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Archive for April, 2013

How to Repair Your Credit after Filing for Bankruptcy (Part 2)

Posted on: April 30th, 2013 by andrewmckenna
Diligently following these tips on how to repair your credit after bankruptcy can help you significantly improve your credit score and your overall financial standing.

Diligently following these tips on how to repair your credit after bankruptcy can help you significantly improve your credit score and your overall financial standing.

As a continuation of How to Repair Your Credit after Filing for Bankruptcy (Part 1), the following are some additional tips regarding what you can do to improve your credit score after you have filed for bankruptcy. Diligently following these tips can help you significantly improve your financial standing and get you down the road to the financial fresh start you are looking for.

  • Carefully review your credit report about every 6 months – When looking at your credit report, make sure that any debt that should have been discharged by your bankruptcy has been deleted and that there are no debts on the report that you have not accumulated yourself (as this could indicate that someone has stolen your identity and racked up debt under your name). Make sure to not request your credit report more often than every 6 months, as too many requests on your credit report can also damage your credit score.

    If you do see something on your credit report that should not be there, be sure to formally dispute the incorrect listing through writing (ideally through the credit bureau’s online service or via a written letter sent via certified mail so that you have a record of sending the communication). In such written communications, clearly state your name, social security number, birthdate and year and the specific account information associated with the dispute at hand.

  • In debt settlement negotiations, attempt to get the creditor to remove the debt from your credit report – When working with creditors to settle an outstanding debt that could not be discharged through your bankruptcy case, make sure that you negotiate to pay off some or all of the debt in exchange for the debt being wiped off your credit report. Settled debts that remain on your credit report will continue to hurt your credit score.

If you are struggling with debt and are looking for a financial fresh start, contact the trusted Colorado bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew McKenna. For more than 20 years, we have been successfully overseeing our Clients’ bankruptcy cases so they can resolve their financial issues as beneficially as possible. Our comprehensive legal knowledge coupled with our vast experience allows us to consistently and efficiently help our Clients achieve the best possible resolutions to their financial matters. For an evaluation of your case and expert advice regarding how to move forward, call us at (303) 730-8819.

How to Repair Your Credit after Filing for Bankruptcy (Part 1)

Posted on: April 30th, 2013 by andrewmckenna
Although a bankruptcy can stay on a borrower’s credit report for up to 10 years, borrowers can take the following steps to significantly repair their credit after bankruptcy.

Although a bankruptcy can stay on a borrower’s credit report for up to 10 years, borrowers can take the following steps to significantly repair their credit after bankruptcy.

Filing for bankruptcy is a great solution for many people who are overwhelmed by debt and who need a financial fresh start. However, simply filing for bankruptcy is typically the first step on the road to financial recover, as borrowers will have to continue to be diligent about their finances and their credit once their bankruptcy case is resolved. Although a bankruptcy can stay on a borrower’s credit report for up to 10 years (though it can be removed for some in as little as 7 years), borrowers who take the following steps to repair their credit can significantly improve their credit scores and their overall financial standing.

Here’s what you need to do to repair your credit after filing for bankruptcy:

  • Obtain at least 1 (but no more than about 3) secured credit cards – Secured credit cards are lines of credit that you will have to front a deposit for (or provide collateral for). By having a minimal number of these cards, you can focus on paying off the balance in full and on time every month, which will help improve your credit rating. To ensure that you are able to pay off the entire balance monthly (as carrying a balance on these cards may continue to hurt your credit score), only use the credit card for small purchases, like one grocery bill or your weekly gas purchases.
  • Choose your secured credit cards wisely – While you will want to pick a secured credit card that will allow you to put down the largest possible deposit you can afford (because, again, this will look good on your credit report), you will also want to steer clear of secured lines of credit that charge you excess fees (as you want your money to work for you – not the credit card company).

If you are struggling with debt and are looking for a financial fresh start, contact the trusted Colorado bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew McKenna. For more than 20 years, we have been successfully overseeing our Clients’ bankruptcy cases so they can resolve their financial issues as beneficially as possible. Our comprehensive legal knowledge coupled with our vast experience allows us to consistently and efficiently help our Clients achieve the best possible resolutions to their financial matters. For an evaluation of your case and expert advice regarding how to move forward, call us at (303) 730-8819.

An Introduction to Common Bankruptcy Terms (Part 2)

Posted on: April 26th, 2013 by andrewmckenna
Understanding common bankruptcy terms mean can be essential to alleviating your stress levels as your work towards securing a financial fresh start.

