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What Is A Debt Settlement?

There is always more than one way to get to the same result. For money problems you might consider calling your lenders and asking for a lower monthly payment, taking out a consolidation loan, calling a debt counselor, or filing for bankruptcy. Another popular method to resolving past due financial obligations is through debt settlement. There are programs that offer to undertake this effort on your behalf, but many of the companies that run these programs have been found to be of little assistance. You could opt to try and work out something on your own, but this leaves you with the burden of fielding numerous calls and engaging in lengthy negotiations. The best choice is to partner with a debt relief attorney with experience settling debt on behalf of others.

Debt settlement is similar to a legal proceeding, in that the party asking for relief must provide evidence to the lender that a settlement is the best option. Some things to keep in mind about your case include:

  • Your credit will reflect the settlement, so be sure that this option is best for your budget and future plans. If you are underwater on most of your obligations, chances are your credit is already less than perfect. Also, it does not take near as long to repair credit as most people believe, so if a big purchase is in your future the likelihood your credit will be in good shape by the time you need a new loan is good.
  • Act sooner rather than later, the earlier on in your financial struggle you reach out to your creditors, the higher the chance of receiving a favorable response to your settlement offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to be honest about your finances with your lenders, if you are near the brink of bankruptcy and will go that route if settlement doesn’t work, make sure your creditors are aware of this fact. Many lenders will agree to take a smaller amount than the full balance due instead of having the entire debt eliminated through a bankruptcy.

For some types of debt, there are tax and other financial consequences for settling with the lender for less than what is due. For instance, if you agree to pay a lump sum of $20,000.00 less than you owe on your mortgage to avoid a foreclosure, you can expect to receive a 1099 for $20,000.00 from the lender. This “loan forgiveness” can be considered income for taxation purposes, so you want to be sure the agreement you make does not cause more harm than good. Call us today for a review of these, and other important issues.

 

If you have questions about settling debt, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

Three Ways To Make Smart Money Choices

Have you ever stopped and wondered why some people seem to have all the luck in the world? Is it that they truly are lucky, or do they just make smart choices? Life is full of choices, and knowing which path to take can be hard. But, when you are faced with decisions that will impact your future, it is wise to look at all the options and make the best choice. This is especially true in the area of personal finances. Having enough money to make ends meet every month is good, but it would be better to make choices that allow you to save for an emergency or for the day when you can call it quits at work. Making smart money choices doesn’t have to be hard, and once you get the hang of it you will wonder why you were ever hesitant to implement a plan.

Making smart money choices is a way of life, and starts the minute your feet hit the floor out of bed every morning. Here are three things you can do on a daily basis to make smart money moves:

  • Make a list of your financial goals, and review it periodically. Being able to see, on paper, what you are working towards is big motivator for many people. But it does not good to write your goals down if you don’t review them every now and again to see if you are on track, or need to make an adjustment.
  • When faced with a big money decision, make a choice before becoming distracted by the pressures of everyday life such as work and kids.
  • Make changes to your daily schedule so you can avoid expensive habit forming stops, like that daily gourmet coffee or overpriced lunch.

The smallest changes to the way you manage your money can add up to big rewards. When you know what you want to achieve and start to see results, saving money and making good choices can become like a game. Be sure to get your family involved, and celebrate when you reach milestones along the way. Just be sure that the celebration does not get out of hand, and still allows you to stay on track financially.

 

If you have questions about budgets and how to make smart money moves, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

What To Do About Back Taxes

Having any kind of debt can be overwhelming, especially if you are unable to make the payments. But one type of debt that seems to be more difficult to handle than others is taxes. Perhaps it is because American workers are fed up with the tax system, and the idea of paying a large chunk of what you work so hard to make to the government leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. After all, you have an amount held out of your paycheck every pay period as it is, so why should you end up paying more every April? While paying taxes is certainly no fun, it is also something to take seriously. If you fail to file your return on time, or fail to pay taxes when they are due, you will be fined and penalized heavily. These added sums can make it near impossible to ever pay off your taxes, but there are some things you can do.

