Author Archives: Mallory

  1. Free Bankruptcy Consultation: Discuss with Pittsburgh’s Best

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    free bankruptcy consultation

    Whether you’re in a challenging financial place from income changes or high debt that has just become too much to bear, you have options. When you’re facing what feels like financial ruin, you don’t have the money to dish out for expensive meetings and consultations. A free bankruptcy consultation might just be the meeting you need to determine whether this is your best solution. 

    Struggling with finances puts a burden on your shoulders that leaves you feeling hopeless and stressed out. But you do have possible answers. 

    Understanding When Bankruptcy Might Be the Best Solution

    Bankruptcy isn’t the answer for everyone. However, many people overlook it as a solution until it’s too late to go this route. There are trigger signs, and a professional team like The Debt Doctors can help you understand your options and whether bankruptcy is a good choice in your situation. 

    Some of the questions that might help lead you in the right direction are: 

    • Are you having to determine what bills to pay and what bills not to pay? 
    • Is paying bills on time a struggle? 
    • Do you have creditors on your back or threatening repossession? 
    • Does your total of personal loans, credit card debt, and medical debt exceed $10,000? 
    • Is your mortgage behind, or will it be behind soon? 
    • Are you considering an extra mortgage just to pay bills? 
    • Have you borrowed from a 401K or retirement plan to catch up on bills? 
    • Are student loans too much for you to keep up with? 
    • Do you have unpaid taxes of any kind? 
    • Is your business on the verge of failing? 

    These are important questions to ask. If any of them ring true to you, know that you are not alone. Start with a consultation, consider your options, and determine the best approach to save your struggling finances. 

    What to Expect from a Bankruptcy Consultation

    free bankruptcy consultation

    Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

    Bankruptcy is often thought of as a dirty word. Many people are embarrassed at admitting their finances are out of control and they just can’t keep up. Others are afraid to have a bankruptcy on their record. There’s a huge misconception that once you file bankruptcy, you simply can’t recover. There are also many misunderstandings about forfeiting your home or vehicle, and that is not always the case. That is why working with an experienced legal team is your best option. 

    When you schedule your free bankruptcy consultation, you will likely feel relief and hope when you start to talk about your struggles. These consultations are typically about an hour long and are designed to give you and the team a chance to get to know each other. You will be asked lots of questions about your finances. It’s a good idea to come prepared with basic numbers for these discussions. 

    Other Factors to Discuss in Your Free Bankruptcy Consultation

    The consultation is used to determine what your situation is and whether or not bankruptcy is a good option. The legal representative will ask you questions about your income, your debt, your assets, and your financial information. Don’t hide things or hold things back. They need to know the full picture of where you are financially. Remember that everything said in these consultations is confidential. They need your honesty and openness to determine how they can best help you. 

    As you review information, the attorney will assess your situation and be able to make a recommendation at the end. It’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario, and there are circumstances in which bankruptcy isn’t the answer. By the end of your consultation, the representative should be able to tell you whether it’s a good choice, how much it will cost, and what you should expect if you choose to proceed. 

    Preparing for a Consultation

    How can you prepare for a consultation? Remember that this consultation is primarily about assessing your situation. However, it’s helpful if you have documentation with you to help cover numbers and ensure the details are accurate. 

    If you can, bring statements or bills that you can share with payment and payoff details. Make sure you have proof of your income if possible. Your attorney may tell you that you don’t need to bring this to the consultation, so be sure to pay attention to their advice of what you need here. Even if they do not want copies yet, compiling the information is a good idea so you can ensure you share everything with them and have the right details of your accounts. 

    If you move forward with bankruptcy, you will likely need to provide additional documentation so they know your creditors and can take care of their part of things. 

    At the very least, when you head to a consultation, make sure you have a list with basic details about debt, assets, and income. This will make answering questions easier and help ensure nothing gets missed in the process. 

    A Basic Look at the Bankruptcy Process

    Bankruptcy will differ from situation to situation. There are several different types of bankruptcy. Overall, the process breaks down to look like this:

    1. Meet with your legal representation and provide them with the necessary information. 
    2. The legal team prepares necessary documentation and files it appropriately. 
    3. You fulfill obligations deemed by the bankruptcy agreement. 
    4. Bankruptcy is discharged, and included debts are eliminated. 

    The process doesn’t happen overnight, so keep that in mind. 

    Get the Help You Need with The Debt Doctors on Your Side

    At The Debt Doctors, we are here to help you with a free bankruptcy consultation. Let us bring you some hope in what is likely a stressful and challenging situation for you. You are not alone, and there are solutions designed to help you when you face financial challenges. 

    Our teams will assess your situation, let you know if bankruptcy may be a great fit, and work with you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your consultation! 

  2. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy vs. Chapter 13: Pittsburgh’s Expert Breakdown

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    bankruptcy

    If you’re like most of us, you’ve heard about bankruptcy and maybe even known someone who had to file…perhaps even you. But how much do you know about the process? Hopefully, you know nothing. But if you are thinking about bankruptcy, whether it be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, something has gotten you into this situation, and this is when you need The Debt Doctors.

