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March 2017 Archives

Many Florida residents with medical debt are middle class

While many people assume that individuals with medical debt are poor or don't have insurance, the reality is that increasing numbers of people who owe doctors and hospitals money are in the middle class. While many people do not get needed medical care because they are uninsured or under-insured, individuals still frequently go to hospitals to obtain care and do not or are not able to pay.

Chapter 13 plans that allocate income for retirement

When Florida residents file Chapter 13 bankruptcies, they enter into repayment plans that last between three and five years. This type of debt relief allows individuals or married couples to retain their assets, but most of their disposable income must be applied to their outstanding debts. Chapter 13 payment proposals are reviewed and confirmed by bankruptcy judges, and they sometimes take issue with plans even when no objections have been raised by the creditors involved.

Conquering the feelings of shame over bankruptcy

If you struggled each month to pay your bills and often postponed one or more payments until your next paycheck, you didn't need anyone to tell you that you were in financial trouble. In fact, you may have lived in fear that today would be the day it all fell apart. Then one day, the car broke down, someone in the family got sick or the refrigerator stopped working, and the delicate house of cards you had built to keep your creditors at bay may have come crashing down around you.

What happens to debt when a person dies

Some Florida residents who are struggling with debt might wonder what would happen if they died while still owing money. This is the case for most people. On average, according to the credit bureau Experian, the average debt without including home mortgages is $12,875. Including mortgage debt, the average is $61,544. While debt generally does not pass to a person's heirs, there are other ways in which the debt can affect them.

Foreclosure trustee not bound by FDCPA

Florida residents considering filing for bankruptcy may be interested in learning about a recent ruling the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down. A foreclosure trustee and others were sued by a borrower who asserted that recording a notice of default and other documents required by law was a violation of the FDCPA, or Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, because it misrepresented the amount she owed on the mortgage loan. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the ruling the district court made that granted the trustee's petition to dismiss the suit.

Court rules incarcerated man's income too low for Chapter 13

Incarcerated people in Florida who are in debt might be interested in learning that a felon in jail in Illinois was not permitted to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy because his income was insufficient to work out a payment plan. However, the man still had the option of filing for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 permits individuals to keep some of their assets and work out a payment plan over a period of three to five years.

I cannot pay my student loans. Can bankruptcy help?

Millions of Americans pay significant amounts of money to invest in their education in the form of student loans. After graduation, many of these individuals find that they are not able to make payments and keep up with the exorbitant amount of debt that they accumulated over their years in college. For many graduates, post-college life is dominated by debt.

Debt is growing once again

As Florida residents and Americans in general are feeling hopeful about the economy again after the Great Recession of a few years ago, they're starting to rack up significant amounts of debt again. While the job market is fairly strong right now, there's nothing that guarantees that there won't be another economic downturn in the future. This is concerning since people have more debt than at any time since the last recession.

The effect of collection accounts on credit reports

It is not uncommon for lenders in Florida to sell a person's debt or allow a collection agency to pursue a debt on the lender's behalf. When debt is sold to a collection agency, the agency will often report this to credit bureaus so that the debt appears on a person's credit report under the agency's name.

Form rule for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Florida residents who are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to resolve their debts may be interested to know about a new bankruptcy rule. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois has added Rule 3015.1 to bankruptcy procedure. Beginning December 2017, districts will be required to use a national form for Chapter 13 plans unless they already have a process that adheres to the requirements of the new rule.

Phantom debt scams in Florida

When people receive a call saying that they owe money to a creditor or the IRS, they may want to verify that they owe the money before making a payment. Called phantom debt scams, fraudsters will call people and state that they owe money to the government or an organization. Fraudsters will often be very aggressive and threaten legal action or damage to a person's credit report.

Keeping a home while filing for bankruptcy

Florida residents who are applying for bankruptcy may be able to keep their homes. Bankruptcy allows exemptions for some property. However, keeping the home will depend upon several factors. One of those is whether an individual files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The latter allows more exemptions.

Struggling with medical debt

About a quarter of the working-age adults in Florida and around the country struggled with past-due medical bills in 2015 according to a study published on March 1 by the Urban Institute. The Washington, D.C., think tank says that younger Americans and those who earn less than $35,000 per year are more likely to be in this situation, and these findings echo research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation that suggest about 20 percent of Americans face unmanageable medical debt.

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