Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is one of the best moves you can make if you are filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process, have done plenty of research on the topic, and have dealt with the court system for years.
When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to keep the following in mind:
Make sure you hire an expert – It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. You should find out what percentage of a lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy and how many cases he has filed. It is best to avoid a “jack of all trades” type of lawyer.
You’ll get what you pay for – Of course you are already tight on money if you are filing for bankruptcy however it is important to keep the saying in mind: “You get what you pay for”. Don’t go with the least expensive lawyer because you may end up having to pay more money in the long run.
Make sure you will get detailed attention – Many law firms will run their clients through a bankruptcy mill resulting in lousy legal work, unhappy clients and wary judges and trustees. In order to spot a mill, check with your local bar association for recommendations on attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Most mills will not be on top of the networking which is a normal characteristic of a local bar association.
Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer – Picking a lawyer you are comfortable with is most important. If you don’t have a good feel about the attorney, find another one. Filing bankruptcy is an emotional roller coaster and you want to feel right about what your lawyer is doing for you.
It is easy to get caught up in debt and before you know it you are struggling to make ends meet while barely making your minimum payments.
Sometimes bankruptcyis the right solution for people to pay back their debts. Here are some tips on recovering from bankruptcy:
In most cases, one will get into so much credit card debt that it is impossible to repay the principle and interest in a timely manner and their only solution is to declare bankruptcy.
In order to survive bankruptcyand get back on track, you must admit your mistake and maintain a positive attitude.
Take a look at your financial problems especially your spending habits and lifestyle. Ask yourself what you absolutely need in life and what is more of a luxury. If you have declared bankruptcy, chances are your monthly expenses are higher than your income.
You may have a credit card spending habit that needs to get under control or maybe you have too many loans out on “toys” that you don’t need. Keep in mind once you get back on your feet you must think twice about getting a loan out for that boat or RV that you may not necessarily need.
Look into a debt consolidation company or program to help you make a plan to tackle your debt. Many services and programs will help debtors consolidate and clear their debts in an effective and fast manner.
If you have questions or are considering filing for bankruptcy, please call the experts at our office at 951-461-2500.
We encourage those on the fence about bankruptcy to call our offices. We offer free consultations and would be happy to help you in determining if bankruptcyis right for you.
The following are examples of when bankruptcy may be the right solution for you:
Loss Of A Job – Most people work hard to get a good, high paying job and in a lot of cases, along with a high paying job come higher living expenses. When there is a lay off or even restructuring at a place of employment, that loss of income can force people into bankruptcy.
Medical Bills – Many bankruptcies are a result of high medical bills. Rare or serious diseases or injuries can easily result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills – bills that can quickly wipe out savings and retirement accounts, college education funds and home equity.
Divorce – When someone gets a divorce, an income which was once used to cover one household now must be stretched out to cover two households. Many people file bankruptcyafter divorce, in an attempt to clean up the mess that the divorce left in their financial life.
Avoid Draining Retirement Funds – In most cases, retirement accounts are protected in bankruptcy. When someone is considering draining retirement accounts to pay for debts, they need to consider the consequences and whether a bankruptcy would better serve their long term goals. Those people who are at or near retirement and need retirement funds to meet their basic living expenses especially need to consider this option.
Back Taxes Are Owed – Not all taxes are able to be discharged however some can be wiped out. Even when tax debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, wiping out other debt can make a payment plan to the IRS or state government possible.
Whether you have experienced a bankruptcy or have gone through credit counseling, you may still be able to buy a home.
Building your credit takes time and requires an ongoing effort from you. Once you have overcame a bankruptcy, it is now time to build up your credit so you are able to apply for loans, such as a home loan. Follow these tips to building your credit:
Always pay your bills on time. Late payments have a majorly negative impact on your credit score. If you have past due bills, get them current and keep them that way.
If you know you will have a problem paying a bill on time, call your creditor to work out a payment arrangement so you do not go late on your payments.
Keep your debts low. High debt to credit limit ratios drive your credit score down. Pay off your debt, don’t just move it around.
Don’t close unused accounts. A zero balance may help your score.
Don’t open new accounts you don’t need. This can lower your score.
If you open new accounts within a short amount of time, this can be a red flag. Avoid opening up new accounts especially if your credit is less than three years.
Avoid multiple creditinquiries within a short amount of time. If multiple inquiries are necessary – such as if you are shopping for a new car or home loan – have them pull the inquiries as close together as possible.
Monitor your credit. Checking your own credit does not affect your score plus you will know if anything suspicious or bogus appears on your credit history.
