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Three Good Reasons To Modify Your Mortgage

If you are short on your house payment each month, one of the things you should consider is asking your lender to modify your mortgage. A mortgage loan modification is a good way to change the terms of your mortgage, without having to go through the requirements of a refinance. In a mortgage modification your current lender will re-write your loan, giving you a lower rate and other beneficial terms. When your house payment drops, you have more money at your disposal to pay other bills or are simply put in a better position to be able to make your house payment.

A lower payment is always a good incentive to seek a modification of your mortgage. But, there are other benefits you will enjoy when your lender agrees to a modification, and three good reasons to do a mortgage modification are:

• When your payment is more manageable, you are able to pay on time and avoid late fees and additional interest.
• On time payments also help your credit score improve, which could mean better rates on some of your other loans. When your payment history is good on one loan, it has a ripple effect on the rest of your credit. The more things you can pay on time, the better your credit score will be and this means more favorable loan terms for your future lending needs.
• A modification can resolve a pending foreclosure. If you are facing a foreclosure, you should ask for a modification. Due to the concept of dual tracking, your lender is not allowed to continue a foreclosure action when you have an active modification request in the works.

In order to get a modification of your mortgage all you have to do is ask your lender. Well, that and fill out an application and then stay on top of the follow up status of that application. Many lenders are quick to send you the required application form, but then drag their feet in processing the request. But with our help you can get quick answers, and a result that meets your needs. If you are struggling to pay your house payment, call us for help.

For more information about mortgage loan modifications and how they can help you, contact us today at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will go over the facts of your case and let you you’re your next step.

Five Easy Ways To Lose Your Money: Tips From The Rich And Famous

Making money can be hard, but spending it comes all too easy for nearly everyone you know, including yourself. Forget for a moment that you spend your money on necessities, and think about all of the extras that people splurge on when pay day rolls around. Regardless of what you are buying, in today’s economy and with today’s prices, it doesn’t take long to burn through your bank balance. But when you run out of money, stress levels rise and something as simple as buying a morning coffee can become financially out of reach. If you want to hang on to your money there are things you can do, like come up with a budget and avoid using credit for everyday purchases.

But if you want to lose your money, here are five easy ways you can do that, as has been shown by the rich and famous:

• Overspend: it’s just that simple, buy more than you can afford to pay. This is one of the biggest ways people lose money, and is also one of the biggest ways to save money. If you stick to a budget and live within or below your means, you should not experience financial difficulty too frequently.
• Gamble: gambling is a popular way to lose money, because of its addictive qualities. Fortunately, there are organizations that offer help to people who have become addicted to gambling.
• Hire a nanny, or a housekeeper: these are great services if you can afford them, but when money is tight it is time to cut back on luxuries, and having staff on hand is certainly a luxury.
• Start a new venture: a lot of us dream of being our own boss, and venture out into the business world. Restaurants, boutiques and other stores are popular small businesses, and stars try their hands at these just as often as the rest of us; but not always with success. It takes a few years for a new business to turn a profit, and if you don’t have a stash of cash in the bank to cover overhead, starting a new business can cause you to lose your hard earned money.
• Investments: not all investments yield a return, when an investment tanks so does the money that was invested.

Of course it is not our hope that you go out and lose your money. This list is a short list of how easily it can happen, and if it does we are here to help. We can talk to you about bankruptcy, or other options to get back on your feet financially.

If you are considering filing bankruptcy to help eliminate debt, or want information on other options, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Do “Broke” Celebrities Still Have Large Net Worths?

The term net worth refers to the amount of assets a person has, over and above their liabilities. This might include a car or home, but only if they have been completely paid in full. If you own a fancy car or big house, your net worth is only increased by the value of that item that is not subject to a loan. So while the equity in your car or house might be included in your total net worth figure, the entire value of your property is not part of the net worth equation. This is because if you still owe money for something, you would first have to pay off the loan before being able to liquidate the collateral. Said another way, the amount you owe for something decreases your total net worth, by the amount you owe. This concept becomes important when you are applying for loans, because lenders will want to see that you have sufficient assets to sell or finance if you need to get your hands on some cash fast, to pay off their loan. If your assets are all encumbered, they are not valuable to a potential new lender.

