Archive for the ‘Can Help You’ Category

Have More Time and Energy For The People and Things You Love

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

It might sound crazy, but stress from debt steals your life. It distracts you, takes your time. Makes you work overtime or if you can’t get more work, it just makes you feel bad. In ancient times, people who could not pay all of their debs became indentured servants (something like slaves) to the creditors. Imagine if you could not pay a Citibank credit card and your punishment was that you had to work for free for Citibank for many years. With interest and other added costs, the creditors would get debtors to work for free for their entire lives. It was terrible.

In the United States, we have said NO to such a scheme. How different is it if you are killing yourself to repay Citibank (or another creditor), but working for someone else. Though the financial structure is different, practically speaking, it isn’t so different for you. At the end of the day, you are working yourself to death just to pay off a debt that wont go away. Bankruptcy breaks that cycle.

By eliminating your debt with bankruptcy, you have a fresh start. If you are unemployed, you will have an easier time finding a job because you wont have the giant weight of ‘debt’ on your mind. If you are working, you will have an easier time saving money. You will regain control of your life, of your destiny. Bankruptcy is a path to freedom.

One of the greatest joys is to spend time with your children, your spouse, your friends or even yourself doing a hobby or just relaxing. Like the gift of peace, the ability to retake control of your time is a wonderful gift that comes with bankruptcy.

Here is a list of some of the meaningful things my clients have told me they were able to do after they got rid of their overwhelming debt. These are all things my clients told me they could never do before they had the freedom granted by a well handled bankruptcy.

  1. Spend time with my children
  2. Travel
  3. Take a promotion (in fact, many companies, and government agencies will not promote people with debt. I often get clients who were told by their boss at work that if they want to get promoted, they have to file bankruptcy. It is illegal to discriminate against someone for filing bankruptcy, but it is legal to discriminate against someone for having debt.
  4. Do a hobby
  5. Relax, enjoy quiet time without the anxiety
  6. Spend time with parents and friends.
  7. Go to the movies. I have heard a could times that clients were working so much overtime that they had not seen a movie in years.
  8. Read a book
  9. Go back to school
  10. Change careers

Not only will you have more time and less debt-distraction, but because your stress level will be lower, you will be more healthy and have more energy and focus for your endeavors. Speak with any bankruptcy attorney in my office to learn more about life beyond bills.

Get Rid of a 2nd Mortgage, and Keep Your House!

Friday, August 14th, 2009

If you are a homeowner concerned about keeping up with your mortgage you should make sure to read the sections on Chapter 13 and “Saving Your Home, Even If You Are Behind On Your Mortgage“. If you have a second mortgage you need to know that there might be a way to strip (this basically means ‘eliminate’) the entire second mortgage. Many attorneys and even bankruptcy attorneys do not know how to do this. You must have a top bankruptcy attorney who understands how this works. Even if you are contemplating Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, if you have a home with a second mortgage, you owe it to yourself to consult the right attorney. Though Chapter 7 might seem better for you, for debtors with two mortgages, Chapter 13 might get you a much better result in the long run.

Stripping your second mortgage requires a separate motion with the court. A motion is the legal term for a written legal request. Different courts have different ways of describing and organizing the process of getting rid of a second mortgage. Also there are a lot of complicated steps. Not everyone can do this. The laws differ from state to state and even district to district. In short, you really need an attorney to do this right. However, the basic process is as follows:

  1. file Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  2. file a motionor other ‘request’ for a hearing with a judge
    • a.the hearing with the judge is where you will explain to the judge why she should remove the second mortgage from your house.
  3. make sure to give proper notice to the creditor
  4. attend the hearing with the judge and argue your case
  5. prepare and submit the order to be signed by the judge. The order is the judge’s demand that the second mortgage company remove its claim from your home and that the mortgage company forever goes away.

Generally speaking, you can not remove a second mortgage if your house has equity. You can only remove the second mortgage if the first mortgage is equal to or greater than the full value of the house. AND, depending on your state, your second mortgage might have to impair an exemption before it can be removed.