If you have had creditproblems in the past, you may want to open a new account and keep it paid on time and not maxed out.
If you manage them correctly, a mixture of credit cards and installment loans can help raise your credit score. However, multiple installment loans can lower your score since payments remain the same until balances are paid in full.
This is the time of year when credit cards start racking up.
With the holidays, many of us use our credit cards freely and when we get the bill, the fun of the holidays withers away.
It is important to get control of your debt. Here are some helpful tips to paying off your debt:
This may seem obvious, but make more than the minimum payment. When only making the minimum, you are pretty much just paying the interest and barely digging into paying off the debt on your card.
Negotiate with your credit card company and ask if there is anything they can do to help. Some credit card companies may lower your interest rate for a period of time or waive any late fees you’ve accumulated to help you catch up.
Create a payment plan and put in it writing. This creates a plan to pay off your credit card debt altogether. Tackle higher interest rate cards first. Work on paying off your smallest debt first then once that is paid off, add the monthly amount you would have paid to that card to your next lowest credit card debt. Repeat this until your debts are cleared.
Shop around for long-term, low or no percent interest rate transfer opportunities. Make sure you know how long the low interest rate will last. Also find out if there is a transfer fee and what the interest rate will be when the introductory rate runs out. Make sure to read all the fine print, put in on paper and see what your best solution will be.
Cut back on small luxuries such as morning Starbucks runs. Pack your lunch and avoid purchasing books, DVD’s and CD’s. Borrow them or go to the library. Instead of going out to dinner with friends, invite them over for a potluck at your house.
Save some money away for emergencies. Most of us will put something on our credit card for emergencies or unexpected expenses we run across. If you put away some cash for that, you avoid racking up more debt.
Keep a budget and track it. Make notes of what you spent overtime and what it was for. Adding up expenses like “eating out” will help you make better decisions about spending money on that dinner out.
Are you overwhelmed with your credit card debt? Call Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston at 951-461-2500.
Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston understands the importance of having good credit. When you go through a bankruptcy, your credit is negatively affected.
We would like to share some tips on how you can improve your credit:
Be aware of what your credit report says. It is a good idea to check it regularly and make sure there are no errors on it. Make sure there are not late payments listed incorrectly and the amount you owe for each open account is correct. Dispute any errors of your report with the credit bureaus.
Setup payment reminders to make sure you pay your bills on time. You may also want to consider enrolling in an automatic payment service through your bank or creditors. Keep in mind that this only makes the minimum payment but will at least ensure it is paid on time.
Reduce our debt. Stop using your credit card and determine how much you owe to each creditor. Come up with a payment plan that will put most of your available budget for debt payments towards the highest interest rate cards first.
If your bills are only just a few days late, this can have a majorly negative impact on your FICO score. Make sure all your bills are paid on time.
Get current on payments if you have missed some. The impact of your past credit problems will fade as time goes on with good payment patterns that show up on your credit report.
Paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report.
Contact your creditors if you are having a hard time making ends meet. This won’t make an instant improvement to your credit however you will begin to manage your credit and pay on time, causing your score to increase over time.
Bankruptcy can be prevented. Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share some ways you can prevent bankruptcy and prevent your credit from being affected.
Set up a budget – Get your financial house in order by being disciplined and budgeting carefully. This is the biggest step in gaining control of your finances.
Sell your assets – if you have assets that you would have lost in a bankruptcy, consider selling your stuff to pay off your debts. If that doesn’t give you enough money to pay your debts, it will at least lower your debt load.
Increase your income – if you are making the bare minimum to pay off your debt, try getting an extra job or working overtime to pay off your debt faster. You’d be surprised at how some of the hobbies you like can actually bring in a little extra money.
Restructure your mortgage – By restructuring your home mortgage, you may be able to free up some cash. Call your mortgage lender to find out if you qualify.
Ask your creditors to help – Your creditors would rather get some money than none at all. Let them know you are having financial difficulty and you want to avoid bankruptcy. Ask if they can help ease the burden by lowering your monthly payment and/or decreasing your interest rate.
Get help from family and friends – Take time to calculate how much money you’ll need to avoid bankruptcythen ask your friends and family to help you make up the difference. Before you approach them, make a plan for how you will repay them.
Debt settlement – This should be avoided however if you have to choose between settling a few debts or filing for bankruptcy, choose settling the debts. However, make sure you do it the right way. Focus on the debts which have been charged off or sent to collections first and be ready to pay as soon as an agreement has been made.