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Dayton Bankruptcy Law Blog

Can foreclosure scammers take my home?

Ohio homeowners who face the specter of foreclosure may, in desperation, turn to any party that claims they can get the property owner out of their financial jam and save the owner's home. Unfortunately, what could happen instead is that your deed ends up in the hand of the scammer and you end up out in the street. In many cases, homeowners willingly sign over their deeds for the promise of a foreclosure rescue that never comes.

According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, scammers may pull a number of tricks to get you to sign over the deed to your house. These tactics involve differing levels of deception, but the end result is always to the detriment of the homeowner. Such schemes may include the following:

Can I fight a debt that wasn’t mine?

It can be difficult to make ends meet each month without the added stress of extra debt. You might be juggling credit card bills, medical payments and student loan debt, which can make it especially frustrating if you start receiving mail and phone calls for something you didn’t spend money on. Should you be forced to endure creditor harassment or make payments on a debt that isn’t yours? This is not an uncommon occurrence for residents of Ohio and elsewhere, so you may be interested in learning how to deal with this issue.

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, consumers are protected by law from creditors harassing them or wrongfully claiming they owe money. You might be getting bills for an unfamiliar debt because you have the same name or lived at the same address as someone else, or you might have been the target of identity theft. It is also possible creditors are attempting to collect a deceased family member’s debt and hoping you will pay, rather than contest the charges.

Why is credit counseling required prior to bankruptcy?

If you are like most in Dayton who struggle with debt, the prospect of having to seek bankruptcy protection may not be attractive, yet also may appear to be your only option if you hope to get a handle on your financial situation again. Your concerns might come from an assumption that the government is more than willing to offer you bankruptcy protection as a way out, when in reality, the bankruptcy code is designed to offer you several options to deal with your debt. 

Why else, then, would it be a requirement that you go through credit counseling prior to filing for bankruptcy? Per Section 521(b) of the Federal Bankruptcy Code, you must submit a certificate showing that you have completed credit counseling along with the other required paperwork when first filing for bankruptcy. A credit counseling agency can develop a repayment plan that shows how you might be able to repay your creditors without filing for bankruptcy. In some cases (depending on the assets you have available to you), this may only serve to reaffirm the need for you to file for bankruptcy. However, it may also reveal that repayment is indeed a reasonable option. 

3 surprising reasons you may go into debt

Debt is one of those things that can creep up on you. While there are some obvious culprits that may send you into sudden debt, such as a medical emergency or unemployment, there are plenty of scenarios that can trap you into an overwhelming money problem

Before you know it, you may be struggling to pay the bills when you do not even see it coming. Here are a few surprising causes of debt you should not overlook. 

Important tax tips for bankruptcy filers

Filing for bankruptcy is one method many people across Ohio use to help themselves regain their financial footing, but there are certain behaviors and lifestyle changes you will need to make after doing so. In addition to watching your spending and making sure to stay on top of all your bills, you will also need to consider how filing for bankruptcy will affect you, come tax time. At Kennel Zeigler LLC, we have a firm understanding of how filing for bankruptcy can impact your taxes, and we have helped many clients navigate their way through this and similar matters.

According to TurboTax, one of the first things you may want to think about doing if you believe a bankruptcy filing is in your future is file your taxes before moving forward with your bankruptcy case. If it is too late to do so, it is imperative that you maintain a copy of all your tax records, and you should also be able to clearly explain and outline how you used any money you got as a tax refund when questioned.

What steps can you take to reduce the chances of foreclosure?

As an Ohio homeowner, you may take tremendous pride in your home, as it is likely the place you raise children, make memories and otherwise spend your free time. If, like so many others, however, you are struggling to keep up with your mortgage payments, you may have very valid concerns about whether you may lose the place you and your family call home. While, ultimately, whether you will lose your house in a foreclosure will depend on a number of different factors, there are several steps you can take ahead of time to reduce the chances of this happening.

According to This Old House, one of the most important things to do when you have concerns about foreclosure is to avoid waiting around until your situation becomes dire. Once you become upside-down on your home, your options become limited, so your best bet when facing the threat of foreclosure is to act quickly. With this is mind, one thing you can do as soon as you start struggling with mortgage payments is contact your mortgage lender and discuss whether you have any options.

Avoid certain credit cards following bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has a significant effect on one’s credit score, as well as their ability to apply for credit cards, home loans and other important financial support. Once a creditor spots a bankruptcy on an applicant’s record, they may be alerted to the fact that he or she has trouble meeting their financial obligations. There are ways that debtors can rebuild their credit following a bankruptcy, including applying for subprime credit cards. These types of credit cards are designed for people who struggle with bankruptcy, as they will approve those who have a bankruptcy on their record. Experts warn people who apply for these credit cards that high interest rates and fees could lead to more financial trouble.

Subprime credit card lenders approve people with poor credit, below 600, and attempt to help them rebuild their credit score by giving them a chance to charge and repay their balance. As a way to minimize their risk, however, subprime specialist issuers must charge high interest rates, processing fees, annual fees, maintenance fees and authorized user fees. This can put the applicant in danger of becoming indebted once again. CBS News reported that paying off a subprime credit card takes on average, 70 percent longer than paying off a traditional credit card because of all of these added fees and charges. In addition, the agreements can be difficult to read and understand.

Will you lose your house if you file for bankruptcy?

If you count yourself among the many across Ohio who are struggling to remain afloat financially, you may be weighing your options and trying to determine the best way to start getting back on your feet. You may, too, be considering whether filing for bankruptcy might help you find the relief you seek, but you may have concerns about whether you could potentially lose your home, should you decide to do so.

According to the Washington Post, your ability to keep your home after filing for bankruptcy depends on certain circumstances, among them the type of bankruptcy filing you choose to pursue. In a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy, for example, which is typically for lower-income earners, whether you will have to give up your home depends on whether it meets the criteria for an “exemption.” If the amount of equity you have in your home is lower than Ohio’s exemption amount, you are typically in good shape and should be able to avoid losing your home.

5 common causes of credit card debt

Your credit card can be a helpful tool if you use it correctly and responsibly. Unfortunately, it is easy to rack up credit card debt. 

The causes of credit card debt vary widely and are often unique to each person. However, there are some noteworthy trends. Here are some situations, habits and factors that contribute to financial ruin.

Bankruptcy: Filing for Chapter 13

Bankruptcy - the word all by itself sounds intimidating. Most folks who find themselves in a place of bankruptcy did not have that laid out in their life's blueprint. But, it happens. It happens for Ohio residents who have always paid their bills and suddenly get circumstances dumped in their laps, completely out of their control; it also happens for those who have always had difficulty staying on top of their debts.

Either way it comes, though, bankruptcy can intimidate even the savviest financiers. How is someone to choose which type of bankruptcy to file and how the process should start?

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