Bankruptcy can actually be a fix to this problem and is something that everyone should evaluate NOW. Does it make sense to clear the deck and start fresh? Especially when that deck is stacked against most Americans who are not otherwise wealthy. Especially, for anyone who has private student loans, the decision is pretty much a no brainer — bankruptcy can result in a full discharge of many private student loans or a very low payment plan, with very low interest. Basically, a way out.
High credit card balances, underwater vehicle loans, unpaid rent — bankruptcy can easily fix this.
There are so many things that set us apart and in my opinion make us one of the best law firms in the Tampa Bay area that you can choose to file your bankruptcy. Whoever you are looking to hire to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should ask these questions:
- What kind of lawyer and staff turnover do you have? (our bankruptcy paralegal and attorney have been with us for five plus years – nearly ten in fact – it helps to speak with the same person as your case progresses, who knows you and your situation)
- Can you help me with my student loans (this is where we really stand out — we own student loans – every day, we are reducing or outright eliminating student loan debt in one form or another)
Let’s be frank. If you have more than $10,000 unsecured debt, it may be better to use any stimulus monies to discharge all of your unsecured debt by filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, rather than simply put it toward the interest that continues to accrue.
If this is your best option, there is good news. The new stimulus bill provides that this money will not be considered property of the bankruptcy, nor will it count against your income.
The most recent stimulus payments under the new stimulus bill (Consolidated Appropriation Act) are not property of the estate under temporary Code § 541(b)(11) enacted under the CCA. They are also excluded from CMI under the original CARES Act, at least until March 27, 2021. After March 27, until Dec. 27, 2021 when the CCA provisions sunset, you might argue that they are not disposable income under a separate amendment to the Internal Revenue Code enacted under the CCA (adds new 26 U.S.C. § 6428A) by providing that “no applicable payment shall be subject to, execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.”
Today the American Bar Institute (ABI) Consumer Bankruptcy Committee presented an excellent webinar about the new bankruptcy bill pending in the House. Basically, the House would eliminate the existing Chapter 7 and 13, and replace them with a new Chapter 10 under the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020.
While this is a major overhaul and expectations are low that it would pass as is, there is a good possibility that many of the points within may be included in various stimulus bills and are important to note for the future. I am not expressing an opinion for or against any of these items. I’ve included a short summary below:
The first goal was to streamline the process and make it cheaper:
As the owner of a small bankruptcy law practice in Tampa, Florida, we were often thought of as the epicenter of the great recession and foreclosure crisis back in 2008-2012.
One thing that always made a big impression on me, was the number of people who genuinely believed and tried their very best to catch up with their bills once they became re-employed. These were folks who unfortunately had to run up their credit cards when not working, only to encounter high interest rates and an inability to catch up and actually pay down the balance even after they got a good paying job. Then I had to tell them that they could no longer file a Chapter 7 – the full bankruptcy. Instead, they were limited to filing a Chapter 13 – and partially or even worse, fully repaying the debt. Now this doesn’t always happen, but if you’re making 80k, are single and filing bankruptcy, it could. And often did.
Don’t be this person. Consult a bankruptcy attorney if you’ve had to run up your credit cards or incur a pile of debt whether medical expenses, unpaid rent, etc.
Are you being charged a huge sum to catch up even after the bankruptcy is over? A mortgage servicer is required by federal law to perform an annual escrow analysis on all loans for which it manages an escrow account. But do they always do this?
Are you suffering not only from payment shock, but also negative credit reporting for these alleged deficiencies?