When faced with significant debt, one kind of response that people give is to deny the situation. They might not look closely at the numbers. They might leave their bills or other correspondence unopened and shoved to the side. Their spending habits might continue unchanged.
Denial serves a temporary benefit, providing stress relief. But the debts still accumulate, bringing you closer to the time when you might have to face serious consequences, such as frozen bank accounts, garnished wages, and legal action.
Furthermore, without a clear idea about the situation or your options, you might opt for debt solutions that put you in deeper trouble.
Assessing your debt with open eyes
A recent article from U.S. News & World Report offers some tips for paying off more than $100,000 in debt. Even if your debt hasn’t reached this amount, the advice they offer in the article is still useful.
One of the themes that emerges in the article is to assess your situation in a clear-eyed way.
For example, the first step they advise you to take is to make a detailed, thorough account of all the debts you owe, and to whom. Include information such as interest rates and due dates. You then have to take a close look at your monthly budget and see what expenses you can cut.
You have to also assess your spending habits. For example, if you make irresponsible use of credit cards, admit to the problem. Don’t deny it or try to downplay it. Similarly, make a frank assessment of every solution you’re considering. For example, if a creditor or a debt settlement company offers you terms that seem favorable, question it; look at the fine print and do background reading to help ensure you won’t get cheated (the article warns against debt settlement companies in particular).
If you live in Ohio, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Piqua, Ohio bankruptcy attorney. One of the benefits of working with an attorney is that you’ll receive advice on what to do and get a clear analysis of your financial and legal situation.
Forbes recently came out with an article on retail bankruptcy in January; when holiday sales have failed to boost a store’s sagging profits and ease its debts, the company might file for bankruptcy. It’s also important to note that, in addition to seeing a possible spate of business bankruptcies, January might also be a time when individuals consider bankruptcy because of debts that exploded over the holidays.
Now that a few weeks have passed since the holiday season, what’s the state of your finances?
Look into the amount of credit card debt you owe. Gift purchases and money spent on vacations can add up quickly.
Consider the likelihood that you can repay the debt anytime soon. For example, are you out of a job? Are you not getting paid enough at your job?
Have you been you blindsided by any steep expenses, such as an unexpected medical bill?
Yahoo! Finances posted an article recently called “5 ways to cure a holiday debt hangover.” The article refers to a few websites where you can keep track of the money you owe, how much you’re paying back, and at what time. The article also offers suggestions for expenses you can cut, at least for a short time, along with short-term ways of boosting your income, such as getting a temporary side job.
But what if these measures prove ineffective? You might have resolved to handle your finances and spend money more carefully, but maybe that will do little for your existing debt. Also, you might experience an unexpected disaster, such as a serious medical event or a situation where both you and your spouse become unemployed. Even with money saved up, you might struggle with debt.
Don’t hesitate to contact a Miami County, Ohio bankruptcy attorney if you’re mired in debt difficulties. Bankruptcy is a viable option for many people, and with careful management and legal advice, you can get through the process successfully and begin to rebuild your finances and credit score.
As discussed in a recent article from Cleveland.com, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report analyzing various kinds of debt. What types of debt show up most frequently on people’s credit reports?
As it turns out, unpaid medical bills top the list, accounting for roughly 52% of the debts reported to credit bureaus.
What does this mean?
Medical Debt and Bankruptcy
First off, it’s important to understand that just because medical bills are the most frequent kind of debt showing up on credit reports, it doesn’t mean that they’re always the largest debt in any given individual’s financial life. You could have an unpaid medical bill of several hundred dollars, while at the same time holding a general credit card debt of several thousand dollars encompassing many other bills.
That said, healthcare and medical services are generally expensive and often do put a drain on people’s finances, especially in the worst situations involving hospital stays and major surgeries.
When dealing with the healthcare industry, you need to push as much as possible for transparency to understand why you’re getting billed a certain amount. The Cleveland.com article offers additional advice, including not paying your medical bills with a credit card if possible; the reasoning is that if you pay the medical bill with your credit card, it might get classified on your credit report as part of your general credit card debt, which could impact your credit score more strongly.
If you live in Ohio and are struggling to manage medical debt or any other unpaid bills, be sure to contact an experienced Shelby County, Ohio bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney will help you figure out strategies for coping with mounting debt and possible pressure from creditors and collection agencies.
The IRS has a reputation as a strong-armed bully that won’t release people from tax debts no matter what the circumstances. However, the truth is that some tax debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy if they meet specific conditions outlined by the IRS. If you are considering bankruptcy, it is important to consult with a Sidney, Ohio bankruptcy attorney first.
Exceptions are only available for tax you owe on earned income. You must pay all taxes due on unearned income, such as alimony or a substantial gift, when you file bankruptcy. According to the legal site Nolo.com, you also must meet the following conditions to include tax debt with your bankruptcy petition:
You filed a tax return two or more years ago for taxes due three or more years ago. The IRS prohibits all taxpayers from including taxes assessed on income in the past 24 months with their bankruptcy petitions. If you include tax debt in your bankruptcy filing, be prepared to show the IRS proof that you filed electronically or mailed a paper claim two or more years ago. This timeline also includes extensions.
