Wednesday, May 31, 2017
One of the most popular ways for lenders to get people in homes is to offer a low initial interest rate, so the loan is more affordable for the first few years, and then slowly increase that rate. This type of interest rate is referred to as an adjustable rate, and while it is attractive if you are looking for a low payment at the beginning of your loan, it can cause trouble down the road when the rate “adjusts” (which is a nice way to say the rate will increase). These types of mortgage loans proved disastrous for many homeowners across the country and helped cause the foreclosure crisis of a few years ago. The simple truth is that while the initial payments are affordable, as soon as the rate increases the homeowner is unable to make the higher payment. The solution is to find a way to have the rate fixed, so the payment does not fluctuate so much that the payments get too high.
One way to fix an adjustable rate is to modify your existing mortgage loan. Here are some of the ways a modification will help to fix an adjustable rate:
• A modification is a change in the terms of your mortgage loan.
• The term most commonly changed is the interest rate; most times it is lowered from its current rate.
• The change in rate can also be to make a variable rate switch to a fixed rate, giving the consumer assurance that the rate will never again go up as the market fluctuates. When the rate is fixed, so is the payment.
If you have an adjustable rate on your mortgage and are worried it might rise to a level that results in too high of a monthly payment, consider modifying your mortgage to more reasonable terms. The first step in the process is to call your lender and ask for an application for modification. Once you have the application in hand, call us for help. The application can be cumbersome, and the process confusing. Many times the lender will ask you to provide the same documents more than once, but when you let us take over for you we can expedite the process and eliminate duplicate requests.
For more information about mortgage modifications, 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, May 30, 2017
If you are having a hard time making your house payment it might be time to think about asking your mortgage lender to modify the terms of your mortgage. When you modify your mortgage you get a lower payment, because the most common form of modification is to lower the interest rate. And as we all know, when the interest rate on a loan is lower, the payments are also lower. But there are other benefits to mortgage modifications, and if this is something you are considering, it is good to know all of the advantages to a mortgage modification.
The top three reasons to seek a modification of your mortgage are:
• A lower rate, which means a lower payment. But a lower interest rate does more than lower your monthly payment; it can also make it easier for you to pay off your loan faster. If you are capable of making the current payments, a lower rate will mean that you can continue doing so and pay off your loan faster.
• Having a lower payment makes it easier to make your payments on time and consistently. This type of payment pattern can give your credit a boost, which can result in lower rates for other loans or rental agreements.
• If you are able to modify your mortgage, you might be able to stave off a foreclosure. One of the best ways to help stop a foreclosure is to ask for a modification. And in many cases your loan will be considered current when you obtain a mortgage loan modification.
A mortgage modification is an excellent remedy for people who are struggling to make their house payments, but it does require you to fill out an application and get approval from your lender. This can be time consuming and confusing, but we can help. You may also have heard horror stories of people who have made the request to modify their mortgage, only to be given the run around. It is true that the mortgage companies can be difficult to deal with during this process, but when you partner with a competent attorney, you can avoid some of the hassle most people experience. If you need help making ends meet or are looking for a solution to your debt load problems, give us a call.
For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, 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, May 29, 2017
Filing bankruptcy will help you to get out of debt, but for some people the idea of actually having a case prepared is nerve wracking. While there is no longer any social stigma associated with taking bankruptcy, some people still feel embarrassed or uneasy about not being able to pay their debts. There are also those that think bankruptcy won’t help them, or that they will not be allowed to file a case and so wait longer than is necessary to take the first step. And, we all know there are a lot of rules to filing a case; for some those rules seem too much of a hurdle to overcome to get a case on file. But with the right bankruptcy attorney by your side, all of these concerns are addressed and you can rest easy knowing you have made a good decision.
One of the requirements to file a case is that each person who files goes through credit counseling both before their case is filed, and before their case ends. This course does take a bit of time, but in the grand scheme of things the time required to complete the course is small compared to the big benefits of filing a case and seeing it through to completion. You may wonder why this requirement even exists, and here are some of the reasons for it:
• Bankruptcy exists to give the honest, but unfortunate debtor a fresh start. Filing for bankruptcy is not supposed to give you a leg up, it is just supposed to give you a chance to catch your breath and start over.
• When the rules were rewritten in 2005 there was a lot of concern about abuse of the system, and people filing over and over again without learning from past financial mistakes. The credit counseling is designed to give an education on money that will help to prevent the need to file a subsequent case.