    Bankruptcy – what brings a person to this point? Understanding is the first step in making an informed decision. 

    Surely if you work hard, watch your spending, and live a careful life, it could never happen to you, right? But sometimes life happens, and the bad things – and sometimes bad choices – create a situation where you have nothing left.  In many cases, financial distress is temporary and it’s easier to overcome with the right advice. Our goal is to help you tackle your financial issues immediately and work toward a healthy financial situation.

    Why do people get into situations that use up all their assets and leave them with nothing but debt? The circumstances vary from person to person, but here are some main reasons.

    • Loss of income. Maybe your employer downsized and you were laid off. Was it your fault? Did you forget to show up for work? Were you let go? Whatever the reason, income is income, and when you no longer have it, you can go from having a paycheck to a pink slip with little or no warning.
    • Medical Bills. U.S. healthcare costs are the highest in the world, with an average of over $12,000 per year per person. (https://www.statista.com/chart/8658/health-spending-per-capita/) Was it your fault that your health insurance (if you even have insurance!) didn’t cover you?
    • Mortgage burden. Did that fantastic deal on your home turn into a millstone around your neck?
    • Living beyond one’s means. This one sounds like your fault, but is it? Inflation and increasing costs of living can mean that almost any purchase is unaffordable.  
    • Helping loved ones financially by lending them money. Now, how bad can this be? After all, you’ve got it, and they need it. How can you say no? 
    • You had a great business idea, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Now you’re cash-strapped and laden with debt. We can help you do something about it to move on from the business or restructure your debt and give you a second chance like Abe Lincoln, Milton Hershey, Walt Disney and Henry Ford.  

    What is Bankruptcy, and How Do I Know Which Chapter Is Right for Me? 

    bankruptcy

    The formal definition of bankruptcy is that it’s a legal proceeding that begins when you cannot pay your outstanding debts. The right to declare bankruptcy is so important that it’s actually in Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Since it’s governed by federal law, bankruptcy is pursued in federal court. You’ll need an attorney to help you with the process.

    If you’re filing for bankruptcy, you’re a “debtor.” The people or businesses to whom you owe money are “creditors.” Depending on the type of bankruptcy you choose to file, you may:

    • be able to get all or most of your bills wiped out
    • be able to keep most or all of your property
    • gain extra time to pay your bills

    Most individuals have access to two types of bankruptcy options: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Knowing which one to use is essential for your future. Note also that both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy offer significant protection in the form of an automatic stay. When you file, the stay stops creditors from taking legal action and stops any current proceedings.  

    Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

    Filing Chapter 7 lets you wipe out most of your “unsecured” debt, which does not have collateral backing. 

    • Unsecured debt is from credit cards, medical bills, utility bills, or court judgments.  
    • Secured debt refers to loans for real estate or vehicles. The creditor can take back the collateral if you don’t pay your bills. Unless the property is exempt, you’re giving up your property to pay your debts.  

    As a debtor, you have the right to retain any property legally considered exempt from the reach of creditors. You can opt to claim your exemptions either under Pennsylvania law or federal law.

    Your attorney can help you decide whether you should use the federal or Pennsylvania list of exemptions. 

    In Pennsylvania, you can use either the federal or state exemptions. The federal exemptions allow you to keep certain amounts of equity in your home, car, and household goods up to a designated amount. Tools, books, and items needed for your job may also be kept, along with specific amounts of jewelry and property. You may also receive benefits such as Social Security, assistance, unemployment, and pensions. Under the state exemptions, you can keep anything designated as marital property.

    When a couple files their taxes jointly, the federal exemptions they receive are doubled. 

    https://www.palawhelp.org/resource/a-guide-to-bankruptcy .

    Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

    Chapter 13 bankruptcy is used by people who fail to qualify for Chapter 7 due to income, want to try to keep their home from foreclosure, restructure tax debts, and/or restructure student loans. The payment term is usually three to five years. The most important thing about filing Chapter 13 is that it can allow you to keep property, like your home, and restructure debts to make your payments more affordable. .  

    Will Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Rating?

    Yes, it will. A bankruptcy record is visible on your credit report for ten years. However; most people rebuild their credit within 2-4 years if they utilize credit wisely. Part of our service is providing you strategies to help you do that. 

    Counting Sheep or Losing Sleep?

    Filing for bankruptcy can be embarrassing, overwhelming, and can cause sleepless nights and stressful days. Call us today at The Debt Doctors. There’s no judgment here, just someone who understands your situation and can help guide you through financial distress so you can have a better financial future.  

     

  3. When your car is in an accident

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    What happens when you are in an accident and you’re not hurt but your car is?
    Someone hits you from behind or goes through a light and side swipes your car ?