For most of us trying to show a large net worth rarely comes into play. But if you are a celebrity, your net worth is probably higher and protecting what you have is critical to maintaining a certain lifestyle. Many superstars own more than one home, and several luxury vehicles. But for those stars that have fallen on hard financial times, and perhaps even filed for bankruptcy you may wonder if they still have a large net worth due to all of the property they own. It is possible, but more than likely that is not the case and here is why:

• Not many celebrities buy large ticket items outright, so there are loans on what they own.
• The motive behind financing property even if you have the money to pay for it in full, as most stars do at the time of purchase, it is not a good idea to lay out all of your cash and keep nothing in reserve.
• A common way to title property is to put it in the name of a company rather than an individual. Stars know this tip very well and often times form companies for the purpose of protecting their assets.

You don’t have to be a mega star to engage in smart financial planning, but you do need to enlist the help of a qualified debt management professional. To learn more about the ways you can protect your net worth, and also your assets, call our office today.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

What A Superstar Does After Filing For Bankruptcy

Experiencing financial set-backs is not something that happens only to everyday people. No one is immune from falling prey to unsuccessful financial decisions, and when money missteps are made it can be comforting to know that there is help. This is true whether you are an executive, an hourly wage earner, or a superstar celebrity. Most times help comes in the form of some sort of financial restructuring. That restructuring can be through artful negotiation with your lenders for more favorable repayment terms, a mortgage modification or refinance, or even filing for the protection offered by bankruptcy. For those that go through the bankruptcy process, the future is bright and it does not take long to start putting their life back together. What that post bankruptcy life looks like is different for everyone, but in most all cases it includes avoiding falling back into significant debt. One of the requirements of bankruptcy is to undergo debtor education, so those that file a case can learn from past experiences and put new money approaches into play after their case is completed.

For the average bankruptcy filer, typical steps taken after finishing a bankruptcy are to avoid opening new lines of credit or credit cards, and establishing a savings and/or emergency account. But if you are one of the many celebrities that have filed bankruptcy, here are some of the things that happen after a bankruptcy case:

• Use their star power to start a new business, or take part in lesser known projects like home repair or other celebrity television shows.
• Accept roles that would not normally be a consideration, to get back to work in a familiar field.
• Turn to employment outside of the entertainment industry.

Most times people do not have to drastically change their life after filing for bankruptcy, and are able to go back to their normal job and job duties. This might be one time where it pays off not to be rich and famous, because the changes are not as significant. If you are having a hard time paying your bills, call us to find out if bankruptcy is the answer you need.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Can I Still Take A Summer Vacation If I File Bankruptcy?

Going on vacation is a good way to take a break, relieve stress, and relax. But traveling costs…a lot. If you are already short on cash now may not be the time to plan a trip, unless you have a plan to fix your finances. One plan might be to cut back on expenses for a while, so you can pay off credit cards and have that extra money each month. Another plan could be to refinance or modify your mortgage, so your house payment goes down and gives you the breathing room you need. But if your money struggles can’t be fixed with these options, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. If you do, you may wonder if your trip to visit family or to the beach should be put on hold.

It does seem to go against the grain to go on vacation if you have filed or are planning to file bankruptcy but there is nothing to say you are not allowed to take a break. Here is what you should know though, if these are your plans:

• If you file a Chapter 13 case you will have to submit a repayment plan that fits your budget. If you have large travel expenses in your plan, the Trustee may question you about your motives for filing bankruptcy.
• You are not allowed to incur an expense in anticipation of filing bankruptcy. What this means is that you are not allowed to charge up a lot of debt with the intent to never repay it, and instead file bankruptcy to avoid repayment. This can be a tough standard for a creditor to prove, but it is not worth taking the chance.
• If you do take a trip during or just before a bankruptcy case, try to avoid splashing it all over your social media. Social media posts have been used as evidence against people in other types of cases, like DUI or divorce matters, and it is not too far of a stretch to think those uses may extend to bankruptcy cases as well.

