Legislators Propose Bills To Protect Struggling Floridians From Harassment By Creditors
The constant need to hustle for money has become so widespread in our society that many of us hardly notice it anymore and could not imagine what life would be like without it. What we do notice is the incessant barrage of bills. Every time we blink, we find that, by the time we open our eyes, a new notification has reached our smartphones, telling us that another installment payment is due on our buy now pay later (BNPL) purchases or that we have incurred a late fee on our credit card account. If one debt would just take a break so that we could concentrate on paying down a different one, this relief would be most welcome. Lawmakers in Florida are proposing bills that would grant temporary or permanent relief to debtors for certain debts incurred due to circumstances outside the debtor’s control. For help getting relief from your debts, contact a Boca Raton debt lawyer.
A Head Start on Debt Repayment Before the Bill Collectors Start Chasing You?
The proposed legislation would protect debtors from efforts by creditors to collect debts that the debtor incurred because he or she was a victim of any of the following crimes or circumstances:
- Human trafficking
- Elder abuse
- Identity theft
- Foster care
For example, if a victim of human trafficking took out a payday loan, auto title loan, or other easily obtained loan and used the money to escape his captors, he would be eligible for debt relief. Likewise, if an elderly person took out her home equity line of credit only because her nephew, the only person with whom she was in daily contact, pressured her to do it, she would also be eligible.
Debtors who incurred their debts under the aforementioned adverse circumstances can obtain two years of relief from creditor harassment if they submit an affidavit (a written statement that counts as sworn testimony) to the court, in which they document the abuse or adverse circumstance that led the borrower to take on the debt. If the parties named in the affidavit get convicted of identity theft, elder abuse, or human trafficking, then the relief becomes permanent, and the borrower is no longer responsible for paying the debt.
In the case of elder abuse, the victim may not be healthy enough to write an affidavit on his or her own behalf. In this case, someone with a fiduciary duty may write an affidavit on behalf of the victim. That person could be an elder law attorney, a court-appointed guardian, or a family member with whom the victim had signed a power of attorney.
This proposed legislation has yet to become official policy. If you are struggling with debts related to identity theft or financial abuse, you still have options for debt relief, such as debt settlement or filing for bankruptcy protection.
Work With a Debt Lawyer to Get Rid of Debts That Aren’t Your Fault
A South Florida debt lawyer can help you exercise your right to the debt relief that is available to you. Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss your case.