Tag Archive: debt relief

  1. 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.

  2. Which Chapter of Bankruptcy Is Best for You?

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    Find the Right Chapter for You

    Considering filing for bankruptcy? You are most likely going to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. But how do you know which bankruptcy option is best for you and your situation? The Debt Doctors are here to explain the major differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 and help you decipher which case would be most appropriate.

    Types of Bankruptcy for PA Residents

    There are several types of bankruptcy, but only two are common for individual debtors. Chapter 7, which is a liquidation process. And Chapter 13, which involves restructuring debt into a long-term plan

    Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in PA

    In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you essentially wipe out your debts and get a fresh start. Chapter 7 is a liquidation where the trustee collects all the debtor’s assets and sells any that are not exempt, (click here to see PA Exemptions.) The trustee sells the assets and pays the debtor any amount that is exempt. Then, the net proceeds of the liquidation are distributed amongst your creditors.

    However, certain debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy such as alimony, child support, fraudulent debts, certain taxes, etc. You can read more on PA’s Non-Dischargeable Debts here.

    In many Chapter 7 cases, the debtor has a large amount of credit card debt, other unsecured bills, and very few assets. In the vast majority of these cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate these debts.

    Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in PA

    Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor proposes a 3-5 year repayment plan. This plan goes to the creditors that are offering to pay off all or part of the debts from the debtors future income. Chapter 13 can be used to:

    • prevent a home foreclosure
    • make up for missed car or mortgage payments
    • pay back taxes
    • stop interest from accruing on your tax debt
    • keep valuable, non-exempt property, and more.

    As long as you stick to the terms of your repayment agreement, all your remaining dischargeable debt will be released at the end of the plan.

    Several factors go into the amount that is to be repaid, like the debtor’s disposable income. This is usually determined as part of the Pennsylvania Means Test. In addition, the total amount paid to creditors in the Chapter 13 plan must also be as much as creditors would receive if the debtor filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead.

    To file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have “regular source of income” and some disposable income to apply towards your payment plan.

    Chapter 13 bankruptcy is generally used by debtors who want to keep secured assets like a home or car. When they have more equity in those secured assets, they can protect them with PA’s bankruptcy exemptions.

    Which Chapter is the Right Fit for You?

    Understanding the ins and outs of filing for bankruptcy can help you decide if it’s the right path for you. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization and restructuring of debt. Whereas, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation. If you are unsure which chapter is best for you and your situation, contact us for a free consultation. Making the right decision now can enable future financial success and eliminate sleepless nights.

  3. Tax Refunds and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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    Can I Keep My Tax Refund in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

    With some simple planning, you can either keep or use your tax refund to rid your debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    If you’re expecting to receive or have already received a tax refund but are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you probably want to know if you can keep your refund. The answer is yes!

    A tax refund is part of your bankruptcy estate

    When a debtor files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all their assets become part of the bankruptcy estate. In order to protect these assets, we need to claim an exemption or use that assets prior to filing.

    In Pennsylvania, we utilize the Federal Exemptions, which allows for an $11,850 wildcard exemption. What does that mean? As long as your refund is less than that amount you can keep it. If it’s more, we can plan to utilize the refund to retain the value it provides.

    Conclusion 

    If you are thinking of using your tax refund to pay off some of your debts, give the Debt Doctors a call. We will be able to see if we can protect your tax refund and eliminate all of your debt with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Any firm can file your bankruptcy paperwork, but we believe our job doesn’t end there. A lot of our work focuses on counseling you through the stress and uncertainty that goes along with being in debt. If you’d rather inquire online, click here.

  4. Unpaid Student Loan Bills Can Cost You Your Job

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    A recent New York Times article is stirring up a frenzy.

    In records obtained by The New York Times, government agencies in 19 states are permitted to seize state-issued professional licenses from residents that default on their student loans. Meaning nurses, firemen, teachers, lawyers, etc. are at risk of losing their professional licenses should they default on their student debts.

    The full article can be read here: NY Times Student Loans Licenses

    Luckily, Pennsylvania is not one of those 19 states. However, should you find yourself in financial distress, The Debt Doctors at QuatriniRafferty can play an important role in helping you decide what is the best financial plan for you. To receive the guidance you need for a brighter financial future, you can schedule a free consultation today.

    Advice from The Debt Doctors at QuatriniRafferty on student loan debt:

    If you are facing debt as a result of student loans, here are some tips and best practices from The Debt Doctors:

    1. Be sure to utilize all of the programs available including income based repayment, forbearance and deferment.
    2. If you are a parent, think twice about co-signing on student loans. In a lot of cases, a parent will co-sign for his/her child, but can’t afford it. It’s important to remember it’s your child’s education and you should explore all options available so they can finance this education themselves.
    3. Parents should also avoid taking money out of their retirements to pay for their child’s education. There are a lot of options available to fund education but very few to fund retirement.
    4. Avoid using a home equity loan to fund college. If you lose income or have any other financial distress it could make it difficult to keep your home. You don’t need to put your home at risk when there are many other options to fund education.
    5. If you have a student loan garnishment or a student loan company has begun any type of legal proceeding, contact The Debt Doctors at QuatriniRafferty. In many cases our attorneys can use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing to stop these negative actions and force the student loan company to defer your loans or accept an income based repayment.
    6. In general, student loan interest rates are some of the lowest. Don’t be in a hurry to pay them off. Instead, use your resources to build regular and retirement savings before you write a big check to your student loan servicer.

    What do you think? Comment below or share your thoughts on our Facebook!

  5. Save For Retirement Now, Benefit Later

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    Start Your Retirement Investments Now to Better Your Financial Future

    When is the best time to start saving for retirement? The answer is simple: as soon as possible. But like most things in life, that is easier said than done. Given the job market, high student loan payments and other personal situations, the last thing young adults want to do is sacrifice a portion of their retirementhard-earned paycheck for a retirement that is not happening for at least 30-40 years.

    A recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article highlights how putting away even as little as $20 a month can compound and grow into much more by the time retirement rolls around:

    Click for Post-Gazette Article

    As the article explains, saving money takes discipline and financial planning. Our financial expert, Matt Herron strongly believes the only way to acquire wealth is through saving and earning interest, not paying interest. So take advantage of your automatic deduction 401k plans to help save without effort. Additionally, avoid borrowing and taking withdraws from you retirement or 401k. Your 401k is not a checking account. Early withdraws and loans are expensive and will dilute your ability to compound money.   If debt is keeping you from making your best effort to save call us to eliminate your debt and develop a plan to start saving your financial future depends on it.

The Debt Doctors

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Pittsburgh, PA 15232

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