The Elliot Legal Group, P.A. Offices | Fort Lauderdale and Miami

3101 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 609,
Oakland Park, Florida 33306

*Licensed in England and Wales, Florida and Washington D.C.

Fort Lauderdale

754-332-2101

Miami

305-399-3832

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Ft. Lauderdale Bankruptcy Law AttorneyMost Americans have some form of debt. This may include credit card debts, auto loans, the mortgage on a home, or other amounts owed to a creditor. For those who are able to make ongoing payments, debts can be troublesome but manageable. However, families who experience financial difficulties may end up with too much debt to handle, and this can lead to ongoing issues such as harassment from creditors, a lower credit score, or the foreclosure of a home. Fortunately, bankruptcy can provide relief for people who are in these situations, and it may allow for the elimination of certain debts. Debtors will need to understand what types of debts can and cannot be discharged.

Non-Dischargeable Debts

Depending on a family’s financial situation and the assets they own, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow for the discharge of most debts after certain assets are liquidated, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow debts to be consolidated into a repayment plan, with any remaining debts being discharged after the plan has been completed. However, even after completing the bankruptcy process, a debtor may be required to repay certain debts, including:

  • Student loans - Most of the time, student loans provided through a government lender such as Sallie Mae, as well as private student loans that are backed by the federal government, cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. In some cases, a person may be able to have these loans eliminated by showing that repaying them would cause undue hardship, but few people are able to meet this requirement. Those who are unable to make student loan payments may be able to negotiate affordable repayment plans with creditors.

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Ft. Lauderdale Chapter 13 AttorneyIf you have experienced financial difficulties and are struggling to pay the debts you owe while also covering your ongoing bills and expenses, it may seem like there is no end in sight to this situation. Extensive debts can be especially problematic if you are a homeowner, and if you have gotten behind on your mortgage payments, you may be facing the foreclosure of your home. However, it is important to understand that you have options that may allow you to avoid the loss of your home, including filing for bankruptcy. For many homeowners, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best option for debt relief, and by understanding how this process works, they can ensure that they will be able to continue to own their home.

Addressing Mortgage Payments and Other Debts in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

One of the key things to note about bankruptcy is that when a debtor files a bankruptcy petition, this will create an automatic stay that will require creditors to cease all collection activities. If a lender has initiated the foreclosure process, the automatic stay will put a stop to these actions, ensuring that a homeowner will not be forced out of their home. This can create “breathing room” for a debtor as they determine how to address their debts.

When a person files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they will propose a repayment plan in which they will pay off some of the debts they owe. This plan will last between three and five years, and once it is completed, any remaining unsecured debts that were included in the plan will be discharged, and the debtor will no longer be required to pay the amount owed.

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FL foreclosure lawyerAny homeowner who is facing foreclosure will be understandably worried about the prospect of losing their home. This issue has become a major concern during the COVID-19 crisis since many families have experienced job losses or other financial difficulties that have caused them to struggle to make their ongoing mortgage payments. While a moratorium has been placed on foreclosures for federally-backed loans, many homeowners may still face the potential loss of their homes if they cannot become current on mortgage payments once the moratorium ends. Fortunately, some homeowners may be able to avoid foreclosure by negotiating loan modifications with their lender.

Types of Mortgage Loan Modifications

The foreclosure process can result in financial losses for a lender. To avoid this, lenders are often open to negotiating with borrowers to find solutions that will ensure that they can continue owning their homes and making mortgage payments. The types of loan modifications available to homeowners may include:

  • Forbearance - A borrower who is experiencing temporary financial hardship may ask for mortgage payments to be postponed or reduced for a certain amount of time. These payments will eventually need to be paid. In many cases, missed payments will be added to the end of the term of the loan. However, other arrangements may also be made, such as the agreement to temporarily increase the amount a person will pay each month once they resume making payments.
  • Interest rate reduction or modifications - Mortgages with adjustable interest rates may sometimes cause financial hardship if the amount of a person’s monthly payments increases. A borrower may be able to convert their loan to a fixed interest rate to ensure that payments will remain at the same amount. A homeowner may also be able to negotiate a reduced interest rate, lowering the amount that they will be required to pay each month.
  • Extension of the loan’s term - A re-amortization will allow a homeowner to add more years to the length of their loan. Paying off the same amount over a longer period of time will result in a reduction in the amount of monthly payments, although it will also result in more interest being paid over the full term of the loan.
  • Principal reduction - The lender may agree to reduce the total amount owed in a loan, essentially forgiving a portion of the borrower’s debt. This type of modification is fairly rare, and lenders will usually prefer other options that allow them to reduce their potential financial losses.

Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Foreclosure Defense Attorney

If financial difficulties have affected your ability to make mortgage payments, or if you have defaulted on your mortgage, you will want to understand what you can do to avoid foreclosure. Elliot Legal Group can advise you of your options, and we will provide you with representation when negotiating loan modifications. We can also help you determine whether bankruptcy may allow you to avoid the loss of your home. Contact our Broward County foreclosure defense lawyer today by calling 754-332-2101.

