A virtual bankruptcy lawyer can communicate with you through emails and by the phone, and send any necessary documents for you to read or sign through email, fax, or regular mail. There are so many options with today’s technology that anything you and your bankruptcy lawyer need to do with each other, you don’t ever have to meet face to face to do it.
Because virtual lawyers don’t have the expensive corporate offices and fancy conference rooms that traditional law firms do, they are able to keep their overhead costs and expenses at an all-time low. Because of this, they can offer their clients the same expertise, professionalism and skill that any other lawyer can but at a much reduced price – something especially important when you’re filing for bankruptcy.
So can a virtual bankruptcy lawyer help you file for bankruptcy, and will they be an effective lawyer? Yes! There’s no reason to think that just because your lawyer is working out of their home office rather than their corner office that they’re any less capable of handling your bankruptcy case than any other lawyer.
But, it’s also important that you research any virtual bankruptcy lawyer as extensively as you’re researching other lawyers you may be considering. Because just like with any other lawyer, a virtual bankruptcy lawyer may be who’s right for you, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Of course, virtual bankruptcy lawyers can be found virtually – online. But what if you want to speak to other lawyers as well? (And you really should!) Where do you start looking for a good bankruptcy lawyer? We say... you've already found one!
Both cases may be true, it depends on your situation before you file, what kind of bankruptcy you file, and how you handle your finances after your claim.
Whether or not bankruptcy actually solves all your problems, it’s a very serious thing, and something that should not be entered into lightly. While there are some advantages to claiming bankruptcy, there are also many disadvantages and if you do it at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, it could be even more serious.
Before you consider filing for bankruptcy, it’s extremely important that you examine all of your alternatives carefully, and that you choose the right person to help you file. This will be your bankruptcy lawyer.
A good bankruptcy lawyer will make sure that your bankruptcy claim is filed and handled in a timely manner and that the agreed upon terms after you file will serve your best interest. But there are a lot of bankruptcy lawyers out there, and some are definitely better than others for your particular situation.
So how do you go about choosing a bankruptcy lawyer, or even filing for bankruptcy in the first place? You start by fully understanding what bankruptcy is and how it will affect you, what your alternatives are, and a lot of research on different bankruptcy lawyers that can help you with all of the above! Check out our blog about What happens when you file for Bankruptcy!
CFPB filed suit against Freedom Debt Relief, LLC (“Freedom”)
On November 8, 2017, the CFPB filed suit against Freedom Debt Relief, LLC (“Freedom”) and Andrew Housser, the co-founder and co-CEO of Freedom. Freedom works with consumers and negotiates with consumers’ creditors to persuade these Creditors to accept less than what is actually owed. When a debt settles, Freedom charges the consumer between 18 and 25 percent of the amount of debt owed when Freedom’s services were solicited.
According to the CFPB, Freedom misled and deceived consumers by telling them that all creditors would negotiate with Freedom, when in reality, many creditors refuse to negotiate with debt settlement companies. In these situations, Freedom “coached” consumers instead of dealing with creditors directly, yet Freedom did not make clear that consumers may need to handle some negotiations themselves. Freedom also deceived by charging its fee to the consumer, even when a creditor simply stopped collections without a settlement, or when consumers negotiated their own settlements. Finally, Freedom also failed to clearly disclose consumers’ rights to their own account funds after they withdrew from Freedom’s program.
As for Andrew Housser, the CFPB alleges that Housser had the authority and responsibility to approve Freedom’s policies and practices, yet he allowed these illegal practices to continue. Thus, the CFPB alleges that Housser has violated the Dodd-Frank Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
To read the Complaint in full, visit http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/ cfpb_freedomdebt-relief-llc_complaint_112017.pdf
Originally Published on January 24, 2018 www.uscourts.gov
Bankruptcy filings in the 12-month period ending December 31,2017, fell just 0.7 percent, compared with bankruptcy cases filed in calendar year 2016. According to newly released data, 789,020 cases were filed in 2017, compared with 794,960 in the previous year.