We know how important it is for you to continue living your life, even during a bankruptcy. In fact, one of the goals of bankruptcy is to get a fresh start so you no longer struggle. Call us to find out more, and learn some of the dos and don’ts of filing a bankruptcy case.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Four Things Budgets Do Besides Track Expenses

Having a budget is a sure fire way to keep track of what you make, and what you spend. But it only works if you stick to it, and keep records of how much money comes in each month and how much you spend during that same month. For many of us, the thought of having to come up with a budget is overwhelming. And this is especially true if you make less than you spend. But if you want to have a solid financial future, creating and sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to reach your money goals. Perhaps this is because when worked properly, a budget does more for you than just tell you what you spend.

Four things budgets can do for you besides tracking what you are spending, and that will help strengthen your overall financial picture, are:

• Help you to keep track of your account balances, so you can see the progress you have made towards debt repayment. When you see progress being made, you are more likely to stick to the plan.
• Show you where you can cut back or eliminate unnecessary spending. Most people are surprised to see what they spend each morning on coffee, or on eating out lunch every day. When you see these how these expenses affect your monthly cash outflow, it becomes easier to cut back.
• Give you more control over where and when you spend your money. When you see where you money is going, you are more likely to control your spending.
• Provide you a sense of accomplishment, which will encourage you to avoid overspending or making an impulse purchase.

We understand that coming up with a budget takes time, and a lot of work. But if you look at it as part of your routine, much like running the dishwasher or folding laundry, it can become second nature. However, even with the best budget in place, there may come a time when you need help getting back on track. One thing to think about if you are having a hard time managing your money is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can help you get out of debt, and the debtor education requirement can give you the budgeting tools you need for your future financial success.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Can I Modify My Mortgage In Bankruptcy?

The single most expensive payment most families have each month is their house payment. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 25% of your take home pay on your mortgage payment, but many Americans exceed this limit. This may be because most people take into consideration other home related expenses when reporting what they pay for their house each month. For instance, taxes and insurance costs are frequently factored into total house cost, as is the costs of repairs and everyday maintenance. When all of this is added together, it is not surprising to learn that close to half of your take home pay can go towards your home. With the number so high, you might be wondering if you can change your payment by filing bankruptcy. It depends, and what you are allowed to do with your mortgage could depend on what type of bankruptcy case you file.

There are two types of bankruptcy cases filed by consumers; Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Here is what you can expect with regard to your mortgage in each type of case:

• In a Chapter 7 your mortgage lender will want you to either reaffirm the debt, or surrender the home. A reaffirmation is like a new contract, which will obligate you for the debt even after the bankruptcy case is over. Most reaffirmation agreements are a recitation of the same terms of your original loan, but in some circumstances you can negotiate some differences. With your mortgage, one difference you should be interested in making is the interest rate. If your lender is agreeable, you might be able to reaffirm at a lower rate and thus lower your payments. There is no guarantee your mortgage holder will agree to this, but it is worth asking.
• In a Chapter 13 case you get to pay back your past due payments over the course of several months, rather than pay them all up front. While you are paying the arrearage, you will also be allowed to pay the regular payment. This might not sound like it helps, but keep in mind you have more money at your disposal because you are no longer paying unsecured debts in full.

The same is true in a Chapter 7, as far as your unsecured debts are concerned. If you are worried your lender won’t reduce your rate, and that your payment will stay the same and out of reach, you can rest easy knowing that even if that is true you will be in a better position to make the house payment because your unsecured debts are wiped out entirely in a Chapter 7. When you have more take home pay in your pocket, you are able to make your money last longer. This helps you to make your house payment more easily, and save your home for going back to the lender. While these solutions may not be a true mortgage modification in the traditional sense, they do give you the relief you need.

For more information about how to manage debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

How To Have A Good Bankruptcy Case

If your finances are to the point where you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you will want to be sure that your case goes smoothly. Having financial difficulty is hard, there is no reason to make it harder by filing a bankruptcy case that doesn’t get you the results you need. In order to make sure you get out of your case what you are hoping for, you can take part in the process and do some things to ensure your case’s success.

Here are some things you can do to help have a good bankruptcy case:

• Give all of your debt and asset information to your attorney before your case is filed. If you have more debt than you can keep track of, one way to be certain you don’t overlook a creditor is to get a free copy of your credit report before you file your case.
• Show up to your 341 meeting a little bit early, so you can familiarize yourself with the setting and get comfortable. This is also a good time to ask your attorney any last minute questions you have, in order to calm any anxiety you may be experiencing.
• Organize your documents by category, so all of your income is readily at hand as is a list of all your debts.

