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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.

 

 

The Top Ten Reasons Your Budget Doesn’t Work

Making a budget is hard, sticking to it is even harder. But, if you want to gain financial freedom, spending less than what you make and putting some aside for savings is a must. Most of us have the best of intentions when making a budget, but then life seems to get in the way. No one intentionally busts their budget, most times an unexpected event such as a death or illness arises and it is no longer feasible to stay on track. With a little help though, even those of us that struggle can come up with and stick to a budget that fits our finances. In order to get to that point, it is important to understand why your current situation is not working.

The top ten reasons your budget doesn’t work could include any, or a combination of, the following factors:

  • You must establish a budget that fits your lifestyle, and that of your family. If you do not account for eating out, but your family goes to restaurants weekly, your budget will not work.
  • You only stick to your budget some of the time. Just like going to the gym once a month will not result in any real change in your physical appearance, if you are not consistent with your money habits, you will not see results.
  • You overlooked certain items, and thus the extra money you thought you had disappears.
  • Your budget lacks flexibility. Sometimes you have to be able to spend less in one category, in order to spend more in another when the need arises. If you do not have this flexibility built into your budget, your budget will likely not work.
  • You are too easily persuaded to make an impulse buy. When you buy things not accounted for in your budget, the entire bottom line is thrown out of whack.
  • You have to resort to loans to cover a deficit.
  • You failed to account for emergencies, or to set up an emergency fund.
  • Your budget does not include any entertainment expenses. You have to give yourself a little fun now and then, if you are stuck without any entertainment funds, you will quickly be derailed.
  • You make less than you spend. This one is simple math. If your expenses are more than you bring home every month, you have to find areas to cut back, or eliminate from your budget.
  • Life got in the way. Unexpected events can throw a wrench in your plans, but life has a way of happening without asking.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, call our office for help with debt consolidation or bankruptcy. We can help put you on the path to financial freedom, while giving you the tools to stay there.

 

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

 

 

 

Tips For Including One Time Expenses In Your Budget

Making a monthly budget requires you to list out all of the expenses you generally incur in any given month. Common components of a monthly budget include rent or a mortgage payment, utility bills, groceries, credit card payments, a cell or landline phone bill, car payments and the insurance that goes along with the vehicles, and cable or other television services. But, not every expense you have is one that you have to pay on a monthly basis. However, it is just as important to budget for onetime expenses as it is to budget for recurring expenses.

Tips for saving for expenses that are not monthly, like annual homeowner’s dues or car tags, include:

  • Opening a separate savings account that is earmarked for these expenses. A good example is an annual expense, which allows you to divide the amount of the expense by twelve and then deposit that amount of money into a separate account on a monthly basis. In this way the expense is included in your monthly budget, but you are not making the payment on a monthly cycle.
  • Use bonuses and gifts to establish a savings account, the use the money in the savings account for onetime expenses.
  • Include a miscellaneous category in your monthly budget and determine an amount to save each month for those expenses. This will leave extra cash in your account, for use when a onetime expense or emergency arises.

Whichever method you decide, make sure you take steps to set aside money for things that come up only once or twice a year. When you have saved the money needed for large onetime expense, you can avoid resorting to use of a credit card or the need to take out a loan to cover the fees. The more frequently you are able to devote a portion of your paycheck to a onetime expense, the more likely the money will be there when needed. Be sure to include other expenses, like the cost of gas and entertainment, in your budget as well. These expenses are not ones you see monthly by way of a monthly statement, but are expenses you incur nonetheless One of the biggest reasons people are unable to stick to a budget is because items are overlooked. For help with your budget, call our office. Or, if you do not have enough income to cover your monthly expenses, call us to learn your legal remedies for debt management.

 

If you have questions about budgets and how to save for a onetime expense, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

Tax Benefits To College Education Savings Plans

Let’s face it, the cost of higher education is great. Going to school is one way to get ahead, because most employers who offer better paying jobs are looking for applicants with a college degree. But, getting there can put a real strain on your finances. There are options for paying for college, such as student loans and grants. However, if you are trying to avoid going into debt, taking out a loan may not be up your alley. One thing you can do is to open a college savings account, and this can be for yourself or for the benefit of another.

The most common form of college savings plan is called a 529 Plan. The plan is called a 529 Plan because it is named after the IRS provision by the same number. Along with providing an account for you to put money into for growth, a 529 Plan also has other financial benefits:

  • Money you deposit in a 529 Plan is tax free, on your state income tax return. This means that your taxable income is reduced by a portion of the total amount you pay into the plan over the year.
  • The money deposited is invested, which means that when it comes time to put the money to use, there is more in your account that what you have put in over time. This is one way to save for college that doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Opening an account well before reaching college age will allow the account to grow.

There are limits on the amount you can contribute to these plans, so be sure to follow the rules to receive the maximum benefits. The money can be used for higher education, and in some instances can even be used for the technology needed to attend college (like a computer). Establishing a 529 college savings plan does not have to be a daunting task, once set up you are I control of the account, for the benefit of the named beneficiary. If you have questions about how to save for college, call us to speak with one of our trained financial and budget specialists.

 

If you have questions about college savings and the tax benefits it offers, 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.