The percentage decline is the smallest for a 12-month period since bankruptcy filings reached a peak in 201 O.The number of bankruptcy filings is the lowest for any calendar year since 2006, and the seventh consecutive calendar year that filings have fallen.
Bankruptcy protection is a legal declaration by an individual or a company that declares they are unable to repay their debts. This is more than just simply filing a form and being forgiven of all debts though. After a person declares bankruptcy they will need to meet with a judge to determine if they will create a repayment schedule to debtors or be forgiven of most or all debts. A business may file for bankruptcy that forgives them of all of the business’ debts but in this case, the business would have to close. Should a business choose to file for a bankruptcy in which they would create a repayment plan, the business would be able to remain open.
The different types of bankruptcy are known as chapters. These chapters refer to the Chapter in the book, U.S. Bankruptcy Code & Rules. The chapters in these books outline the different eligibility requirements and options available for each different type of bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy filed, and it’s available for individuals, married couples, or businesses. This type of bankruptcy clears all or most outstanding debts. When individuals file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s important to understand that this type of bankruptcy will not forgive federal loans, such as student loans. It’s also important to understand that while Chapter 7 is also the most common form of bankruptcy for businesses to file, it also means that the business will need to close down.
In order to be able to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person generally must be able to prove that they have insufficient income to repay their debts. All of their assets will also be liquidated in order to help pay off the outstanding amounts. A primary car or a house will not be liquidated, unless the property currently has loans attached to it that the individual cannot pay. Once bankruptcy has been filed and assets have been liquidated, the person will be forgiven of most debts and will no longer be responsible for them.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another type of bankruptcy people can file, although this type I is much less common. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for individuals or married couples that have a large deal of property or a great amount of assets that don’t want to lose but yet, also can’t pay the outstanding amounts on the loans. With this type of bankruptcy, those filing would meet with a judge that would restructure a new payment plan for them. This plan would outline reasonable payments that can be made and when they are to be made. If these new payments are not made, those assets will then be at risk of being seized.
When you’re in very hard financial times and you don’t see a way out, bankruptcy can seem like a very attractive option because it does clear you of most of your debts, such as large credit card debts. And while many people refer to as being given a “clean slate,” this isn’t necessarily true. While you’ll be cleared with certain creditors, the fact that you filed for bankruptcy will stay with you for a very long time. This is because filing for bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years and is one of the biggest risks lenders consider when deciding on whether to approve you for a home, car, or any other type of loan. Filing for bankruptcy could make all of these things very difficult for 10 years or more.
The short answer is Yes.
The first thing you should do before filing for bankruptcy is contact all the people you owe money to and see if there is a way that you can work out a repayment schedule. You might be surprised how cooperative creditors might be if you call and show interest in paying back the debt. You can also mention that you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy if you can’t find a way to pay back your debts. This often makes creditors much more willing to work with you because they know that if your bankruptcy is granted, they’ll never have their money paid back to them.
If you don’t feel comfortable contacting and negotiating with creditors yourself, you can hire a non-profit credit counseling service to do this for you. This service will contact everyone for you, and they’ll also work with you to help you repay your debts. While they may not offer a loan to help you pay them off, they will help you create a plan that works for you and is reasonable and that will help you repay your debts in a timely manner. These professionals can also give you inside tips on how creditors, banks, bankruptcy, and loans work so you can have a better idea of which options are best for you.
After you call your creditors you might then want to consider calling a lender for a debt consolidation loan. These loans are available from banks or private debt consolidation lenders. With this type of loan, the lender will consolidate all of your debts into one amount. They will then pay back all of your creditors and you will have a loan outstanding with them to pay back the full amount paid. Debt consolidation loans can often come with reasonable and affordable repayment plans and can be a great alternative to bankruptcy. It’s important to know that these loans come with interest rates attached and they vary greatly from lender to lender.
Using a credit counseling or debt counseling program is often compared to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, because it allows you to create a repayment plan to repay your debts. However, using a credit counseling program doesn’t affect your credit negatively in the same way that filing a Chapter 13 does. However with a Chapter 13, creditors are very limited in the collections actions they can take should you miss a payment. When using a debt counseling program, creditors can start collections actions as soon as you miss one payment, putting you right back where you started. Also, if you use a debt counseling or credit counseling program, you’ll be required to pay back the full amount of your outstanding debt. Often if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the amount you’ll need to repay is a much smaller amount than what is actually outstanding.
