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This Bankruptcy blog by Rothschild & Ausbrooks, PLLC offers information and commentary for residents of Nashville, Tennessee. Our mission is to provide personalized and exceptional legal advice with service above expectations to our clients.
A home is a place meant for comfort, security and peace of mind -- these are just a few reasons why a home foreclosure can be so threatening to one's wellbeing and way of life. Countless Tennesseans face this threat but are unsure of where to turn in such hard times. Depending on the situation, avoiding a foreclosure altogether may be a possibility.
HGTV shares some helpful pointers for those experiencing a dreadful property foreclosure, noting that lenders do not always have to appear as villians. In fact, some lenders are willing to compromise when it comes to finding a solution with missed mortgage payments. Another option HGTV mentions is a deed in lieu, in which a homeowner voluntarily hands the deed back over to the bank. Although some lenders discourage taking this route, it may prove beneficial for some homeowners. Bankruptcy is another option, as HGTV states that it can put a halt to foreclosure altogether. After a homeowner files a bankruptcy petition, debt collectors and lenders must cease their collecting actions under federal law.
Where there is a will, there is often a way, including other possible options to avoid foreclosure. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development lists the following alternatives to foreclosure, most of which the U.S. Treasury Department and HUD oversee:
The Making Home Affordable Program
Home Affordable Unemployment Program
Mitigation programs offered by the Federal Housing Administration
The Making Home Affordable Program allows those threatened by foreclosure to lower their monthly mortgage payments. It can also help those who owe more than the worth of the home and homeowners who can no longer afford to pay their mortgages. Another perk to this program is that it aims to better balance America's housing market. The Home Affordable Unemployment Program and various mitigation programs can also help unemployed homeowners in need of assistance. The are additional foreclosure relief programs provided by the HUD.
You got the news no one wants to hear from their doctor -- you have cancer. After the initial shock, you learned all about it and what your treatment options were. You picked a course of action and started acting. Now, not too long after starting treatment, you learn your insurance isn't as helpful as you had hoped and you are facing some serious debt if you continue treatment. Sound like your life? It certainly is the reality for a number of Tennessee residents.
According to a fairly recent news article in The Washington Post, new cancer treatments can cost upward of $100,000 per year. Few people can afford that.
What are doctors doing about it?
In order to help cancer patients get the care they need, some doctors are looking at reducing drug dosages in order to spread them out and decrease the cost of care overtime. This, of course, will take time and trials to determine if the drugs are still effective at half-doses and if it is really beneficial to the patient to go this route. Setting up a trial like this will cost millions of dollars and will require the help of medical centers who are willing to be a part of such a study.
Why do they think this will work?
Food intake affects the absorption of some oral cancer medications. Pharmaceutical companies suggest taking these drugs while fasting in order to maximize absorption, but the doctors who wish to reduce drug amounts believe that food can actually help with absorption. One trial with the drug Zytiga proved this. Though the study was small, bioavailability of Zytiga has increased four to seven times compared to taking a larger amount while fasting.
This small study has given hope that reducing drug amounts and therefore costs is possible. However, more trials are still necessary before this becomes common practice.
Half-doses still expensive
If half-doses of certain drugs for certain cancers becomes a reality, it could save patients a great deal of money. At the end of the day, though, the cost to cover their cancer treatments may still be more than they can afford. This is particularly true if you are an average wage earner.
If you find yourself drowning in debt while fighting for your life, there may be debt relief options available to you. With a little legal help, you can find a solution for your economic woes so you can spend your time focusing on what matters most -- taking care of yourself and your health.
It is a major topic of debate, and also a primary concern for millions. It is both a necessary expense and a dark cloud that can follow graduates for decades. Student loan debt has been in the spotlight for years, as it simultaneously symbolizes a higher education and, more recently, years of ongoing struggle. As a result, some have turned to bankruptcy. This leads many Tennesseeans to ask, is excessive student loan debt worth the satsifaction of earning a degree?
Last spring, PBS News Hour shared the crippling statistic that college student loan debt in the country amounted to $1.4 trillion -- exceeding what Americans owe on car loans and credit cards. While acquiring statistics for job placement and salaries post-college seems an ideal place to start, some financial experts stress the difficulty of such a task. Because many students take college classes part-time as they maintain steady jobs, getting full data on the effects of a college degree can exist in a gray area. The field a student chooses to study is another factor, as some industries have higher projected growth rates than others; relying on colleges to gather data on each major has also proven to be challenging. However, areas such as teaching or social work, for example, do not pay as well as jobs in scientific fields, and can come with differing outlooks on costs.