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FL bankruptcy lawyerWhen you or a family member is sick, the only thing on your mind is getting the help that you need to feel better. Unfortunately, in the United States, costs for medical care are exorbitant. Not only do you have to pay monthly premiums for health insurance, but then you are also typically responsible for a portion of the cost of the services you receive, in addition to any co-pays or out-of-pocket costs you may incur, such as prescription medications or other medical supplies. This can leave many people in tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt, which can be extremely difficult to pay for some families, especially on top of any other debts they may already be paying. Filing bankruptcy for medical debts is not uncommon, but there are a few things you should know before you pull the trigger:

  • There is actually no such thing as a “medical bankruptcy.” Even though you can discharge medical debt through bankruptcy, there is actually no such thing as a “medical bankruptcy.” To discharge medical debt, you would have to file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 3 bankruptcy to have your medical debts discharged. Medical debt is considered unsecured debt, so it would be dealt with in the same way as credit card debt.
  • You should explore other options before you file for bankruptcy. When it comes to medical bills, there are also other options to explore before you jump to bankruptcy. If your medical debt is the only thing causing you distress, you may want to consider setting up a payment plan through your provider. Most of the time, medical providers are willing to allow you to make payments if you cannot pay in full.
  • Filing for bankruptcy would also discharge other debts. As previously mentioned, medical bankruptcy does not exist, so you would have to choose between a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to discharge medical debt. However, when you file bankruptcy, you must include all of your debts, which would then be discharged at the end of the bankruptcy. This means you would no longer be responsible for paying those debts, but it also means that you would have to give up any assets that were not included in Florida’s exemptions.

Our Broward County Bankruptcy Attorney is Here to Help

Bankruptcy can be a breath of relief for many people, especially if they are drowning in debt. However, bankruptcy can also affect areas of your life, which is why you speak with an experienced Ft. Lauderdale, FL bankruptcy lawyer. The Elliot Legal Group has helped a multitude of clients through the bankruptcy process for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. To schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, call our office today at 754-332-2101.

 

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FL foreclosure lawyerWhen you buy your first home, you likely see the rest of your life right in front of you—the family meals you will make in your kitchen, the time you will spend decorating each room, and the memories you will make with your family each year. While you are imagining all of these happy times, the thought of financial difficulties and the possibility of foreclosure is probably the last thing on your mind. Buying and owning a home is exciting, but making mortgage payments during a financial recession can be terrifying. If you are struggling to make ends meet, it is important to understand what the foreclosure process entails so that you can avoid losing your home.

A Florida Foreclosure

The foreclosure process is hardly immediate and you do have options to avoid foreclosure if you take the appropriate steps. If, however, you wait to take action, you can find yourself losing everything. In order to avoid waiting too long and diminishing your home-saving options, it is important to know the timeline and steps of the foreclosure process.

  • First month missed payment - Your lender will immediately begin to contact you after you miss your first monthly mortgage payment. This contact will be over the phone or through a letter, explaining that your payment is missing.
  • Second month missed payment - After two months have passed, your lender will take more direct action to get in contact with you to ask about why you have been missing your mortgage payments. While you may wish to avoid these phone calls, it is important to take initiative and explain why the payments have been missed. If you show that you are trying to resolve the situation, your lender may be more likely to give some leniency, such as allowing you to provide one month’s payment at the time and create a new payment plan.
  • Third month missed payment - Three months of missing payments will result in an official letter from your lender stating the amount that you owe and providing a 30-day deadline to provide the money. Known as a “Demand Letter” or “Notice to Accelerate,” this letter will require a certain amount to be paid, typically the mortgage amount in full, or the lender will begin the foreclosure proceedings. If you promptly respond to this letter, you are likely still able to work something out with your lender, such as paying a minimum or creating a payment plan.
  • Fourth month missed payment - At this point, the 30 days will have expired from the Demand Letter or Notice to Accelerate that you received last month. If you have not paid the required amount in full, you will be referred to your lender’s attorneys to begin the foreclosure process. You will also be required to pay these attorney fees as part of the foreclosure.
  • Public trustee’s sale - The attorney involved in your foreclosure will schedule a public sale of your property. You will be notified of the date by mail and the sale will be advertised in your local paper. Once you receive this notice, you have until the date of the sale to make payment arrangements with your lender. After this deadline, the foreclosure will be completed and you will be required to move out of your home and find alternative living arrangements.

Contact a Broward County Foreclosure Attorney

Whether you are about to miss your first mortgage payment or have had months pass without paying your mortgage, it is important that you turn to a foreclosure attorney for help. By working with a reputable real estate lawyer, you can determine the most financially beneficial way to save your home. Our firm is dedicated to helping those who are facing financial difficulties come out of foreclosure and get started on the right foot. If foreclosure is on the horizon, contact our Fort Lauderdale real estate lawyer at 754-332-2101 today.

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