    The person’s insurance company pays for the damage. They give you a loaner and you are really happy to see your car whole again. Everything worked out to be perfect. But wait…

    What happens two years later when you want to trade-in this really nice low mileage car?
    “A car that has never been in a crash may be worth $15,000 at resale but thousands less if it has been in an accident and repaired. Diminished value insurance claims allow car owners to recover the difference between a car’s pre-accident value and its value after repairs. ”

    This kind of scenario happens quite often.

    What to do when you find yourself in this predicament?

    Here is what you should do.
    Find out if the accident is on your Car-fax.

    Get an appraiser to check what the true value of your car is.

    Find the market value of your car to see what the loss value is going to be.

    Go back to the insurance company of the person that damaged your car and ask to file a diminished value claim. (Pennsylvania has a two year time frame to file a claim.)

    Insurance companies don’t always pay for a vehicle’s diminished value but many consumers feel that it is the insurance company’s responsibility to pay for a diminished value claim. Insurance companies in most states will consider who is responsible for the accident to decide if they will pay a diminished value. Consumers have at times tried to sue insurance companies into compensating them for diminished value. If you have your own collision and comprehensive coverage your own insurance company won’t pay for your diminished value claim.

    If you sue the at-fault party’s insurance company, though, you could have a valid claim.

    *Mike Solito from Auto Buyers Consultants, is a car buyer that assists our clients to purchase quality vehicles at the best possible rates even for buyers with credit issues.

  4. Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy

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    The best ways to make a full financial recovery

    Getting back on track after filing for bankruptcy can feel overwhelming. The Debt Doctors will not only help you bounce back financially but will also help you handle any emotional issues you are facing. Our attorneys will provide you with the support and guidance you need to make a quick recovery and get your finances in order.

    Here are the best strategies for bouncing back after bankruptcy:

    1. Store your bankruptcy documents in a safe place
    By storing your documents in a secure place, you will be prepared to pull them out should you need to show them to a lender when requesting a loan for a big purchase or proving to a creditor that you have made all your payments.

    2. Determine and understand why you filed for bankruptcy
    It’s essential that you understand why you filed in the first place to prevent this from happening again. If you don’t determine the reasoning behind your filing, the solution will only be temporary.

    3. Create a strong relationship with your bank
    By establishing a relationship with your bank, it will be much easier to get a loan if you explain to your lenders the story behind your bankruptcy.

    4. Consult with the Debt Doctors before borrowing money
    Discuss whom you are borrowing money from with your bankruptcy attorney to avoid very high interest rates and get recommendations on who you should be borrowing from.

    5. Make a budget
    It’s crucial to keep track of your budget, especially before applying for a loan or credit card. Make sure you can make loan payments after reviewing your budget and expenses.

    6. Check your credit report and correct any errors
    Be sure to check your credit report and make sure there aren’t any mistakes. If you get these errors fixed right away this will help to improve your credit score.

    Overall, the attorneys at The Debt Doctors strive to provide you with the best educational advice and strategies to get out of debt and in a better place financially. Our attorneys are determined to help clients see the best possible outcome, so they can live a better life free of debt.

  5. Bankruptcy Myths Uncovered

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    While there may be many creditors out there exaggerating the stigma of bankruptcy, the truth is that there are more advantages than disadvantages if you’re already experiencing financial difficulty, when it comes to filing for personal bankruptcy.

    The Debt Doctors provide honest and non-judgmental guidance to clients facing bankruptcy. Uncover the truth about these common myths regarding the misconceptions associated with bankruptcy:

    Myth: If you are married, you cannot file for bankruptcy by yourself.

    The Truth: Anyone can file for bankruptcy whether its individually or jointly. The process is similar to filing your taxes. The Debt Doctors can evaluate whether filing jointly or individually makes the most sense and is the most beneficial for your specific situation.

    Myth: If you file for bankruptcy, you will never get credit again.

    The Truth: Once your bankruptcy is closed and discharged, you will be able to immediately rebuild your credit. The Debt Doctors can help you take the necessary steps to initiate rebuilding your credit right away. Most of our clients have more money in the bank and better credit 2 years after their bankruptcy.

    Myth: If you file for bankruptcy, lenders will ignore you.

    The Truth: It’s actually the opposite. You are going to get offers for car loans and credit cards when you file. The Debt Doctors can help teach you how to utilize these offers to re-establish credit.

    Myth: All bankruptcy options are basically the same.

    The Truth: There are different chapters of bankruptcy. The most common are Chapter 7, Chapter 11 & Chapter 13 and they are very different. By consulting with the Debt Doctors, you can learn which type of bankruptcy is best for you.

    Myth: You will lose everything you own if you file for bankruptcy.

    The Truth: When you file for bankruptcy, certain assets such as your home, car and retirement plan will be protected. Just because you file for bankruptcy, doesn’t mean you are going to lose everything. We help you protect what’s important to you.

    Myth: Only “losers” file for bankruptcy.

    The Truth: Most people who file for bankruptcy have been faced with circumstances out of their control such as divorce, loss of a job, failed business, identity theft or an illness. We offer a free, non-judgmental consultation to see if we can help.

The Debt Doctors

607 College Street, Suite 101
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

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