The IRS offers some programs for repayment of back taxes, and if you fall into this category it is smart to check out what options are available to you. The most common ways to repay past due taxes are:

  • An offer in compromise: this type of repayment is one where the taxpayer offers an amount that is less than the total tax due, and the IRS agrees to accept that figure as full payment for the taxes.
  • Payment plans: many times the IRS will agree to allow a taxpayer to make monthly installment payments on the taxes due. A word of caution though, the interest continues to accumulate until your entire tax debt is paid in full.

If you owe back taxes, the best advice is to take control of the situation by having a professional help negotiate a repayment plan. Ignoring the issue will not make it go away, and will only add to the amount you owe and could result in collection action being taken against you. The IRS has many tools at its disposal, such as wage garnishments and tax liens, and will not hesitate to undertake whatever action is necessary to get the taxes paid. If you owe back taxes, call us today to find out what solution works best for you.

 

If you have questions about how to repay back taxes, call a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options. We can help you understand your choices and make a decision that works for you. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

What Is An Undue Hardship?

Many times the debt you have accumulated, and the lender’s efforts to collect it, creates an undue hardship on you and your family. Think about it, can you really afford to receive a less than full paycheck? The answer is probably no, but that is exactly what can happen if you are subject to a wage garnishment. The result can be that you are unable to make your house or car payment, or put food on the table for your family. Sometimes, when debt is out of control at this level, the way out is to file for bankruptcy and stop the collection activities. Even in bankruptcy though, if you want to hang on to your house or car, you still have to pay. This can still cause a financial hardship, and so you have the right to have some debts wiped out due to the hardship caused.

The most popular debt people try to eliminate in bankruptcy due to an undue hardship is a student loan. This is a difficult task, because generally speaking you are not able to discharge student loan debt. But, if you can show the following, the Bankruptcy Court may agree with you and declare some or all of your student loan debt forgiven through the bankruptcy:

  • You have to show that you have a made a good faith effort to obtain employment, but have been unable to do so.
  • You have to show that paying back any part of the loan will result in financial destitution to you and/or your dependents.
  • Factors such as a physical disability play a role, but are not determinative.

The test is a difficult one to meet, and the Court grants these requests infrequently. Showing that you are unable to provide for yourself and your family, and have no hope of doing so in the future can be hard. Sometimes the better approach is to work one on one with the lender, and provide them the details of your financial condition for a possible reduction the amount due or in the monthly payment. We can help you to make a decision about how to proceed in these unique types of cases, and will help guide you towards taking action that is likely to end in a satisfactory result.

 

If you have questions about bankruptcy and undue hardship, contact our office for help. We will explain your options, so you understand your choices and can make a decision that meets your needs. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

Two Ways To Avoid Charges Of Bankruptcy Abuse

In 2005 the Bankruptcy Code was revised, and most of the changes were not for the better. The changes came about as the result of creditors lobbying for tighter filing requirements, and more of a crackdown on repeat filers that were viewed as abusing the system. The system in place today looks at your income as it relates to your secured debt, and if the pre-set calculation shows you have any left over money each month to put towards your unsecured debt you will be “forced” to file a Chapter 13 case and pay back some of what you owe to credit cards and other unsecured loans. For most people, this is not the preferable method of bankruptcy, and a Chapter 7 is desired. A Chapter 7 eliminates unsecured debt, but does require payments to still be made for secured items like your car or house if you want to keep them. Another part of the initial review of your case when filing is whether there is a “presumption of abuse” in your filing. If so, the trustee make object to your petition and ask that the entire case be dismissed. No one wants to have their case thrown out, and still owe the debt they are unable to pay, so avoiding charges of bankruptcy abuse is a serious concern.

Two ways you can avoid being charged with abusing the bankruptcy laws include:

  • Make sure you wait the required amount of time in between filing cases, if you are in need of filing a subsequent case.
  • Provide all of the information necessary to file your case to your attorney, leaving out nothing. Every source of income you have must be reported, and every debt you owe should be provided to your attorney when your case is prepared. If you have given all the information about your finances to your bankruptcy attorney, and have honestly answered questions concerning your pay, chances are you will not be the target of a possible abuse claim.

The key is to be thorough, and to provide accurate information. We can help you by identifying what information is needed to file, and providing a checklist for what documents to bring to Court.