• Budgeting tips are helpful regardless of your financial condition, and that is part of what you will get when you take the credit counseling required to file a bankruptcy case.
In most instances you can take these courses online in just a few hours. That type of time commitment is worth the benefits you get in bankruptcy. It is well worth your time to take a short course if it means you get to eliminate or reduce burdensome debt.
For more information about what to expect when you file for bankruptcy, 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, May 26, 2017
Filing for bankruptcy is a good way to get rid of your debts, or at least pay less for some of your property. When you file a case and obtain a discharge, the debts included in that discharge are no longer considered due. That means your lenders cannot call you and ask for payment, and they cannot sue you for the balance. But there will be some things that you will still have to pay for, even after your case is finished. This is because you do have to make payments for pieces of collateral that you wish to keep. Every case is different and you may decide to give up certain things while keeping others, that other people who file a case do not agree to surrender. That said, there are some common items that most everyone decides to hang on to, and thus still make the payments on after bankruptcy.
Typically, people decide to keep these things and still pay for them even after their bankruptcy case is over:
• Their car or motorcycle.
• Their house.
• A boat or ATV.
Most people do not elect to continue to pay for a credit card or other unsecured/signature loan debt. So when you no longer have to pay high interest rate credit cards, you are in a better position to make the payments on your car. This is the design of bankruptcy; to give you a fresh financial start so you can maintain a decent standard of living by having the basics covered. Rather than continue to struggle to pay all of your bills each month, call us for help. We will let you know what to expect if you decide to file for bankruptcy, so you can be comfortable with your decision. In the vast majority of cases you only have to go to Court one time, and we will prepare you for that appearance so you are not nervous. We know what steps to take to make sure your case is filed right, and that you get the most benefit out of having decided to take charge of your finances by filing bankruptcy.
If you have more questions about the bankruptcy discharge and what debts will still have to be paid after your case is over, 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, May 25, 2017
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy that reorganizes your debt. The reorganization is in the form of a Chapter 13 Plan, and that Plan sets forth what you are willing to pay for each debt you owe. Once the Plan is approved, you will make one monthly payment to the Chapter 13 Trustee and he or she will make payments to your lenders. Most Chapter 13 cases take 5 years to complete and once that time is up the debts you have paid through the Plan are no longer due. There are some exceptions to this rule, most notably house payments that have payments lasting longer than the 5 year bankruptcy case. In that instance, you simply continue to pay your mortgage lender.
Five other important things to know about Chapter 13 bankruptcy are:
• You can pay the value of your car rather than the balance due.
• You can pay a lower interest rate for your car instead of paying the contract rate.
• You will pay only a percentage of what you owe on unsecured debt. This means if your Plan is approved at a 1.00% repayment to unsecured creditors, you get out of paying 99% of those balances.
• Chapter 13 cases are available when the person filing has some disposable income left over each month after making payments on all of their secured debts. This determination is made after the means test calculation is made by your attorney before you file.
• A Chapter 13 will last up to five years, but you can pay off your case early if you have the ability to do so during the pendency of the matter.
It might sound like a Chapter 13 does not offer much relief, because most people do not want to be in bankruptcy for 5 years or pay back any of their unsecured debt (even a small percentage). But a Chapter 13 has many of the same benefits as a Chapter 7, most importantly that the automatic stay is in place as soon as your case is filed. Imposition of the automatic stay prevents creditors from contacting you about their debt, or maintaining a collections lawsuit against you.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, 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, May 24, 2017
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the preferred method of bankruptcy for most people. This is because a Chapter 7 case does not last as long as a Chapter 13, and in a Chapter 7 case you are allowed to get rid of all of your unsecured debt. Credit card debt is one of the most crippling debts a person or family can carry over from month to month, and eliminating it in its entirety can really free up some much needed money. When you no longer owe your credit cards or other unsecured debts, you can take the amount of money you’d pay each month on those minimum payments and use it for your house or car payment, or for groceries and insurance. But there are some rules to bankruptcy, and in particular whether a person is eligible to file a Chapter 7 case.
Here are five basic things to know about how Chapter 7 works:
• When you file a bankruptcy case, you have to perform a complex mathematical computation to determine which type of case you qualify to file. This is called the means test, and the result of this calculation will tell you if you are eligible for Chapter 7.
• If you are eligible for Chapter 7 you can expect to eliminate all of your unsecured debt.