Understanding common bankruptcy terms mean can be essential to alleviating your stress levels as your work towards securing a financial fresh start.

In continuation of An Introduction to Common Bankruptcy Terms (Part 1), here are some additional bankruptcy terms that you will likely need to know as you prepare to file for bankruptcy. Understanding what these terms mean can be essential to improving your awareness of how the bankruptcy process proceeds while also alleviating your stress levels as your work towards securing a financial fresh start:

  • Bankruptcy exemptions refer to the maximum allowable value of specific assets, such as a debtor’s home, car and some personal items, that can be excluded from the bankruptcy estate and, therefore, ineligible to be liquidated to pay creditors. There are specific maximum values set for different types of property, and an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you decipher what property you own would be considered a viable bankruptcy exemption.
  • Wage garnishments refer to the seizure of a portion of your month wages or annual salary that is used to pay off creditors. For example, defaulting on a student loan can lead to creditors petitioning for your wages to be garnished in order to pay off your debt.
  • Automatic stays refer to court injunctions that are immediately enacted as soon as your petition to file for bankruptcy has been approved. Once an automatic stay is granted, creditors can no longer contact your, attempt to garnish your wages or file lawsuits against you in an effort to collect the debts you owe them.
  • Unsecured debt refers to any debt accumulated that does not have collateral backing it. The most common types of unsecured debt involved in bankruptcy cases include credit card debts, medical bills, etc. Unsecured debt is eligible to be discharged through bankruptcy.

If you are struggling with debt and are looking for a financial fresh start, contact the trusted Colorado bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew McKenna. For more than 20 years, we have been successfully overseeing our Clients’ bankruptcy cases so they can resolve their financial issues as beneficially as possible. Our comprehensive legal knowledge coupled with our vast experience allows us to consistently and efficiently help our Clients achieve the best possible resolutions to their financial matters. For an evaluation of your case and expert advice regarding how to move forward, call us at (303) 730-8819.

Tips for Avoiding Bankruptcy Fraud

Posted on: April 24th, 2013 by andrewmckenna
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or are in the process of seeing a bankruptcy through, here are some tips to keep in mind to avoid committing bankruptcy fraud.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or are in the process of seeing a bankruptcy through, here are some tips to keep in mind to avoid committing bankruptcy fraud.

Bankruptcy fraud, a serious federal crime, is often committed by people who are trying to defraud the federal government in order to reduce their debts while improve their economic standing. Unfortunately, in some cases, people who are unfamiliar with the complexities of the bankruptcy process may unintentionally commit bankruptcy fraud. Regardless of the intention to commit bankruptcy fraud, however, the IRS and the Department of Justice prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law, as they view instances of bankruptcy fraud as egregious attempts at gain at the cost of honest citizens who rely on bankruptcy as a solution to desperate financial problems.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or are in the process of seeing a bankruptcy through, here are some tips to keep in mind to avoid committing bankruptcy fraud:

  • Make sure to disclose all of your assets, as well as your debts: Failing to list all of your assets – including all of your real estate, bank accounts and personal assets (such as jewelry, cars, etc.) – can be viewed as trying to hide these assets from bankruptcy courts. When compiling a list of your assets, be sure to review the list multiple times to make sure that you have included everything.
  • Make sure you provide complete and accurate information about yourself: One of the most common ways people commit bankruptcy fraud is by failing to completely or accurately fill out all of the necessary forms. As you prepare the paperwork for your bankruptcy, take extra care to provide accurate personal information and to not leave anything out, as omissions can be seen as attempts to commit bankruptcy fraud.
  • Work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney: The documentation associated with filing for bankruptcy can be just as complicated as the process itself, and an experienced attorney can help you navigate through the process as seamlessly as possible. By working with a bankruptcy lawyer, you can avoid common pitfalls that can delay your case, cause your petition to be denied or, in the worst cases, result in you standing accused of committing bankruptcy fraud.

If you are struggling with debt and are looking for a financial fresh start, contact the trusted Colorado bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew McKenna. For more than 20 years, we have been successfully overseeing our Clients’ bankruptcy cases so they can resolve their financial issues as beneficially as possible. Our comprehensive legal knowledge coupled with our vast experience allows us to consistently and efficiently help our Clients achieve the best possible resolutions to their financial matters. For an evaluation of your case and expert advice regarding how to move forward, call us at (303) 730-8819.