 

If you have questions about bankruptcy, let an experienced attorney help you. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living: Managing Debt

Being saddled with too much debt is no fun, and pretty soon it can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life. When you are worried about how to pay the bills it can be hard to concentrate at work, and your personal relationships can also suffer. The key to happiness is not money, but when you are effectively managing your debt your level of enjoyment of life can certainly increase. In order to get to a place where you are in control of your finances, you have to take action. If that means seeking the protection of bankruptcy, negotiating with your creditors for more favorable loan terms, or going to see a reputable consolidation company, don’t waste any more precious time: seek help today. We have helped people figure out what works best for them, and we can help you too.

Consumer Reports has the following five methods for debt management:

  • Make a budget, then negotiate with your creditors for lower interest rates or the opportunity to extend the length of your loan so that the payments fit within the budget you’ve created.

●          Consolidate higher rate debt into one, lower rate loan.

  • Figure out which payments are the most important, and make a budget that allows you to pay off priority debts first.
  • Consider taking advice from a credit counselor. A credit counselor can give you ideas on how to manage your money and where you can cut back so you can start saving.
  • Look at your legal options, such as bankruptcy, for help with too much debt.

The key is to do what works for you and your family. Only you can make the decision as to the best choice for your finances, and implement change. But, sometimes you need help. In our experience, talking it over with a debt management attorney is helpful because once you learn your options you are in a better positon to make the best decision. Call our office today for help, you’ll be glad because we can help you to stop worrying and start living.

 

If you need help with your finances, call our office. We can offer solutions, legal and practical, that meet your needs. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

Life After Bankruptcy: What To Expect

Not so long ago it seemed like filing for bankruptcy was the end of the world. The social stigma associated with going bankrupt kept many people that needed the benefits the bankruptcy laws have to offer from filing a case. Debtors were also afraid to file because they felt like bankruptcy was a hole that was too hard to dig out of after the fact. So, many deserving people missed out on overcoming burdensome debt and getting back on their financial feet, for no good reason. This is not the story today, and the thoughts on bankruptcy have loosened.

The purpose of the bankruptcy laws is to give the honest, but unfortunate, debtor a fresh start. It can be hard to manage debt when you are constantly fending of collection calls, or worried about how to make ends meet. Bankruptcy can give you a chance to breathe and regroup, which allows you to start over and reach your financial goals. Take a look at what you can expect after bankruptcy:

  • Eliminating debt gives you the chance to save for emergencies. With more disposable income available, you can start a savings account or put money aside for repairs or other necessary things.
  • Your bankruptcy filing will be on your credit, but your credit score may not drop as much as you might expect. You will also be able to take out new loans and credit cards, and doing so can help to rebuild your credit if you make the payments on time or pay off the balance in full every month.
  • After filing for bankruptcy, your stress level will significantly decrease. Without having to live paycheck to paycheck, or not have enough to pay all of the bills, you will be able to relax and focus on more important things such as your work and your family.

There is no shame in filing bankruptcy, and it can be enormously helpful. Most times the decision to file is the hardest part of the case. Once you have made that choice, you can expect a fresh start and a new lease on life.

 

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information about what to expect during and after filing for bankruptcy. We have helped others, and are here to help you too.

 

 

Setting The Record Straight: Bankruptcy Myths Debunked

When you are in over your head financially, it can be easy to fall prey to get rich quick schemes and allow unscrupulous companies to take advantage of you in the hopes of getting out of debt fast. Even companies that seem legitimate can cause you more harm than good, so if something sounds too good to be true it is probably not a good choice. Debt consolidation companies can be helpful, but you have to do your research first to make sure they can deliver the results promised. Many times a debt consolidation company will claim they can reduce all of your bills, but the plain truth is your creditors are not required to work with these companies. One sure fire way to lower your bills and eliminate debt is by seeking the protection of bankruptcy. But, even then you need to be aware of the rules and know what to expect. There are too many myths about bankruptcy out there, and we are here to set the record straight.