• For secured debts in Chapter 7, like cars and houses, you will either need to surrender those back to the lender or agree to continue making payments.
• The way you agree to continue making payments in a Chapter 7 is by signing a reaffirmation agreement. A reaffirmation agreement is like a new contract for the loan, and will obligate you for the payments and account balance despite having filed for bankruptcy. This means if you don’t pay, the lender can still sue you for the debt.
• A Chapter 7 is usually finished in about 4 to 6 months.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy helps thousands of people a year get back on their feet financially. When you have less debt you are simply better able to pay the debt that remains. Call us today to find out more.
For more information about Chapter 7 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.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
We all know that coming up with a budget that works is hard, because no matter how well you plan there always seems to be an emergency or other overlooked expense that wrecks your plan. But if you are able to develop a budget that makes sense and that covers all of your needs, you can not only get out of debt but can also start saving so those emergencies do not become your financial downfall. When thinking about what to include in a budget some of the basics come to mind immediately, such as your house and car payment. But be careful not to leave other things out, or you might have to start over and come up with a new plan.
Three common expenses that get left out of budgets, and that can also lead to the need to file for the protection of bankruptcy, include:
• Medical expenses: if you are lucky enough to have your basic health care coverage provided for, at least in part, through your employer it can be easy to forget to include other expenses like prescriptions or co-pays. But if you frequent the doctor, it is essential that you include these expenses in your monthly financial plan.
• Auto insurance: depending on how you pay your car insurance, you might be shortchanging this expense. For those that pay weekly it can be easy to just multiply by four to get the monthly expense, but that method fails to take into account months where there are overlapping weeks and so the actual week count is closer to 5 weeks.
• Late fees: if you have a pattern of paying the majority of your expenses after the due date you are getting charged a late fee each month. While it is best to pay on time, late payments do happen. The best thing to do is know your habits and take those into account when coming up with a budget.
Even with a budget you can get into financial crisis. If so, bankruptcy can help. Bankruptcy will eliminate or reduce what you owe, and even puts an end to the need to pay a late fee or rely on overtime and/or bonuses to make ends meet. If you are having a hard time paying all of your bills on time, let us help.
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, May 22, 2017
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy that reorganizes your debt. In a Chapter 13 case you will come up with a repayment plan for Court and creditor approval, and once approved will begin making payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Chapter 13 Trustee will then turn around and disburse payments to your creditors, in whatever amount they are entitled to receive according to the Court approved plan. In order to do this, you need a steady stream of income, or you will not be able to come up with the money needed each month to pay the Trustee. Most times this stream of income comes from employment, but as we all know, jobs can be lost pretty quickly in this economy. Any time you are out of work, your first priority becomes finding a new job and if you are in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will need to get a new job fast.
You are allowed to change jobs during a Chapter13 bankruptcy, but doing so can create some of the following complications:
• A lapse in steady income, which makes it hard to keep up with your monthly Chapter 13 Plan payment.
• A reduction in income, which can make it impossible to pay the amount you’ve been ordered to pay to the Trustee each month.
• The need to have an income assignment in place, which means part of your paycheck will automatically be sent to the Trustee and your pay will be reduced by that amount. This can be a hassle for employers and takes a little bit of the control out of making payments out of your hands.
If you experience a reduction in your income, you can ask that the Court approve a modification of your plan to take your new income level into account. You might also be eligible to convert to a Chapter 7, and eliminate all of your unsecured debt rather than pay part of it back as required in a Chapter 13. If you are nervous about your job stability, or have learned of an opportunity you feel is better suited to your talents, don’t let a bankruptcy hold you back from getting a new job. But before you do, let us help you by making sure the transition is smooth and that your bankruptcy case will not be adversely impacted.
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, May 19, 2017
Bankruptcy is a legal way to eliminate debts, or have them greatly reduced so the payments are more manageable. The law is a federal law, and it is available in every state in the country. But not everyone who accumulates debt lives in the United States, or perhaps an American citizen is now living abroad but needs to seek the relief offered by filing bankruptcy. So it is important to know the geographic limitations of the rules, and whether you can use them to your benefit outside of the United States.
Because bankruptcy is a federal law, it is only available in federal bankruptcy court. There are not any federal bankruptcy courts outside of the United States, and you do have to be a resident of the district in which you file for a certain amount of time prior to filing a case. So, if you are not able to take advantage of these laws to help out with your debt, you might want to consider other options. Some of your choices could include:
• Returning property you can live without to the lender, after working out an agreement that in exchange for return of the property the lender will not still go after your for any balance.
