Archive for July, 2017

Credit Score Changes

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

So, they are changing the way agencies report your credit score. The following from Credit dot com in June, 2017.

About 6% of people with credit scores could see them rise beginning July 1 when credit reporting agencies will start excluding most civil judgments and about half of all tax lien data from credit reports.

credit score

As announced in March, the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, will start holding public data to new standards. After July 1, any public record data must include a consumer’s name and address, as well as their Social Security number or date of birth, to appear on their credit file, according to the Consumer Data Industry Association.

Who Is Affected?

Most people should see little impact on their credit scores, according to an analysis conducted in March by FICO, the most common provider of credit scores. About 6% of people with FICO scores, or about 12 million of the 220 million Americans with scores, will see a judgment or tax lien removed from their credit files, the analysis said.

Public records like bankruptcies, tax liens and civil judgments typically stay on credit reports for seven years, so those who see these items removed get a long-lasting weight removed from their credit scores.

However, most of the people who have items removed will experience score increases of less than 20 points, FICO said. The reason the increase isn’t greater is because 92% of people who will have tax liens or judgments removed have other negative information on their credit files. To see if the change affects you, you can check two of your credit scores free on Credit.com.

In addition to culling the public record data, the agencies also plan to update their public record information at least every 90 days.

While the credit score increase is relatively modest, it may still be enough to allow people to qualify for loans or credit reports that may have been out of reach before. Most of the people impacted had a median credit score of 565 before the change.

Twenty points above that median puts people in range of a Federal Housing Administration loan with only a 3.5% down payment. The minimum FICO score required for such a loan is 580.

The National Consumer Action Plan

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are making the changes as part of a 2015 settlement with 31 state attorneys general who were investigating the agencies over the accuracy of credit reports. In response, the agencies launched the National Consumer Action Plan, which aims to make credit information more transparent for consumers.

In addition to the public record data, the plan also prohibits the agencies from including medical debts on credit reports until after 180 days to allow insurance payments to go through. The plan also calls for the bureaus to hire specially trained employees to deal with credit disputes and allow consumers to obtain an additional free credit report if they find an error on their free annual credit report.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.

What is a Bankruptcy Discharge

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Thinking about filing for bankruptcy? Discharge is one of the terms that you should be familiar with.

The ultimate goal of most bankruptcy cases is to obtain a discharge of debts. A discharge is the removal of the legal obligation to repay a debt. In more legalistic terms, it is a permanent injunction preventing creditors from trying to collect on the debt.

bankruptcy letter

When Is A Discharge Not Granted?

In bankruptcy a discharge is neither honorable nor dishonorable, like in the military. You either get a discharge, or you don’t. Not all bankruptcy cases result in a discharge being entered. And not all debts are dischargeable.

One’s entire discharge can be denied for many reasons, such as making false statements on your bankruptcy papers (omitting assets, failing to list debts, failing to account for where money/assets you had have gone, or engaging in a scheme to defraud your creditors, etc.).

Creditors also have the opportunity in every bankruptcy case to object to the discharge of their individual debts, if they can prove the debts were incurred through fraud. Some debts are not dischargeable regardless of whether an objection is filed, such as student loan debts, domestic support obligations, certain taxes and several others.

A Discharge Is Not A Dismissal

Sometimes cases will be dismissed without a discharge. This can occur either voluntarily (you decide you don’t want to proceed with a case, usually in a Chapter 13). Or it can occur involuntarily pursuant to a request from a creditor or the bankruptcy trustee for failure to comply with rules and requirements, or not being eligible, and so forth.

Dismissal and Discharge are two completely different things. These are important terms to understand when communicating with a bankruptcy attorney.

When Do I Get My Discharge?

This depends on which Chapter you filed. In a Chapter 13 case, for example, you receive your discharge about 4-6 months after you complete all required payments due under your plan, assuming you have complied with all other requirements. In a Chapter 7 case, the discharge is usually entered after the expiration of the objections period for creditors to object to discharge of their debts.  This is 60 days after the initial date set for the Meeting with the Trustee in your case.  Typically the discharge will be entered 4-5 months after the filing of the case, but objections or other factors can delay this.

How Long Does The Discharge Last?

The discharge lasts forever.  It is permanent. The only exception is if the discharge is revoked due to later discovery of some sort of fraud or other wrongdoing in connection with your bankruptcy case.The time limit for seeking revocation of a discharge in a Chapter 7 case is the later of one year after entry of discharge, or the date the case is closed.

