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Steps To Take Before, During, and After a Bankruptcy To Reduce The Impact On Your Credit

Posted on Friday, April 17th, 2015 at 4:42 pm    

credit-scoreMany people wonder how they can protect their credit during a bankruptcy. There are actually several steps you can take before, during, and after a bankruptcy to help reduce the bankruptcy’s impact on your credit to the greatest extent possible. The Fort Mitchell, Kentucky offices of Lawrence & Associates can help you find ways to mitigate credit damage based on your particular circumstances. In the meantime, here are some tips:

Tips Before Bankruptcy

A Fort Mitchell, Kentucky resident with credit card accounts that have zero balances should stop using them immediately! If the balance is less than six hundred dollars, paying it off may be a good idea before the bankruptcy. However, you should never pay more than $600 toward your debts prior to bankruptcy, and you should always consult with an attorney before doing so. Many credit card companies will keep a person’s account open during bankruptcy if the card has a $0 balance when the bankruptcy is filed. If the account remains open until after the bankruptcy, then that card can be used to rebuild credit.

Tips During Bankruptcy

A Northern Kentucky resident can help to improve credit as well. Reaffirming on a loan or lease for a car will help to improve your credit rating. Future car payments will also help boost your credit score. It is not wise to reaffirm on a vehicle if the payments are beyond your ability to pay, but with a careful budget in place payments toward a mortgage or a car loan will continually improve your credit score. A good Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy attorney will prepare a budget that allows for such payments.

Tips After Bankruptcy

In Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, almost everyone that exits a bankruptcy gets credit card solicitations immediately. If the solicitation comes from a legitimate and well known credit card company, they might help you improve your credit. You’ll need to make sure that the company reports the credit line to the credit bureaus, so the payments on the card will help your credit. If you do accept such a credit card, be sure to charge only minimal amounts to it such as gas or groceries. Most importantly, ALWAYS pay the card off at the end of the month to avoid interest taking a big bite out of your budget. Finally, be sure to always pay all loan or credit card payments on time, as timeliness is important to your credit rating.

Unfortunately, our office does not provide additional services for rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy, although we can help you file bankruptcy or preserve your credit rating before filing bankruptcy. If you’d like more advice on filing bankruptcy or maintaining or preparing to preserve credit during bankruptcy, call Lawrence & Associates at our Fort Mitchell, Kentucky or Warsaw, Kentucky today!

If you are overwhelmed by mounting debt and tired or receiving harassing phone calls from creditors, contact Lawrence & Associates today. We can help you obtain that fresh start that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Illness and Overwhelming Medical Bills Send Many into Bankruptcy

Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 3:53 pm    

chapter 7 bankruptcyAccording to a 2007 study, 62.1% of all bankruptcies have a medical cause and the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 50% between 2001 and 2007. [1] Moreover, a recent article in Forbes highlighted one woman’s story of illness and mounting debt and stated that overwhelming medical bills cause 17-62% of all bankruptcy declarations. [2]

Stephanie Casey Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

The woman featured in the Forbes article, 30-year-old Stephanie Casey, discusses her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis and the skyrocketing medical bills and debt associated with the diagnosis. Before the diagnosis, Mrs. Casey and her family were in an ideal situation- they had health insurance, IRA accounts, a sizeable emergency fund, were saving for a home, and no debt. However, the medication for MS rose from $2,800.00 to $3,600.00 per month and even with health insurance, Mrs. Casey was responsible for $250.00 per month. That’s over $3000.00 a year spent just on injections to help slow the progression of MS!

The High Cost of Healthcare

In the article, Mrs. Casey also expresses concern for her future and the future of her family. She states, “If I lose my vision, like 81% of MS patients do, and can’t work–this would mean that I’d no longer be covered by health insurance after 18 months of COBRA–we’re prepared to file for bankruptcy. If I don’t have insurance, and I lose my income, our family would be functioning on my husband’s salary alone to cover a $2,200 a month mortgage–and my $3,500 per month medication.” She goes on to state, “We’d be bankrupt within a few months of running up credit card bills to pay for the drugs, so it would be better for me to file individually, get down to no income and qualify for disability insurance and patient assistance programs from the drug manufacturers.”

