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Washington DC Bankruptcy Law Blog

Should you make more than the minimum payment?

Washingon D.C. residents like you may be tempted to make the minimum payment on your credit card bills. Not only do you avoid late fees, but you also avoid having to make large lump payments at once if your bill is particularly high. But should you be taking this option?

NerdWallet highlights three main benefits of paying more than the minimum payment on your credit card. The first benefi is that it sends a good message to the bank or company that issued you the credit card. By making your payments on time, and making more than the minimum payment, it shows that you are taking any debt you have seriously. You're displaying an active desire to reduce your debt and get your payments back on track, which can reestablish your trustworthiness in the eyes of your issuer.

The sickening cost of health care

How are you feeling today? If the answer is, "Not so good," you probably also have a stack of medical bills on your kitchen table. Even if you have health insurance, chances are you are struggling to pay medical debt for your injury, sudden illness or chronic condition. While 53 percent of people without insurance say they are having trouble paying for medical care, another 20 percent of those who have insurance are in the same boat.

While the Affordable Care Act may have required more comprehensive insurance plans for Americans, it also encouraged higher deductibles. Trend watchers are seeing that more people have health insurance, but because insurance companies require more cost sharing, a growing number of Americans are under-insured.

Can you recover after falling behind on mortgage payments?

As a resident in Washington D.C. who is currently behind on your mortgage payments, you may be wondering if there is any way for you to recover. It may be a bit of a climb in some cases, but the good news is, you can definitely recover from it. We at Ammerman & Goldberg will help you learn the options available to help you get back on your feet after falling behind on your payments.

The first thing to note is that being severely behind on your payments can lead to a threat of foreclosure. If you have fallen that far behind and have no realistic way to pay back the debt you owe in time to avoid said foreclosure, your best bet will likely be filing for bankruptcy. As soon as you file, it will put a freeze on foreclosure proceedings. It will also put an end to harassment, so if you've been getting a lot of threatening letters or calls, this option might be extra attractive to you.

Can you get your car back if it's been repossessed?

Washington D.C. residents who have had a vehicle repossessed like you may be wondering one thing: is that the end of the road for you and your vehicle? Once your car is repossessed, is that battle considered lost? Will you ever have the chance to get it back?

Fortunately, once your vehicle has be repossessed, that isn't the end of your options. It's entirely possible for you to recover it, as Findlaw highlights, showing that there are multiple ways you can negotiate a recovery of your repossessed car. For example, you can get a loan reinstatement if you were not given sufficient warning in advance about the repossession. By paying off the reposession fees and any balances still due, you can retrieve your vehicle somewhat easily. However, this does not apply if you were given a warning.

What should you bring to your bankruptcy hearing?

As a resident of Washington D.C. who is having a bankruptcy hearing, you should be prepared and on top of all the things you might need. We here at Ammerman and Goldberg are here to lay those items out for you.

While the things you need might differ slightly from case to case, there are a few things that will always be required. This includes several pieces of personal documentation, including your social security card, a state-issued photo identification card, and the court notice.

What are some good ways to consolidate debt?

As a resident of Washington D.C. who is looking into consolidating your debts, you likely have one major question: what is the best possible way to consolidate? There are many options out there and each have different strengths and weaknesses that could benefit your situation, but the following are a good place to start your considerations.

Personal loans are one way to consolidate your debts. Generally speaking, this is an option for more extreme debts. If you can't consolidate your current debts onto one card, this might be for you. There are options for fixed interest rates or competitive interest rates, which can make it an attractive option despite the amount of paperwork that will have to go into filing for a personal loan. You also have to worry about the potential of collateral, which is sometimes required. However, personal loans can be multipurpose and are flexible, which is good for handling multiple debts.

Are you still eligible for bankruptcy?

As a resident of WAshington D.C. currently debating whether or not you should file for bankruptcy, you may also be wondering what your eligibility is. We at Ammerman & Goldberg will highlight the major changes that bankruptcy law has undergone over the last decade and how that might impact your qualifications.

Changes for Chapter 13 bankruptcy primarily involve the additional need for credit counseling. You must also finish a personal finance management course in order to file for either type of bankruptcy. These additional steps may have been put in place to help you avoid the bad habits that led to you filing for bankruptcy in the first place, thus preventing you from falling into debt a second time. Though it's additional effort and more hoops to jump through, it's designed to benefit you in the end.

What can I keep? The liquidation process in Chapter 7 bankruptcy

As a consumer who is overwhelmed by debt, you know that bankruptcy offers you a way out of the cycle of minimum payments, compounding interest and outstanding balances. Like many consumers in the Washington, D.C., area, you may be hesitant to explore this option due to the stigma that is often associated with bankruptcy and concern over what will happen to your stuff. However, with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have the option to both confront your debt and keep your possessions.

What is mortgage fraud?

As a homeowner in Washington D.C., you've likely heard warnings for all sorts of financial pit traps and fraudulent schemes lurking out there. Mortgage fraud, for example, has been on the rise for years and is still an issue to this day despite attempts to bring its levels back down.

So what is mortgage fraud? According to Freddie Mac, it's the use of false information to aquire a loan, inflate the worth of a property, or otherwise mess with the financial situation to benefit one particular party. It can even tie into violent crimes or criminal enterprises. It's considered one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. In 1996, there were 1,318 reported cases of mortgage loan fraud committed by borrowers. By 2005, this had increased to 25,989.

Protect yourself from consumer debt pitfalls

So you're a resident of Washington D.C. who has been in some financial trouble before, but you're trying to avoid slipping back into debt. We at Ammerman & Goldberg Bankruptcy Law Office wish to help give you tips to help you dodge those hurdles, especially in regard to consumer debt.

First, minimize temptation. All of those credit cards that stores hand out should be avoided. Ideally, you should have no more than 2 credit cards at any given time. Cutting into that number will both reduce your interest rates and monthly bills, and it will allow you to avoid the temptation of just being able to nip over to another credit card once you hit your limit on a different one.

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