Whether you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, your involvement in your case is key. A Chapter 7 will allow you to eliminate all of your unsecured debts, so you will want to take special care to list all of your unsecured creditors in your case. In a Chapter 13, you get to pay back the value of some of your debts and only a portion of your unsecured obligations. To have a successful Chapter 13 case you need to stay on track with your budget and make your plan payments to the Trustee on time. If you miss a payment, the Trustee might ask the Court to dismiss your case. In either type of case, you are able to get the financial relief you need. But in order to do so, you need to be prepared and organized. We will help you get a handle on what comes next, after you case is filed, so you know what to do during your case. Our success is tied to yours, so we go the extra mile to help you reach your financial goals.

For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Two Tips For A Successful Budget

One of the most essential things to do as an adult is to come up with a budget, but it is also one of the most difficult tasks to complete. And even if you are successful in putting pen to paper or whipping up a quick spreadsheet of income and expenses, there is no guarantee that you will be able to stick to your budget. For a budget to work, it has to be reasonable and it has to be something that is within your financial power to follow. Without a workable plan there is little to no change that you will be able to stay on track with even the best of plans.
Two tips to having success with your budget include:

• Make sure your budget covers all of your expenses. Many expenses are hard to identify because they are not part of your regular recurring bills. It is easy enough to write down your house and car payment, but things that fluctuate like eating out or gas are harder to pinpoint. It is a good idea to write down all of your expenses for an entire month before you try to develop a budget. That way you will have a blueprint for what you typically spend and can categorize those expenses when you write up your budget.
• Make sure your budget leaves you a little bit of wiggle room, either for a little bit of entertainment or for an emergency. No one likes to just go to work and come home, so if you don’t account for a DVD rental or a night out with friends you will become frustrated. That frustration all too often leads to throwing the budget out the window and that is when debt is incurred. The same is true for an emergency. If you fail to plan for the expense associated with an emergent car or home repair, you will have to resort to loans or credit cards for these costs, and that does nothing but add to your debt load.

Even with a budget we understand that things can come up without warning. And when they do, we are here to help with options. One option is to file for bankruptcy. Other options include refinancing, mortgage modifications, or settlements with your lenders.

For help with your questions about finances and how to keep them in check, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that help get you back on your feet.

Are Student Loans Eligible For Bankruptcy?

The number of students who graduate college with debt is too great to even mention. The amount of student loan debt is astronomical and graduates are having a hard time finding jobs that pay them enough to repay their student loans. This problem is one that does not have very many options for resolution, and even filing bankruptcy might not help. Generally speaking, student loans are not eligible to be discharged in bankruptcy.

That said, under extraordinary circumstances, you can eliminate your student loans debts by filing for bankruptcy. Here are some of the general rules about discharging student loan debts in bankruptcy, but keep in mind the decision depends on the particular facts of your case:

• Repayment of your student loans must present an undue financial hardship on you and your dependents.
• Job opportunities must be so dire that it is not likely you will obtain any type of gainful employment.
• If you are required to pay back your student loans, you will not be able to maintain even a minimal standard of living.
• You have made an effort, in good faith, to repay your student loans.
• The hardship you will face will persist for a significant portion of the time you are making repayment on your loans.

This is a difficult test to meet, especially if you are married to someone who has a job. The hardship envisioned by the first bullet point is not limited to you, but also to your dependents. So if there are other sources of income in your home, the Court may take the position that your dependents will not suffer an undue hardship. Remember that each case is different, and your facts may be such that you would be successful in asking for your student loans to be discharged. It does require you to file a separate lawsuit asking the Court to find that your student loans are no longer due, and that lawsuit is filed within your bankruptcy case. But even if you do not meet the requirements to have your student loans discharged, bankruptcy can help you get rid of other debts. For this reason, you should strongly consider filing a case if you cannot pay all of your bills on time. Our team of trained bankruptcy professionals is here to sit down with you and talk about your options.

For answers to your questions about debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.