Filing for Bankruptcy May Help

Although Mrs. Casey’s situation may seem extreme, many insurance companies in Northern Kentucky cancel coverage when the employee suffers a disabling illness because they become too sick to work, leaving them with medical bills and no insurance.With the rising costs of medical care and the increase of individuals struggling to stay on top, filing for bankruptcy may help relieve some of that debt. A Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Attorney can help you get a better idea of what disclosures are required in order to file for bankruptcy and what debts will be discharged.

If you are overwhelmed by mounting debt and tired or receiving harassing phone calls from creditors, contact Lawrence & Associates today. We can help you obtain that fresh start that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


A Fresh Take on Bankruptcy: Filing for Bankruptcy Can Benefit Individuals, Companies and Society

Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 4:08 pm    

fresh start bankruptcyThe Webster Dictionary defines bankruptcy as the quality or state of being bankrupt or the utter failure or impoverishment. Although the definition of bankruptcy gives off a negative connotation, it doesn’t have to. Filing for bankruptcy can benefit individuals, companies and society as a whole.

A Fresh Start

People often don’t understand the process of filing for bankruptcy, however, bankruptcy is a legal procedure by which an individual or a business can discharge its debts when the petitioner (the person or company filing bankruptcy), does not have the means to pay off the debt within a reasonable period time. Bankruptcy can help both individuals and companies have a fresh start.

An Over Abundance of Debt Options

In today’s environment of the over abundance of credit cards, pay day loans, car loans, and first, second and third mortgages, it is very easy to fall behind in paying bills, which often leads to people drowning in debt. Falling deep into debt is not a positive thing for either the individual or for society. In fact, according to the Federal Reserve, the average household in the United States has approximately $15,799 in credit card debt, $54,000 in household debt and credit card debt for the United States totals $793.1 billion. [1] With statistics like this, it is no wonder why so many of us are struggling and forced to file for bankruptcy.

Earnings Are Meant to Motivate

Although our clients often worry about embarrassment that may come from filing for bankruptcy, many of our clients who are forced to file for bankruptcy are hard working individuals who can no longer afford to hand over every penny they make to creditors and there is nothing embarrassing about that. After all, the purpose of earnings is to motivate people to work hard, but how motivated can you be if you know that most of the money you make will go to creditors? Without the option of filing for bankruptcy, many people would work long hours just to hand over hard earned money to creditors.

Bankruptcy Stop the Calls and Collections Immediately 

Bankruptcy helps to give debtors a fresh start, alleviating what could be a tremendous burden. Further, when an individual or company files for bankruptcy, the automatic stay goes into effect meaning the harassing phone calls, letters and potential lawsuits from all creditors stop.

If you are overwhelmed by mounting debt and tired or receiving harassing phone calls from creditors, contact Lawrence & Associates today. We can help you obtain that fresh start that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

Footnote: [1] http://www.statisticbrain.com/credit-card-debt-statistics/


Bankruptcy Explained: Can Debt Consolidation Protect Me from Creditors?

Posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2015 at 4:12 pm    

Debt Consolidation Northern Kentucky

A consolidation or “workout” is an attempt to modify one or multiple debts without the need for bankruptcy, usually through a debt consolidation agency. The main issue with a workout is that most debt consolidation companies don’t provide local creditors with a contract that enforces the agreement.

Without a Contract Your Workout Can’t Be Enforced 

In Northern Kentucky, a debt consolidation agreement is subject to contract laws, and without a valid contract between you and your creditors the workout can’t be enforced in a Northern Kentucky County court. This means that, if a creditor such as a credit card (like Capital One), or a medical provider (like St. Elizabeth Medical Center) decides not to be bound by the terms of the workout, they can still sue you in the county in which you live. This is the central reason that debt consolidation agreements often do not work for Northern Kentucky residents. Creditors that do not participate in the debt consolidation plan are entitled to file a lawsuit, which sometimes makes the entire exercise pointless. Only filing bankruptcy provides Northern Kentucky debtors with the muscle they need to force creditors to obey the rules.

Debt Consolidation vs Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

There are many reasons why Northern Kentucky residents try to avoid bankruptcy by contacting a debt consolidation company. Many debtors believe bankruptcy is a bad thing, and try to avoid it by seeking a new repayment agreement with creditors. What those debtors don’t realize is that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides the same relief but also forces the creditors to abide by the new repayment plan. The downside of the debt consolidation agreement is that it will not freeze interest accumulation on unsecured debts, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will. Further, if the debt consolidation agreement fails, Northern Kentucky debtors will enter bankruptcy anyway, but with the added complication of having less money than they would have had if they had filed the Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the first place.