Of course, there are countless graduates who struggle to pay off student loan debt for years, but there are also those who never completed a degree. USA Today spends time considering college debt, referring to a Consumer Reports National Research Center study to show that roughly 45 percent of people who face loan debt but never finished a degree argue that higher education is not worth the cost. It may seem apparent, but USA Today stresses that completing a degree could give way to a more positive outlook on financial situations. And while parents and scholarships cover a large majority of costs, monthly student loan bills can come with different effects, depending on a person's income.
If you are one of the many people in Tennessee who is feeling the pressure of mounds of debt that only seem to rise despite your best efforts, you may well have given thought to filing for bankruptcy. While it might sound good to know that you could relieve yourself of some of the debt you owe and cannot pay, you might also be concerned about the long-term impact on your credit of filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
You should not necessarily let fears of future credit unworthiness stop you from getting the help you need today. As explained by Nerd Wallet, it is very possible to rebuild your financial stability after a bankruptcy, including getting new credit. The fact is that credit is a part of life in today's society. Few people can buy a car, for example, without taking out a loan. With the right effort on your part, you will be able to get loans and other credit again.
One of the first things you might look doing after your bankruptcy is complete is obtaining a secured credit card. This can be an ideal stepping stone to an unsecured card. Plan to use your cards and then pay them off in full each month. This both avoids interest charges and shows lenders you can use credit responsibly.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give consumers in Tennessee an idea of how they can use a bankruptcy to get a fresh start and see their credit scores improve over time.
Tennessee residents who fall into debt will eventually find themselves being targeted and potentially even threatened by collection agencies. Commonly, these agencies will garnish your wages in order to collect your debt payments from you. This can have a hugely negative impact on your finances, especially if you're the primary financial support in your household. But can it be avoided?
In short, yes. Your first possible option is to look for exemptions to wage garnishment within your area. As FindLaw shows, wage garnishment exemptions differ from state to state, and certain types of exemptions may apply to your unique situation. For example, there's a limit on the amount of money that can be garnished from every paycheck if you're the main pillar of financial support in your family. If an exemption applies to you, you will first need to file a claim explaining why you believe the exemption applies. A judge will then look at your case to determine if you qualify.
The second way to avoid wage garnishment is by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is useful if you get into a situation where your debts are overwhelming, or if no exemptions apply to you. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is an automatic stay that keeps creditors from collecting while your case is being processed. This will give you the time you need to determine how you'll handle the situation.
Having your wages garnished affects every area of your life. However, there are ways to keep it from havign a devastating impact while simultaneously giving you room to figure out how you may pay off your debts.
Residents in Tennessee who are considering filing for bankruptcy should educate themselves about the process as part of determining whether or not a Chapter 7 bankruptcy really is the right option for them. One of the steps that people pursuing bankruptcy must complete is to take what is called the means test.
As explained by Nerd Wallet, the means test is a way of the courts identifying who does and who does not meet the qualifications for filing bankruptcy. Simply put, courts do not want people who are in their eyes legitimately able to repay debts walking away from them. Instead they want to retain bankruptcy as a valid route for those consumers who truly have no other options for how to get out from under their pile of debt.
For some people, passing this test is as simple as having an income lower that their state's median income. For consumers who have an income beyond this level, additional information will be required to be presented to the courts.
According to the U.S. Courts, consumers in this situation will need to provide a range of detail to the courts including not only their income but their living expenses and all debts. Bankruptcy courts acknowledge what they refer to as allowable expenses meaning a certain amount of money is expected to go toward basic things likes rent or a mortgage, transportation, food, utlities and more. All of these must be presented so that the court can evaluate how much money, if any, the consumer has left over that may reasonably be able to be used to repay debt.
Tennessee readers know that many people who go to college leave with student loan debt. With the rising cost of tuition, room, board and textbooks, most people are unable to manage the cost of college on their own, and student loans often seem like the answer. The result is a crisis — thousands of graduates with significant debt burdens they are unable to manage on their own.
Sadly, many people end up defaulting on student loans because they cannot make the payments, which results in accumulating interest. The final product is often a balance that is more than double the actual amount of money borrowed. As awareness of the student loan crisis grows, it is possible that some lenders have deceived and taken advantage of many student loan applicants.
A growing financial crisis
One example of the disturbing way that lenders have treated student loan applicants is a mother who took out a loan of about $6,000 to go to school to earn a specific type of health care degree. The details of her situation are as follows:
She enrolled in a forbearance plan put forth to her by her lender. This would allow her to delay payments when she could not make them without the risk of going into default.
The lender failed to inform her that even during a time of forbearance, the interest would continue to accumulate on her loan.
She only learned of the exorbitant amount of money she owed after she learned her tax return would not come to her, but would go to pay off what she still owed.
The lender also failed to tell her that there were certain government programs that would have provided her relief through low payments and eventual loan forgiveness.