For bankruptcy purposes, the IRS also imposes limits in relation to when the tax was assessed. You must have received a tax bill 240 days ago or longer from the date you file for bankruptcy. An exception is possible if you previously filed bankruptcy or were negotiating an Offer in Compromise with the IRS prior to your current bankruptcy filing.
No Dismissal of Tax Debts if You File a Fraudulent Return
If you knowingly file a false tax return with the IRS, you can expect it to deny your request to dismiss past due taxes with your bankruptcy. The IRS must prove that both spouses knew about the fraud in cases involving married couples who file for bankruptcy. For additional questions about tax debt or how to file for bankruptcy, please contact us at Chris Wesner Law Office, LLC.
Going through bankruptcy is not something that people look forward to doing, but it is the correct decision for many individuals as it allows them to start fresh with their financial situation. Using a Dayton, Ohio bankruptcy attorney is ideal because an experienced professional can provide their knowledge and expertise to assist with the entire bankruptcy process
Receiving this kind of assistance will improve your experience from beginning to finish, and it will help you focus on the most important part, which is making every right decision with your financial future.
Pay for a Secured Credit Card
While the thought of getting a credit card after bankruptcy may be intimidating, you can use a secured credit card to your advantage for improving your financial after bankruptcy. It is different from a standard credit card that provides you with immediate funds to use in that you actually need to invest money initially to get a secured credit card.
Maintain a Zero Balance
Although you may be tempted to keep a balance on your credit card because you think it will have a greater impact on your credit score, you should focus on maintaining a zero balance. It is vital to avoid paying any interest and getting into the bad habit of not paying off your entire balance on time, which can then lead to procrastinating on your payments and building a higher balance than intended.
Calculate Your Necessary Monthly Expenses
It is best to make sacrifices by reducing your monthly expenses, which can be done by calculating what you really need and how much money it costs, and then getting rid of the unnecessary costs. Doing this will reduce your monthly expenses, which in turn increases your potential for savings.
If you are unsure of what type of bankruptcy your financial situation calls for, or want some reliable information on bankruptcy in general, do not hesitate to contact us as we would love to help.
Is your desk covered with a stack of unopened bills? Have you been struggling to make your mortgage but instead keep falling further behind? Do you wake up every day and immediately start worrying that you will never be able to pay off a mountain of accumulated debt? If any of these sounds like you, it may be time to consider bankruptcy.
We know you’re proud. We know that in a perfect world, you’d prefer to pay your bills. Most people who eventually file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Troy were reluctant to go that route. Most of our bankruptcy clients tried everything else they could think of before they realized that bankruptcy was their best option. Declaring bankruptcy may be your best option, too.
Alternately called a “liquidation” or “straight” bankruptcy, Chapter 7 allows for the discharge of most debts but the debtor must relinquish most of their valuable assets in the process. If you are behind on mortgage payments and want to keep your house, Chapter 7 may not be the right way to go. The same is true if you are making payments on a motor vehicle. Chapter 7 wipes out most debts, but not those owed on a mortgage or car loan.
If you are late on house payments and want to keep your house, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is probably your best bet. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you work with your creditors to devise a payment plan you can live with. If your loans were co-signed, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may protect your co-signers from collection efforts by your creditors.
These are hard financial times for a lot of people. Many good Ohioans find themselves facing foreclosure and seizure of their assets, despite trying their level best to stay above water. If you’re struggling every day and worried for your financial future, take a deep breath and call an experienced Dayton, Ohio bankruptcy attorney. A qualified lawyer can explain the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and help you choose the option that’s right for you. When you are ready to sleep better at night, contact us.
From time to time, it’s worthwhile to look at high-profile bankruptcy cases in the news in order to learn from them. Maybe there are lessons for what to avoid when it comes to our own financial decisions or for what to do when you experience money troubles.
Recently, a star player for the Columbus Blue Jackets filed for bankruptcy. Over the course of his career so far, he’s earned millions of dollars (more than 18 million, according to a news report) – so the obvious question is: Why does he need to file for bankruptcy?
As it turns out, he’s been struggling with a few financial problems, including the following:
He had needed to default on a number of loans that had unfavorable terms (including high interest rates); creditors filed lawsuits against him, and he was hit with major fees and garnished wages.
Why did he take out so many bad loans? He entrusted his finances to people who mismanaged it – in this case, his parents. As claimed in the news report, his mother took out millions of dollars of loans in his name from “nonconventional lenders.”
What steps is he taking now to address his financial problems? For one thing, he has reportedly shifted the financial management away from his parents and to people he can better trust. He has also filed for bankruptcy.
While we won’t go into the details of his case here, it’s worth noting that bankruptcy can give you breathing room from creditors and a chance to reorganize your finances and start over.
If you’re in financial straits from bad loans and other financial mismanagement, don’t hesitate to contact a Beavercreek, Ohio bankruptcy attorney. People from all walks of life and income levels file for bankruptcy, for a variety of reasons. There shouldn’t be a stigma – only a chance to start fresh and get the financial assistance you need.