Through most of my website I take great care to explain things in a way that most non-lawyers could understand. With this one, I am not trying so hard. Why? Because it is not something I can encourage people to consider without help from a really good lawyer. It is really one of those cases where a little knowledge can be more dangerous than none. So, if this is interesting to you and you have a second mortgage. Contact me or another trusted bankruptcy attorney in your area.

Get Better Credit, Faster Than Without Bankruptcy

Friday, August 14th, 2009

The first thing I have to say is watch out for the bankruptcy myths out there, particularly the total lie that you will have bad credit for 10 years. This is flat out false. The truth is that Bankruptcy will not prevent you from getting a really good credit score (even above 700) in less than two years after your discharge. Some clients even get it within 12 months! Can you pay off your debs and get even a 600 credit score in the next 12 months without bankruptcy? Probably not Without bankruptcy, one or two or even five years from now you will be struggling along with your debt, missing payments and your credit will be terrible.

Yeah, but please explain, how do I get better credit faster than if I don’t file bankruptcy?
For most people who need bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy does not ruin their credit for long (if at all). After filing bankruptcy you will have the opportunity to get good credit pretty quickly. You have to compare that to how long it would take you to restore good credit without bankruptcy.

Remember, the comparison is not:
‘your imaginary perfect credit score’vs. ‘bankruptcy credit score’

The comparison is:
‘your CURRENT or PROBABLE credit score’ vs. ‘the post-bankruptcy credit score’

If you are reading this your credit is probably already almost as bad as with bankruptcy, or it soon will be. Bankruptcy will likely have almost no impact on your credit score if you have judgments and old unpaid debts.

Without bankruptcy you have to:

  • a.repay all your debts (no more late payments)
  • a.settle all your debts (usually impossible because for it to work you have to instantly come up with big lump sums, and this is just about as bad for your credit as bankruptcy anyway)
  • a.do nothing and keep struggling along.

The first solution of repaying your debts is not going to work. Otherwise you would not be reading this. Even if it does eventually work, it would take much longer than filing bankruptcy and rebuilding your credit after that. Also, you would be suffering during the repayment, possibly neglecting health care, nutritional and other basic needs.

The second solution of settling your debts is almost always a disaster. The only debt settlements that are helpful to credit are ones where you have access to a lot of cash upfront (usually borrowed or given by a family member. This is usually a terrible idea for many reasons. Also, the debt settlement and debt negotiations firms often set people up for disaster and only delay the bankruptcy. Click here to learn why debt-settlement and negotiation can be the worst of all options.

The third option is no solution at all. Bankruptcy will instantly eliminate your debt and get you a fresh start to recovering good credit.

Credit Scores Are Complex
Of course whether you get good credit depends on your earning pattern, your spending pattern and how good you are at paying bills on time. However, bankruptcy will not keep your score done low enough or long enough to wreck your future.

Credit scores are complex. The credit bureaus keep them complex so that people can not ‘trick’ the system and get good credit scores that they don’t deserve. Still, there are some fundamental things we know go into a credit score.

  • Debt to income ratio (how much debt do you have relative to your income?)
  • Outstanding debt
  • Payment history

Debt to income ration and amount of outstanding debt are instantly improved with bankruptcy. Payment history might appear worse, but as I said before, if you are reading this, your payment history is shot anyway.

This is the untold truth. Bankruptcy has almost no negative impact and usually has a positive impact on peoples credit scored if you look at a longer term picture (at least one to two years).

Special Note From Attorney David Waltzer.
Thank you for visiting my site. There is so much confusing information out there, particularly about this issue. I want to remind the reader that when it is best for our client, my firm does EVERY KIND OF DEBT SOLUTION (debt negotiation, debt advisement, etc). Like everyone else in the industry, we make more money with a debt-negotiation or debt-settlement case than with a bankruptcy case. The difference is that we don’t advise our clients to do what makes us the most money. We advise our clients to do what is BEST FOR THE CLIENTS. The truth is that if you qualify, bankruptcy is usually better for your bank account, better for your credit score, better for your family, and better for your life. Don’t believe the ‘scare-tactics’ out there.