Sadly, this is just one example of how some lenders use predatory practices to mislead applicants and leave them with debt that they could never hope to repay on their own. There is evidence that lenders steered people away from better options, tricking them into more expensive and complex plans that were detrimental to the applicant.
Did this happen to you?
There are many people struggling to keep up with student loan payments and deal with harsh creditor practices, such as wage garnishment. If you find that you are in a place where you cannot hope to catch up on your own, there could be options available to you.
While bankruptcy is not always able to discharge student loans, it is technically possible. You do not have to face this alone, but could find it useful to seek an explanation of the options that may be available to you.
When you accept and use a credit card, your are acknowledging your responsibility as a Tennessee consumer to pay on the debt. Also part of this agreement is the right of the creditor to seek payment of the debt. However, this does not mean that a creditor can do anything they want whenever they want in order to secure payment. There are clear guidelines around the practices that are approved for use as part of a means to collect debt. It is important that you understand your rights here as a consumer to protect yourself against unfair treatment by a creditor or other debt collector.
As explained by the Federal Trade Commission, any company wanting to contact you regarding a debt allegedly owed by you may only do so during certain times of the day per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law also governs the means by which a debt collector may contact you and where they may contact you. No debt collector can contact you at work, for example, unless you indicate that it is acceptable to do so.
Debt collectors may also not contact your employer, friends or family members other than your spouse and discuss the nature of your alleged debt with them. Contact with employers or other individuals is permitted in order to obtain details on how to contact you.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Tennessee residents a basic understanding of how the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is designed to protect them from inappropriate debt collection practices.
If you are one of the many people in Tennessee who is facing the potential end of your marriage, you may also be experiencing severe financial problems. It is not unusual for money to contribute to marital strife and even the irrevocable breakdown of a marriage. When in this situation, you may be giving consideration to filing for bankruptcy as a way of getting a fresh financial start much like filing for divorce might give you a fresh start in other aspects of life.
However, as My Horizon Today explains, you should carefully evaluate your situation to determine if it is better for you to file for bankruptcy before or after your divorce as there can be significant differences in each approach. First of all, you should know that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be completed in just a few months but if you select a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this type of plan lasts as long as five years. The nature of your debts, assets and income will direct which type of bankruptcy plan is better for you.
If you need to file a Chapter 13 plan, waiting until after your divorce may be best to avoid having to postphone your divorce by years or forcing you to amend your bankruptcy partway through. Your ability to communicate with your spouse to file a joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to file this type of plan before getting divorced but this communication will be required and, if absent, may also dictate your timing here.
If you would like to learn more about how to balance serious financial challenges and marital troubles at the same time, please feel free to visit the consumer debt relief page of our Tennessee Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy website.
Tennessee is one of several hot spot states for tourism and is also often seen as a prime retirement location. You may be one of many who own or rent a condominium somewhere in this state. Many people love condo living because it usually means someone else is responsible for major maintenance and upkeep.
Whether you own or rent your condominium, you may have noticed a rising trend impacting condo living throughout the nation; many condominium complexes are in great need of repair and maintenance but owners lack necessary funds to complete the tasks at hand. This has resulted in serious financial crises and many vacant dwellings. A key factor in overcoming financial problems, however, is knowing ahead of time what type of debt relief options are available.
Financial problems associated with condo living
You may relate to the following types of financial problems many condominium owners throughout the nation are currently experiencing:
In some communities, there is simply less money coming in than what it takes to cover operating costs at an average condominium complex.
The Washington Post cited one example where a particular condo complex carried $600,000 in estimated needed repair costs but only had $400,000 available to meet the expenses.
Administrators at another condo complex closed the swimming pool for five seasons in a row due to lack of funds to purchase chemicals, insurance or pay lifeguards.
Builders continue to construct new condominiums in Tennessee and other states; however, many older complexes sit vacant or in disrepair due to serious financial problems.
If you own or rent a condo, you're likely aware that a large portion of cash reserves needed to cover operating expenses is acquired through monthly fees. In recent years, increased fees have wrought financial strain upon many condo owners, leaving them unable to make their payments.
A fluctuating housing economy may also be a key factor to your current financial problems regarding condominium living. Although some people shy away from discussions pertaining to debt relief, there are often bankruptcy options available that may help you move toward restored financial stability and may even allow you to retain ownership of your condo.
Types of bankruptcy and where to seek support
Two of the main types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. You might consider the latter a restructuring plan as it typically involves creditors agreeing to provide reorganized payment plans while you continue to earn income and retain ownership of your assets. Chapter 7, on the other hand, involves complete liquidation of assets in order to satisfy your debts.
Many Tennessee condominium or business owners turn to attorneys well-versed in bankruptcy law to help them determine the most viable options available in their particular circumstances.
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