An Introduction to Common Bankruptcy Terms (Part 1)

Posted on: April 22nd, 2013 by andrewmckenna
For those filing for bankruptcy, taking some time to become familiar with common bankruptcy terms can ease your stress as you work towards securing a financial fresh start.

For those filing for bankruptcy, taking some time to become familiar with common bankruptcy terms can ease your stress as you work towards securing a financial fresh start.

Going through bankruptcy for the first – or even the second – time can be a stressful and overwhelming process. While you will likely not be familiar with what you need to do or the process to come, even the terms used in bankruptcy can be confusing and disorienting. For those considering filing for bankruptcy, taking some time to become familiar with common bankruptcy terms can do wonders to improving your understanding of what is to come and to easing your stress as you work towards securing a financial fresh start. The following are some of the most common bankruptcy terms, along with their definitions:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is also commonly referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, is a form of federal debt relief in which a person can get his unsecured debts discharged in exchange for liquidating what assets he has to pay off creditors. It’s important to note that there are exemptions as to what assets are liquidated (meaning that a debtor may be able to keep his car, his home and some personal items) and that some debts, such as student loans and court-ordered payments, can’t be discharged through bankruptcy.
  • Means tests are qualifications tests to assess whether a debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A means test will account for a person’s income, his living expenses and his total monthly debt payments (among other factors).
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is also commonly referred to as reorganization bankruptcy, is a form of federal debt relief in which a person can set up a structured repayment schedule to pay off his creditors over the course of three to five years.
    Chapter 13 bankruptcy tends to be a better option for those who are earning a regular income and/or who do not qualify for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Discharge refers to debts being wiped off the books after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Bankruptcy estates are the compilation of a person’s debts and assets. Once a bankruptcy estate is compiled, the bankruptcy court will decide how the assets will or can be used to pay off debts.

If you are struggling with debt and are looking for a financial fresh start, contact the trusted Colorado bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew McKenna. For more than 20 years, we have been successfully overseeing our Clients’ bankruptcy cases so they can resolve their financial issues as beneficially as possible. Our comprehensive legal knowledge coupled with our vast experience allows us to consistently and efficiently help our Clients achieve the best possible resolutions to their financial matters. For an evaluation of your case and expert advice regarding how to move forward, call us at (303) 730-8819.

Protect Yourself: Reasons to Avoid Bankruptcy Mills

Posted on: April 21st, 2013 by andrewmckenna
Bankruptcy mills are legal firms that advertise aggressively, offer apparently low rates and ultimately provide appallingly poor service to those who need them the most.

Bankruptcy mills are legal firms that advertise aggressively and provide appallingly poor service to those who need them the most.

Finding the right bankruptcy lawyer to trust can be an overwhelming decision, particularly considering all of the competition out there. Unfortunately, some of the most alluring prospects in terms of saving you money up front may be the worst choices, as the old adage, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is bogus, particularly rings true with bankruptcy firms. What financially strapped consumers need to be especially cautious of is bankruptcy mills, legal firms that advertise aggressively, offer apparently low rates and ultimately provide appallingly poor service to those who need them the most.

Some indications of bankruptcy mills include (but are not limited to) firms that:

  • Allow non-attorney staff to oversee the majority of your case
  • Do not have proper or adequate supervision of non-attorney staff by lawyers licensed to practice bankruptcy law
  • Overburden their staff with bankruptcy cases, which increases the likelihood that such untrained and/or unsupervised staff will make egregious mistakes (such as missing court dates, failing to file essential documents with the courts on time, forgetting to respond to creditors and/or generally being unprepared to represent you in court)
  • Make it a habit of cutting corners and engaging in potentially unethical practices

Making the mistake of working with a bankruptcy mill can ultimately cause debtors a world of financial – and potentially legal – problems in the future. Some of the most common mistakes bankruptcy mills make can lead to devastating consequences, including (but not limited to the following), for already struggling debtors:

  • Unnecessary setbacks in bankruptcy cases
  • Rejection of a bankruptcy case
  • Accumulation of more debt (due to compounding interest)
  • Wage garnishments, foreclosures and even lawsuits filed by creditors

If you are struggling with debt and are looking for a financial fresh start, contact the trusted Colorado bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew McKenna. For more than 20 years, we have been successfully overseeing our Clients’ bankruptcy cases so they can resolve their financial issues as beneficially as possible. Our comprehensive legal knowledge coupled with our vast experience allows us to consistently and efficiently help our Clients achieve the best possible resolutions to their financial matters. For an evaluation of your case and expert advice regarding how to move forward, call us at (303) 730-8819.

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