Save Your Home, Even If You Are Behind With Mortgage

Friday, August 14th, 2009

For Homeowners, this is really big. Bankruptcy law allows you to stop all collection activities, even foreclosure, instantly. However, whether or not you get to keep your house ultimately depends on whether you can pay the mortgage. If you can get a loan modification that is great. So long as you are able to satisfy whatever agreement you have with your mortgage lender, you can keep the home. However, sometimes people get behind on the payments and that is when they need a bankruptcy attorney.

With Chapter 13 bankruptcy you can:

  1. repay your mortgage arrears over a three to five year period.
  2. sometimes eliminate your second mortgage all together!*ask an attorney
  3. save your house and buy time to get caught up or sell the house
  4. save a lot of money on interest, fees, and penalties
  5. have the bankruptcy court protect you while you do your repayments.

With Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 you can always protect some equity in your house. How much equity depends on a lot of factors. Some factors include:
Which state you file bankruptcy
Who is on Title
Who files bankruptcy
Where you live
The exemptions that apply.

It would be useless and irresponsible of me to try to explain all the nuances of this analysis in an essay. To really be sure of your options, you should speak with a bankruptcy attorney. Our attorneys offer free consultations in New York, New Jersey and many other states.

For your information, here is information about the homestead exemptions in states where our attorneys practice.

The homestead exemptions are the laws that dictate how much equity you can have in your house when you file bankruptcy. Again, it is very important that you consult with an expert bankruptcy lawyer to know exactly how the protections apply to you.

New York Bankruptcy Law (it is the same whether you file bankruptcy in New York City or file Bankruptcy in Westchester or Rockland or upstate New York)
New York Homestead Exemption: $50,000 per debtor on title to the property

New Jersey Bankruptcy Law
New Jersey Homestead Exemption: $20,200 per debtor on title to the property (Federal Plan)

California Bankruptcy Law:
California Homestead Exemption: Too complicated to explain responsibly on a website (there are several different schemes)

Stop Garnishments and Bank Freezes Instantly

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Sadly, in my New York bankruptcy practice, the trend is that people call me AFTER they are already garnished or have a bank freeze. For some reason in my New Jersey bankruptcy office I get more people with bank freezes. They too often call me a little too late.

The good news is that usually even after a garnishment or bank freeze has started, filing bankruptcy can stop it and save your money. It is important to have a really good and caring bankruptcy lawyer. You want a bankruptcy lawyer who takes all of his or her calls. Otherwise, your case can get put to the side and you can lose even more money from the creditor actions. Our bankruptcy law office rushes these kinds of cases. We want to save as much money for our clients as possible. Sometimes, a person comes into my office with a garnishment and his case is filed one hour later! In our California bankruptcy law office this happens all the time.

Garnishment is a very common collection tactic. Garnishment can only happen after a creditor has sued you for debts owed and won and obtained a judgment. The creditor takes the judgment to the local sheriff and requests a wage garnishment. Then the sheriff sends notice to your employer.

At this stage there is nothing other than bankruptcy or negotiating with the creditor that can stop the garnishment.

Bank Freeze (called a levy) is similar. After the creditor gets a judgment against you, the creditor has the sheriff freeze your bank account. They usually wait until there is some money there. It is so sad when creditors get someone’s hard-earned pay, and leave people unable to pay rent and other bills. Again, the only way to ‘unfreeze’ the account is to file bankruptcy or settle with the creditor.

It is very helpful to your case to get started before the creditors get this far. Still, even if you don’t, bankruptcy stops these creditor actions in their tracks, instantly.

If you have questions about your risks of being garnished or having a bank levy, feel free to call me anytime. Waltzer Law Group bankruptcy attorneys are always happy to help. We even have locations and affiliates throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania, California and other states!

Stop Calls and Creditor Harassment

Friday, August 14th, 2009

This might be the number one thing that drives people to bankruptcy. As an attorney who has been practicing bankruptcy in New York and New Jersey for many years, I can say that without a doubt the first big relief clients have when they hire me is the end of the calls.

How stupid are credit card companies?

