenses. Unfortunately, not everyone subscribes to the idea that money should be made honestly and there are plenty of scammers out there waiting to trick people out of their hard earned wages. You have to be careful to avoid these people and companies if you want to hang on to you cash, and sometimes it takes knowing what to watch out for to stay safe.
If you are thinking about modifying your mortgage, you no doubt have done some research to see what options are available to you. The web is full of information, but not all of it is accurate and not all of the “offers” you come across will be legitimate. Here are some ways to spot a mortgage modification scam:
• If you are asked to make a down payment, the person or company you are dealing with is probably not trustworthy.
• If you are given a guarantee that your loan will be modified, or will be modified a certain way you are likely not dealing with an honest vendor.
• If you are guaranteed a pending foreclosure will be dismissed you are talking to the wrong person or company.
• Do not agree to pay for help instead of making your mortgage payment. While reputable people do charge for their services, they will not advise you to pay them instead of your making your house payment.
• Never give your personal or financial information to someone over the phone, or to someone you have not met. Plenty of companies make cold calls to solicit business, but then offer no real help. Request an in person meeting before turning over any of your private information.
You have enough on your plate if you are trying to modify your mortgage; there is no need to add to that burden by dealing with a dishonest company. Our firm has years’ of experience helping people get out of debt, and can offer solutions that meet your needs.
For more information about how to avoid a mortgage modification scam, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com. We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.