May 28, 2017

Beware Debt Consolidation and Repayment Proposals

In my bankruptcy practice I have dealings with many people who, in response to financial difficulties, have sought help from companies that purport to help settle, consolidate or otherwise manage the debt. By and large, most of these people have learned of these companies from advertising. While there are few legitimate firms that provide these services, most simply draft the debtor’s funds … [Read more...]

Student Loans: What if I Refuse to Pay?

Much has been said lately about student loans, the high default rate involved with these loans, and the hardship, if not downright misery, that these loans can cause.  Now a new movement is afoot by various groups to refuse to pay student loans.  Given what I perceive to be a growing storm of discontent regarding student loans, I feel that it is now the time for me to express my opinion. To … [Read more...]

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for Second Mortgages

Homeowners who are in financial difficulty are well advised to consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case as an option when they are current on their first mortgage but are not paying, in full and on time each month, their second mortgage (including a home equity loan or other debt secured by the property). I see situations where people whose incomes have been cut will forego paying the second … [Read more...]

The Perils of a Short Sale, Cash for Keys and Deeds in Lieu

Considering a short sale, deed in lieu or cash-for-keys offer for your underwater home? This week The Charlotte Observer reported that 46.6% of Charlotte homes have "negative equity." Some call this an "underwater mortgage" but no matter your term of choice, it means that homeowners owe more to their mortgage companies than the homes are worth. That same article went on to describe the … [Read more...]

Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure: Part Three of Three

In my first post of this series we covered how foreclosure works, step by step, and defined some basic real estate terms related to distressed sales. In the second post, we answered questions on preventing foreclosure, negotiating with a mortgage company, and what to do about an adjustable rate mortgage that will soon reset. This post addresses questions on short sales and sifting through … [Read more...]

I’ll Just Ignore the Certified Letters

Some people think they can tie their creditors' hands by ignoring requests for payment or by contesting their debts with a credit bureau. They also call my office for help cleaning up their credit reports, which is not a service I offer. If you wish to dispute an entry to your credit report, I suggest you use this letter guide, provided courtesy of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of … [Read more...]

Fast-Track Arbitration Helps Debtors & Creditors

My long experience in determining claims of creditors for distribution in liquidation cases has led to a new experience.   I've been appointed by the Superior Court of Cabarrus County as the arbitrator to determine the distribution of approximately $500,000 to between more than 150 potential claimants. The process has been carefully crafted to avoid long, drawn-out, and expensive litigation. … [Read more...]

Cash for Keys?

The copywriter who thought up "Cash for Keys" did a good job. Unfortunately, the process isn't as simple as the catchy title implies. You don't simply hand the keys over to the mortgage company, take your $1000 to put down on an apartment and walk away. [important]Unless you file for bankruptcy protection, any time you sell or surrender your home for less than the balance due on the mortgage(s) … [Read more...]

Lessons from Reader’s Digest

Reader's Digest just announced that it is filing a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.  Its goal is to reduce its debt to one-fourth of the present level ($2.2 billion).  The company is essentially using Federal bankruptcy law as a financial planning tool. At the present level of debt, Reader's Digest is not a viable company.  At the reduced level, it will be viable, thus allowing a partial … [Read more...]

Moving Through the Python, Bankruptcy Cycles

Yesterday's Charlotte Observer article (wherein I'm quoted) explains why we're only seeing the front end of the bankruptcy python for real estate developers, small businesses and individuals.  While the Western District of North Carolina has seen more bankruptcy filings in eight months of this year than in all of 2008, most experts expect filings to increase through 2010 and pass all previous … [Read more...]