Life is unpredictable and sometimes married couples find themselves facing vastly different credit situations. It could be one spouse came into the marriage with a large amount of debt or it could be that an impending separation has caused one partner to make unwise financial choices. Whatever the reason, sometimes one spouse considers filing for bankruptcy alone. A Xenia, Ohio bankruptcy attorney offers advice on things to consider when choosing to file for bankruptcy solely or jointly.
In general, it is more advisable to file bankruptcy jointly. However, in special circumstances it may be a good idea to file alone. If you believe your spouse will not be truthful in a joint petition, refusing to be on the same bankruptcy petition is a matter of self-preservation. The penalties for perjury are severe. Lying on a bankruptcy petition can lead to five years in federal prison. You may also choose to file separately if your spouse owes no debt, including joint debts, and has no liability.
On the other hand, there are several disadvantages to filing separately. First, even if you choose to file alone, your spouse’s income is still attributed to you. This fact may cause those wishing to file alone to be above the income thresh hold for Chapter 7 or may increase the minimum payment needed to fund a Chapter 13 Wage Earner Plan.
Filing bankruptcy alone may also prove to be more expensive for the family in the long run. Generally, the cost of adding the spouse to a bankruptcy petition is around $100. However, once one spouse has filed, if the other spouse is forced into bankruptcy later they will be responsible for paying for their own petition. This means one family may end up paying bankruptcy fees, which are close to $1,300 twice, one time for each spouse versus paying around $1,500 total for a joint filing.
Your exemptions are also considerably less when you file alone. Filing jointly automatically doubles your allowed exemptions. Furthermore, under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if only one spouse files for bankruptcy, creditors can still seek payment from the other spouse on all jointly held debts.
Filing for bankruptcy can be a lifesaving option for many people. It is highly advisable to seek assistance from an experienced attorney to determine your best option. For more information on determining when it is advisable for only one spouse to file for bankruptcy, contact us. Our friendly and experienced attorneys will work with you to plan your best course of action.
In recent years, there have been numerous home foreclosures around the US. According to a 2013 report from Policy Matters Ohio, there were 70,469 foreclosures filed in Ohio in 2012 – a slight decrease from 2011, but still a high number.
After people file a foreclosure, they do their best to rebuild their lives (and their credit scores). They might move to a new place, find a new job, build up their savings, repay various debts, and start planning perhaps for future property investments.
What they often don’t anticipate is their foreclosure continuing to haunt them and undermine their finances years later.
Are debt collectors after you?
A recent article discusses the plight of people who filed for a foreclosure during the housing bust. If they’ve since made significant improvements to their finances, they’re now in danger of debt collectors seeking to obtain from them the debt they owe that wasn’t repaid in full by the sale of their foreclosed home.
Aggressive debt collectors can push to garnish their wages, freeze their bank accounts, and seize vehicles and other assets – even years after the foreclosure.
These debt collector tactics threaten to put people back in financial straits, just as they assumed they were getting their finances into better shape. What are some of your options if this is happening to you?
You could try to pay back the amount you owe in full, perhaps after negotiating some kind of repayment plan; maybe you’ll be able to pay back less than what you owe after the negotiations. But it’s also possible that you’ll need to file for bankruptcy, depending on the amount of debt and your overall financial situation.
If you’re contemplating bankruptcy, be sure to contact a Springfield, Ohio bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney will carefully weigh the different options available to you and advise you on what to do. If you decide to file for bankruptcy, a strong attorney can increase your chances of a favorable outcome in the bankruptcy courts.
When managed well, bankruptcy has the potential to help you restart your life and re-organize your finances. One of the important benefits that bankruptcy can give you is breathing room from creditors.
When creditors are pursuing you, the pressure can be intense. They may refuse to negotiate with you. They may call you up at work and at home. They may make a move to garnish your wages. They could even take you to court.
As you’re scrambling to deal with debts, the pressure from creditors just makes things worse. With bankruptcy, what you may benefit from is an automatic stay from creditors during the bankruptcy process. When you file for bankruptcy, your creditors generally have to stop contacting you for the duration of the bankruptcy process.
Limits of an automatic stay
The period of time to which your automatic stay applies can vary based on a number of factors. For example, creditors can try to get the stay lifted so that they can continue pursuing you; if a judge grants their request, they may resume contacting you. The judge can also set limits on the stay based on the details of your bankruptcy filing. There also certain debts, such as alimony, to which the automatic stay doesn’t apply.
An attorney’s assistance
In order to maximize the benefits of bankruptcy, including benefiting from an automatic stay as much as possible, you need the assistance of an attorney. Your attorney can help you handle your creditors, advocate for you in court, and push for the most favorable outcome for your bankruptcy case.
If you live in Ohio, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Piqua, Ohio bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy should be an opportunity for you to start over again, with better-organized finances and an opportunity to rebuild your credit score. An attorney will fight for you to be treated fairly and receive the breathing room you need to handle your debts.