Case Closing

The Discharge is not the end of a bankruptcy case. In fact, a bankruptcy case can remain open for a long time after entry of the discharge. Why should you care (one might ask)? Because until the case is closed, particularly in a Chapter 7 case, the bankruptcy trustee remains the legal owner of all assets which are property of the bankruptcy estate. That basically means everything you owned or had rights to on the date your case was filed. And that means until the case is closed, you cannot do anything with your assets, such as sell your house or give your car to your favorite nephew without permission from the Trustee. In the normal Chapter 7 case, the case will be closed within a couple of weeks after entry of the discharge. But not always.

The Trustee could be looking into selling assets, or seeking to recover transfers or any number of actions to benefit creditors. And that can take years sometimes. In those situations it is important to have your attorney monitor the case for closing. If it does not close within a reasonable time, they should file a Motion with the court to “Abandon” the property back to you.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.

Saving Money

Friday, July 7th, 2017

One way to avoid bankruptcy is to hold on to your money. When we were growing up, they used to say that it’s a lot easier to save money than to earn money. Boy, isn’t that the truth. So why not try to save some money by doing the following.

broke

Cut Back On Luxuries

Expensive wine and spirits – cigarettes. If you do smoke, then give up. It might not be as simple as just quitting, but there are various ways, groups and products to help you. What could your $10 a day be better spent on?

Organize your spending in advance

Get organized for the week or month ahead and you could save money

If during the working week you only need the money for a bus ticket and lunch, then just carry the cash you need.

Don’t take your cards if you know you won’t need them. You won’t be tempted or distracted and so will spend less money.

If something does catch your eye, you’ll have plenty of time to see whether you it is something you actually need, or just something you want.

Only carry cash

Especially if you know you’re easily tempted or distracted at lunchtime, or work near a shopping mall; that way you can’t spend what you haven’t got with you, which means in the long run, you’ll spend less money.

Whilst it might be strange at first, you’ll soon get used to it, and you probably won’t have an emergency that demands you use your credit card.

Try to avoid on line shopping for things you don’t need

Don’t go to Amazon or Ebay unless you need something. think twice before making that late night or impulsive purchase.

Keep a record of your spending

Do you keep a record of your spending? Do you know roughly or exactly, what’s in your bank account, and what’s going out? You can keep a written record, use a spreadsheet, or an app on your cellphone to help you. You’ll benefit from knowing how much you’re spending, what bills are due out, and how much money you have left.

This will enable you to see whether you do actually have money to spend or whether you have a bill coming up in the next few days. Knowing this will help you to reduce impulse purchases and so you’ll spend less money.

Keep $10 or $20 with you for emergencies

Have you got some cash in case of an emergency? Having a few emergency dollars will mean you won’t panic if something unexpected does happen.

If:
•The trains aren’t running and you need to get a cab home
•You need a new shirt or tie as you spilled your lunch before an important meeting
•You need to pick up some unexpected groceries on the way home

Then you can do.

This works well when combined with only carrying cash.

The chances are you won’t need to buy a TV, some new clothes, or the latest electronic gadget without giving it plenty of thought first, so you can decide whether buying now is the best use of your money.

Know what you’ve got

Check to see what you’ve got before you by things impulsively Before you buy anything new, see what you’ve got first. This might be a great idea and encourage you to clear out your closet.

Got a closet full of:
•Shoes?
•Sneakers?
•Sunglasses?
•Ski wear?
•Hoodies
•Hats?

Do you really need a new one then?

Do you have a tendency to buy something new because:
•You can’t be bothered looking for / cleaning / fixing your existing one?
•There’s a newer version available?
•This one’s slightly better?
•This one’s got a feature that you definitely need?
•This one is much more suitable and appropriate?

By looking and thinking hard, the chances are that you’ve already got what you need or what you’re looking for. This means you won’t buy things you don’t need and so will spend less money.

If not, you’ll know exactly what you need and why, and so can justify it.

Remember, this can be applied to other rooms in your home such as your garage and kitchen too!

Buy things you need and will use

Will you really use what you’re about to buy? Try to only buy things you need and will use. That tempting half price little black dress, that’s just different enough from the other 3 you’ve already got, might only be worn twice a year.

That new power tool might be an absolute steal, but not if it sits in the garage with the others, and never gets used.

Do you really need the same handbag in three different colors?

Do you really need a new camera just because it has a slighter better resolution or a better lens? Will that really make a huge difference if you only use it occasionally.

By buying things you need and actually will use means that you can spend less money on the things you don’t need and won’t use.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.