Lawrence & Associates is experienced in debtor-creditor law and we can advise Northern Kentucky debtors on whether a non-bankruptcy workout will provide immediate debt relief.


Bankruptcy Explained: Understanding Property Exemptions – Keeping Your House and Car

Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 at 1:19 pm    

If you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you can always keep your property. If you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the United States bankruptcy code allows you to keep your house, keep your car, and keep your property so long as your equity in that property is below certain thresholds at the time the bankruptcy is filed. Equity is the value of the property minus the amount of any loans secured against it. The amount of equity you can have and still keep your property depends on whether you file your bankruptcy in Kentucky or Ohio.

How to Keep Your House and Car When You File Bankruptcy in Kentucky

Kentucky allows you to use federal exemptions to keep your property. This is good, because federal exemptions are usually much more forgiving than state exemptions. Kentucky allows you to use Kentucky state exemptions as well, but they are not as good as the federal exemptions and are rarely used. You can read the entire section of the federal bankruptcy code that gives us property exemptions, 11 U.S.C. 522, here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/522. The exemption levels are adjusted every three years. For the latest levels, contact Lawrence & Associates or check our blog to make sure these amounts haven’t changed.

As a rule of thumb, if you file bankruptcy in Kentucky you usually only have to worry about protecting your home, your car, or any “luxury” items you might own (such as a nice boat). The federal exemptions are large enough that it is rare for anything else to be in danger. The good Fort Mitchell bankruptcy attorney assess your equity in your property for you, and report your options to keep your house, car, and other property to you before filing. For example, under the federal exemptions you can keep your home as long as your equity in the house and land is less than $22,975.00 (and married couples can keep their home with double that exemption). So a married couple filing bankruptcy with a $200,000.00 house and a $175,000.00 mortgage can keep the house since their equity ($25,000.00) is less than the total exemption ($35,950.00). Figuring out how to value the home, car, or other property appropriately is sometimes a matter of controversy, but your attorney will be able to affix all values before filing.

How to Keep Your House and Car When You File Bankruptcy in Ohio

Ohio requires that you use the state exemptions, but does not allow federal exemptions. This can be good or bad, since Ohio has a much better exemption for your home, but lesser exemptions in other areas. Other than the change in exemption levels, the analysis works basically the same when you file bankruptcy in Ohio as it does when you file bankruptcy in Kentucky. Unfortunately, because Ohio’s exemptions are so much worse than the federal exemptions (again, other than the exemption for your home), many people who file bankruptcy in Ohio have more trouble keeping their car, or other property.


Bankruptcy Explained: What Actions Can a Creditor Legally Take to Collect A Debt?

Posted on Friday, February 13th, 2015 at 4:24 pm    

creditor harassmentA good bankruptcy attorney can protect you from abusive and threatening creditors. Creditors are notorious for using threats, intimidation tactics and false information in order to scare debtors into making payments. The truth is, regardless of your ability to pay, or what a creditor may claim, there are certain actions they cannot legally take. When you know the facts, you are in a better position to make decisions about your financial future and stop the abuse. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, creditors are prohibited from “abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices.” If a creditor continues to violate these laws and harass you and your family, you may be able to bring a claim against them and sue for financial damages.

Find an Experienced Creditor Harassment Attorney

Find an experienced Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyer who has handled creditor harassment cases in the past. A good bankruptcy attorney will work to build a strong and successful case for you against creditors that are harassing you.

The truth about debt collection attempts is that…

  • Creditors CANNOT call you at work once you have asked them to stop
  • Creditors CANNOT call you excessively or at unreasonable times
  • Creditors CANNOT call your family members and reveal the alleged debt
  • Creditors CANNOT intimidate you by providing false and misleading information
  • Creditors CANNOT have you arrested
  • Creditors CANNOT use vulgar or abusive language
  • Creditors CAN file a lawsuit to have a lien placed on your home
  • Creditors CAN seek to repossess your automobile
  • Creditors CAN attempt to garnish your wages
  • Creditors are legally obligated to cease all contact and collection attempts once you have filed for bankruptcy. If they do not, you have the right to sue them.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

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