The Bankruptcy Code allows for debtors to eliminate debt, or to consolidate it through the Courts, under certain circumstances. Some of the most common urban legends surrounding bankruptcy include:

  • You can keep your things without paying: this is not true. Even in bankruptcy if you want to keep your car, or your house, or your motorcycle you still have to make payments.
  • You will not be able to get a loan: contrary to popular belief, creditors are out there willing to make loans to people who have gone through bankruptcy. In fact, you may be surprised at the number of solicitations you receive, but be careful about taking on new debt. If you are able to make the payments on a loan or credit card, doing so will help to repair your credit faster.
  • Your credit will be ruined if you file for bankruptcy: while the notation that you filed bankruptcy will be on your credit report, your credit score will not be ruined. And, if you are able to take on new debt after your case and manage it in a responsible way, chances are your credit will bounce back quickly.

Don’t be fooled by the myths out there about bankruptcy. Instead, call us for the information you need in order to make an informed decision about whether bankruptcy is for you. We have experience helping people file bankruptcy, and get the fresh financial start they deserve. Let us help you too.

 

For assistance with bankruptcy issues, call our office today. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

The Difference Between Emergency Funds And Sinking Funds

Setting up accounts to cover certain expenses is always a good idea. When you have money set aside for the expenses of life, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to go into debt for necessities. There are two very important types of accounts you will want to establish to cover these things; an emergency fund and a sinking fund. Knowing the difference will help ensure you use the money as intended, and help to keep you out of debt.

The difference between an emergency fund and a sinking fund can best be described as follows:

  • An emergency fund is a fund you set up for use in an emergency. True to definition, an emergency is something that comes up that you did not expect. Examples include a car wreck, a catastrophic illness, or the neighborhood children playing baseball in the street and a ball going through your front window. All of these instances require money to repair or deal with daily, and having an emergency fund is a good place to turn when these expenses arise.
  • A sinking fund is a fund you set up that is intended for a specific use. For example, you know that you will need to replace your tires at a certain time. Start saving now for that time, and when it arrives you will have the money you need to cover the cost.

Both types of accounts are vital to your financial well-being. Without the money needed for unexpected repairs, or for an expected purchase, you can be left with undesirable options. Be sure to keep track of the amount you are putting aside, and that your monthly budget accounts for these expenses. It is a good idea to open a separate account for these monies, and the sooner you start the faster you will reach your financial goals. For answers to your questions about money, call our office. We have experience helping people get out of financial distress, even when the answer is bankruptcy or other debt management methods. Once you have a plan in place, you are freed up to focus on the things in your life that matter the most. We can help you reach your goals, and stay on track.

If you need help figuring out how to set up an emergency fund or a sinking fund, contact our office. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today.

 

 

Creative Ideas For Entertainment That Fits Your Budget

While not a fun topic, the idea of establishing a budget is a necessity of life. Without knowing where your money goes each month it is too easy to get off track and find yourself in financial distress. Along with setting aside money for emergencies, socking away a little in a savings account, and paying your monthly bills you may be surprise to learn that entertainment expenses are a big part of budgets also. If you fail to account for having a little fun here and there, the temptation to go off budget is too great. So, when you are thinking about your budget, don’t forget to think about having some fun too.

Keep in mind that doing things for entertainment do not have to cost a bundle. There are plenty of things you can do for fun that are free, or very low cost. Some creative ideas for entertainment that fits your budget include:

  • Pick a deal on groupon or other social media site. Countless retailers, restaurant, and other companies are turning to these sites for a source of income. You can get a great deal at a reduced price, but still enjoy the full amount of fun offered.
  • Join a club that offers discounts to members only.
  • Consider going to your local college theater instead of paying full price for a professional show.
  • Check out what’s playing at the dollar movies, and cut the cost of your dinner and a movie date in half.

There are plenty of options out there for low cost entertainment, it may just take some looking. The money you save can be put towards your savings account or emergency fund, or can be made to make an extra payment on a credit card or other loan. Include your friends, family, and neighbors in your hunt for budget friendly entertainment ideas. Before long, you will find yourself with more things to do, than time to do them. For more information on budgets, finances, and how to manage your debt, call our office and speak with one of our qualified debt management professionals today.

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information on how to budget your income, and what to do when your budget doesn’t work. Schedule an appointment to learn more.