Most people who come into my office don’t want bankruptcy. Even when it is really their only option, they don’t see it until the calls ruin their life. Most of my clients want to keep paying creditors, even if it is a small amount, they prefer to keep paying. But that is not good enough for predatory creditors. The Creditors and collection agents are totally out of control. Creditor calls at work, creditors calling peoples homes at night, creditors making threats and saying cruel things. You know what I write about. It is shameful. A recent client who came to my New Jersey bankruptcy office told me that a creditor called her neighbor. It is just outrageous.

One thing most people don’t know (because it is not a service offered by every bankruptcy attorney) is that you can stop the calls BEFORE filing bankruptcy. I always stop the calls for my clients that need time to pay bankruptcy fees on a payment plan or do some bankruptcy planning.

The reason bankruptcy stops all collection action is because of a thing called the ‘automatic stay‘. The automatic stay is a law that says all collection activities must stop the second a bankruptcy is filed. That includes stopping foreclosure, stopping repossessions, stopping garnishments, unfreezing bank accounts and more.

There is another law that protects us from creditors. It is called the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. (abbreviated FDCPA). This law usually applies to secondary creditors (collection agents and the like). It states that once given notice that you have an bankruptcy attorney/bankruptcy lawyer, they can ONLY contact you through that lawyer. If they keep harassing you, you can sue them for violation of the FDCPA. You can collect damages AND attorneys fees.

At my firm we take great pride in offering excellent protection to our clients the minute they hire us, even if they cant file bankruptcy right away.

Peace and Health From Removal Of The Stress of Debt

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Peace of Mind and Health From Removal Of The Stress Of Debt

In the next subchapter, I will discuss the stress of collection activities. However, right now I want you to consider, even if there were no creditor calls, no collection letters, no wage garnishments or other creditor yuck, how does it feel to have debt? It is a great silent weight. It can weigh down your dreams; it can keep you up at night; it can steel your energy and cheer.

Debt is not just a nuisance or aggravation; debt kills.

Virtually every report on stress indicates that money and debt are top causes of stress and stress related illness. Debt is also cited as a major cause of divorce. (link to: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25060719/).

Tough economic times and rising costs of living seem to be leading to increasing debt stress, 14 percent higher this year than in 2004, according to an index tied to the AP-AOL survey.

Among the people reporting high debt stress in the new poll:

  1. 27 percent had ulcers or digestive tract problems, compared with 8 percent of those with low levels of debt stress.
  2. 44 percent had migraines or other headaches, compared with 15 percent.
  3. 29 percent suffered severe anxiety, compared with 4 percent.
  4. 23 percent had severe depression, compared with 4 percent.
  5. 6 percent reported heart attacks, double the rate for those with low debt stress.
  6. More than half, 51 percent, had muscle tension, including pain in the lower back. That compared with 31 percent of those with low levels of debt stress.

Now imagine for a moment that there is no debt. You don’t have to make credit card minimums. You can plan savings for yourself or your children. You can save money and go to school. You can be at peace. It could save your life.

Above all else, this peace is what bankruptcy can provide. Now, bankruptcy alone will not achieve it. You will have to improve your budgeting, possibly change your spending habits, do some ‘cleaning-up’ of how you deal with and how you think about money.

“Even if you are fiscally conservative and your attitudes about money are caution and frugality, the problem is that life changes around you. The way money works, the way creditors work is not static; it changes. As creditors don’t play by the old codes, to survive you might have to rethink some of your long-held attitudes.”)

Peace. That is the greatest benefit of bankruptcy. Freedom to move on and let go. That is the gift of the wise lawmakers in the United States Congress who in creating the bankruptcy laws were telling you: “It is ok, let it go. You tried hard and you deserve a fresh start. We will protect you from the old creditors, so that you have a chance to start fresh and be happy and productive”. Remember, these are not a bunch of hippies. These are Americas most successful and often fiscally conservative people; the members of the Senate and Assembly of the United States of America! Whatever your thoughts and attitudes about bankruptcy, if bankruptcy can help you it is a tool you can not ignore.