• Call your creditors and negotiate repayment terms that fit your budget.
• Refinance your mortgage, or ask that it be modified to a lower interest rate and corresponding lower payment amount.
We can help you with your debts, which includes filing for bankruptcy here in America. It is rare to not be able to meet the residency requirements needed to file a case, and we can tell you how these rules apply to your particular situation. Our team of debt management and bankruptcy attorneys is experienced at analysis of personal finances, and developing a plan to get you out of debt! We know how hard it is to live with overwhelming debt, and will work with you to come up with a solution that is tailored to your needs.
For help with getting ready to file 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.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Most stars are not made overnight, and neither are their fortunes. It takes a lot of time and hard work to become a successful and high paid actor, athlete, or singer. And once a celebrity has reached the top, it is even harder to stay at the top. Many stars have done a good job at reaching their goals, but there is also a handful that have fallen from the top spot. But how does this happen, and is there anything that can be done to prevent it from happening again?
A typical journey from fame and fortune to going broke could look like this:
• A star is born! Whether it is acting, singing, dance, or sports; once a superstar comes on the scene it seems like they are everywhere. Outside of their discipline, you might start seeing one of these people doing commercials or even making and producing movies.
• When all is well, you will probably hear about these stars everywhere you go; from grocery store tabloids to upcoming events. This is when most stars start buying lavish houses, cars, and even islands!
• As their star begins to fade and they are no longer in the spotlight, you see less and less of a celebrity. And if you are seeing less and less of them, that means they are seeing less and less work. Without work, there is not a steady income stream.
• When the assets start to dwindle but the debts remain, either because things were not bought outright or because things were overbought, a debt problem starts to develop. Even people who make a lot of money can find it hard to pay for all of the things they have acquired.
Without careful planning, which has to take place as soon as the money starts rolling in, a fast fortune can disappear just as quickly as it came. Most financial planners suggest spending less that you make, and putting at least 10% of each paycheck in a savings account. This way, you can live off of less and also start to build up a savings account for use in an emergency. All of this can come in really handy if you are in an unstable job field, like most celebrities. But even with all of this planning, things happen, and when they do we are here to help. Whether you need help reorganizing your debt, or filing bankruptcy, we know what steps to take.
For more information about the benefits of filing for bankruptcy, call us today or reach us online at www.law-ri.com.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
We tend to think of celebrities as people who have all they need, and don’t have to worry about day to day things. Maybe it’s because their lives are splashed across magazine covers, or onscreen, but whatever the reason most of us find a star we feel we identify with and then follow their actions. But when those actions include making mistakes with money, Hollywood is not the place to look for guidance.
Top money mistakes made by celebrities include:
• Wayne Newton was at one time one of the highest paid entertainers on the scene. But after having made several poor investments, his fortune disappeared and he was left with around $20 million in debt. If you are going to try and build your wealth by making investment decisions, remember that even with a professional’s help, you are putting your money at risk.
• We all hate the time of year that requires us to pay our taxes, and celebrities are no exception. Dionne Warwick racked up around $10 million in unpaid taxes, leading to a personal financial deficit. If you owe Uncle Sam the best thing you can do is to pay the tax debt or make arrangements for payment.
• Rap star MC Hammer lived so extravagantly that he accumulated more debt than he had money. Buying things we can’t afford is the first step towards getting in debt, and if you do it repeatedly the debt will only grow.
We understand it can be hard to come up with a budget and stick to it, especially if your funds are limited. And, we know that there are instances in life that are unexpected and you can be thrown a financial curveball from a natural disaster or a serious illness. We all have debt, so we all need to find ways to manage our debt. If your debt is more than you can handle, we can help. Bankruptcy can also help. Bankruptcy is a very real way to take back control of your money and get a fresh start with your finances. Our team of bankruptcy and debt management attorneys knows what it takes to have a successful bankruptcy case, and can give you the guidance you need.
If you have more questions about money management and debt, contact our office. We can be reached by phone, or online at www.law-ri.com.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
It is easy to sit back and watch a movie or television show, or go to a concert and feel like the superstars involved have it made. From all outward appearances, celebrities have more money than they know what to do with and not a care in the world when it comes to finances. But not all stars are good with their money, and can end up in a financial hole that is hard to dig out of easily. When the going gets too tough, many a celebrity has used the bankruptcy laws to their advantage, and filed a case to protect what assets remain, while getting a handle on dwindling fortunes. The reasons for the downfall in finances vary, but there are some typical behaviors that can cause problems for anyone’s budget.