Surprisingly, one of the best things to do when you’re facing extreme financial difficulty is to do nothing. That debt will eventually be written off by creditors, and it will eventually be wiped from your credit history – although this is likely to take as long as having a bankruptcy claim on your report will.
By the time most people are at the point of considering bankruptcy, they have no assets left to lose. It’s very easy for creditors to find out that someone has no assets and so, they’ll see that litigation against you is not worth it simply because they have nothing to gain by suing you. Doing nothing will take a very long time in itself and like bankruptcy, should only be considered as a last resort.
It’s bankruptcy that we’re talking about and so, money is in short supply. Because of this, when many people first start considering bankruptcy as a viable option for themselves, they often consider if they can file themselves, rather than hire a bankruptcy lawyer. This might seem like a great way to save even more money and it’s entirely possible to file yourself, there are plenty of good reasons why you shouldn’t.
Once you file for bankruptcy, you should contact your creditors and let them know that you’ve done so. After this, whether you’ve already hired a bankruptcy lawyer or not, collections agencies and other creditors may still contact you and harass you for their money. Some even up the ante at this point because they know it’s only a matter of time before you’ll no longer be legally obligated for those debts. But, if you hire a bankruptcy lawyer, you can tell them they may only contact you through your lawyer. After that, if creditors want to contact you they are only legally permitted to call your lawyer and ask your lawyer to tell you to contact them.
Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer will also give you much more information that you’d have available to you filing on your own. There are a lot of steps involved in filing for bankruptcy. You have to speak to the courts, the trustees who review your case, and your current creditors. You can research all of the steps and how to complete them on your own, but a bankruptcy lawyer will take care of all of that for you. They will let you know in plain English what you need to do and when, and that everything is on track.
More than that, bankruptcy lawyers will also be able to fill you in on things that you may not find when doing research on your own. For instance, you may want to file for bankruptcy because you have a very large debt from 15 years ago that you simply can’t pay off. While you will be able to find out how to file for bankruptcy yourself, a bankruptcy lawyer will tell you that the statute of limitations has run out on that debt, and so you’re no longer legally responsible for it anyway. Without hiring a lawyer, you would have gone bankrupt when you didn’t have to!
A bankruptcy lawyer will not only be able to tell you the things you should be doing, but also the things that you shouldn’t. If you make a mistake when filing for bankruptcy, your case could be dropped by the courts and you may be forced to start the entire process over again. Even the slightest error could cause a major delay when filing for bankruptcy. And when you’re waiting for your debts to be erased and creditors keep calling, time is of the essence! A bankruptcy lawyer will ensure that there are no mistakes when your bankruptcy claim is filed, and so it will be granted that much faster, putting you on the road to financial well-being even quicker.
Even though bankruptcy lawyers make their money from people going bankrupt, they still don’t like to see it happen to people --- I promise, we don't and were here to help! That's why we also offer consultation services when it comes to finding alternatives to bankruptcy. Many alternatives to bankruptcy are out there, and some of them might be better for you now and in the future when it comes to your finances. A bankruptcy lawyer will clearly outline all of these alternatives with you and go over them in detail to see if any of them will work for you.
Federal Judge Speaks on Misconceptions About Bankruptcy
One percent of the Mississippi population, nearly 30,000 people, has an active bankruptcy which some experts say is a high number.
Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for northern Mississippi Jason Woodard talked to Columbus Rotarians Tuesday afternoon. Judge Woodard says there are misconceptions about bankruptcy and it is often times necessary.
He says bankruptcy filings are down right now and are beginning to level off. He says many people have this misconception that those who file are financially irresponsible.
“A lot of times it’s driven by market forces, it’s driven by divorce or illness or a job loss," Judge Woodard said. "So part of what we talked about today is what bankruptcy is and why it’s necessary for some many people especially here in Mississippi, the poorest state in the union.”