Here are some of the leading ways a lavish celebrity lifestyle can lead to a financial downfall, and these can apply to people who aren’t big time stars:
• Spending more than you make.
• Buying things on credit with the plan to pay it off later, then making only minimal payments.
• Neglecting to create and stick to a budget.
• Making an unwise investment decision.
• Paying more for an item than it is worth, or making an emotional impulse purchase.
• Failing to plan for the future by setting up a savings account.
• Relying on a certain job to come through, only to have it go to another candidate.
When celebrities, or even you and I, spend more money than we make or buy extravagant things, it can be hard to stay on top of our financial obligations. The old saying that “the more you have, the more you want” certainly applies to the stars and it can be easy to get caught up in the fame and fortune. But without careful planning even a star who seems to have it all can find themselves needing to file for bankruptcy or make other financial decisions to reign in a blown up budget. Public records show that stars like Kim Basinger, MC Hammer, Mickey Rooney, and Sinbad have all filed for bankruptcy in their past. Even legendary author Mark Twain has taken bankruptcy to get financial relief. The process can be intimidating, but we know how to prepare your case and see it through to the end. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, let us help.
If you have questions about how to stick to a budget or get out of debt, 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, May 15, 2017
Being unable to make your house payment is a scary thing. Your home is where you take refuge and feel safe, and when that is threatened, your entire world can be turned upside down. Finding a way to get a defaulted mortgage loan under control can give you back your life, and your feeling of security. It can also provide stabilization for your family, and maybe even for the mortgage loan itself.
Asking your lender to modify your mortgage has several advantages, and the most noticeable one is that you get a lower payment. But having your mortgage stabilized can also be a byproduct of a mortgage loan modification. Here is how it works:
• If you are not able to pay your loan regularly, you will have ups and downs insofar as what fees and costs are added to your loan. One month you may have to pay a lot more than the regular payment to account for late fees, and then when you get caught up the payment may return to its normal amount.
• You might also have to pay a lot more in interest one month vs. another, depending on your payment frequency and amount.
• These two things make it difficult to pinpoint a payment amount that is the same each month.
But, if you modify your mortgage to a more manageable payment, you can pay on time and consistently. Doing this will eliminate extra fees, costs, and interest accumulation. When you eliminate those extras, your payment stabilizes (or returns to a known amount each month). If you are considering requesting a mortgage modification, let us help. The process can be complex, but we know how to get it done in a way that helps you get back on track. We know you work hard for your money and to provide a home for your family, and want to help keep you in that home. And, if modification is not the right answer for you, we can let you know what other options are available to you. Bankruptcy might work for your situation, or you may be able to accomplish your finance goals by letting us help you structure a workout with your lenders.
For more information about how to fix your finances, 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, May 12, 2017
When you buy a house you have to get a loan and give the lender a mortgage on the property. The mortgage secures repayment of the loan, and is what gets foreclosed on if you are not able to make your house payments. Many times you will make an initial payment to the bank that gave you the loan, but thereafter receive notice to send your payments to a different entity. This can be confusing, and leaves a lot of homeowners wondering who is really in charge of their mortgage. It might seem like a minor issue, as long as you are paying, but can become very important in the context of a foreclosure action. This is because the entity that starts a foreclosure action must have the legal ability to do so; it is called legal standing. Only the entity that holds your loan (note) should be permitted to foreclose. So, knowing the difference between the different parties becomes vital when you are defending a foreclosure and is also something you should know just for the day to day management of your loan.
The loan servicer and mortgage company may or may not be the same company. Here is the role of each of the parties:
• The mortgage company is the bank that loaned you the money to buy the house.
• The servicer is the company that handles processing of your payments.
These two do not have to be the same company, and that is where it gets confusing. If you have a question about your loan it would seem logical to call the bank that gave it to you, but if the bank is not also servicing the loan they will not have the information you need. Instead, you will need to get in contact with the servicer. Both of these entities are regulated by the federal government, and so have to follow certain rules while managing your loan and in their dealings with you. One of the most important of those rules is the one mentioned above, which one has the legal right to enforce the loan? A lot of foreclosure actions have been challenged on this issue, and if you are facing a foreclosure you should explore this topic thoroughly as part of your defense.
For more information about mortgage holders versus mortgage loan servicers, 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.