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You can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions in the FAQ section of our website.

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Asset Protection

What Is Asset Protection?

In the context of bankruptcy, the term “asset protection” refers to the legal strategies and techniques used to protect assets from being seized or sold off to repay creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding. The goal of asset protection is to preserve as much of the debtor's property and assets as possible while eliminating their debts through bankruptcy.

What Is Guaranteed Asset Protection?

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) is a type of insurance coverage that is designed to protect individuals who have financed the purchase of a vehicle, such as a car, truck, or motorcycle.GAP insurance covers the discrepancy between the actual cash value of a vehicle and the outstanding loan balance if a total loss occurs.

What Is An Asset Protection Trust?

An Asset Protection Trust (APT) is a type of irrevocable trust that is specifically designed to protect the assets of the trust from potential creditors or legal claims. With an APT, the assets transferred into the trust are no longer owned by the person who established the trust, but instead are owned by the trust itself.


What Happens When You File For Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that enables you to seek relief from unmanageable debt. After you submit a bankruptcy petition, a judge will review your case and determine whether you qualify and which debts can be discharged. You will either be required to liquidate some of your assets or create a repayment plan, depending on the type of bankruptcy filed. Once you have completed the bankruptcy process, you will receive a discharge of some or all of your debts.

Do You Get Out Of All Debts If You Declare Bankruptcy?

It depends. In general, bankruptcy does not eliminate every type of debt. For instance, delinquent child support payments and some types of tax debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. However, you may be able to eliminate all of your debts if they are all dischargeable. The types of debts that can be discharged is determined by the type of bankruptcy you file, the specific circumstances of your case, and the applicable bankruptcy laws.

What Is The Downside Of Filing For Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy can have several downsides, including damage to your credit score, difficulty obtaining new lines of credit, and the potential loss of assets. However, we have found that many of our clients ultimately improve their credit scores (after taking an initial hit) because bankruptcy lowers their debt and allows them to make any remaining payments on time.

What Are Advantages Of Filing Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy can eliminate or restructure most or all of your debt, providing relief from overwhelming financial obligations. Additionally, when you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put in place, which prohibits your creditors from taking collection actions against you. This immediately ends collection calls, lawsuits, and wage garnishments.

Can You File Bankruptcy On Student Loans?

Yes, you can file bankruptcy on student loans, but only in limited situations. Under current U.S. bankruptcy law, you cannot discharge your student loans unless you can demonstrate that you will suffer “undue hardship” if the loans are not eliminated. To do this, you must prove that you currently cannot afford to pay your student loans, that your inability to pay is likely to continue in the future, and that you have made a good-faith effort to repay your debt.

Credit Cards

How To Settle Credit Card Debt When Lawsuit Has Been Filed?

One way to settle credit card debt when a lawsuit has been filed is to negotiate an agreement with the credit card company, such as a lump-sum payment or a payment plan. However, most people in this situation can’t afford to pay a lump sum or make regular payments because, if they could, they wouldn’t be facing a lawsuit for unpaid credit card debt in the first place. This is why filing for bankruptcy is often the better option.

What Happens to Unpaid Credit Card Debt After 7 Years?

In most cases, unpaid credit card debt will be removed from your credit report after seven years. This means that the debt will no longer appear on your credit report and will not be used to calculate your credit score. However, the debt itself does not go away after seven years. The creditor can still attempt to collect the debt, and you may be sued if the statute of limitations for collection has not expired.

How To Renegotiate Credit Card Debt?

If you are struggling to make payments on your credit card debt, you may be able to renegotiate the terms of your debt with your creditors. You can always explain your financial situation and ask if they are willing to negotiate the terms of your debt, such as reducing your interest rate, lowering your monthly payment, or waiving late fees or penalties. However, renegotiating your credit card debt is not always possible, and bankruptcy is typically a more effective and comprehensive solution.

What Happens To Unpaid Credit Card Debt If You Move Abroad?

If you move abroad with unpaid credit card debt, the debt doesn’t disappear. While it is unlikely that a credit card company will attempt to pursue the debt in another country, it is possible, and if you ever plan to return to the U.S., leaving unpaid debt to go collections will seriously damage your credit score. Additionally, if you maintain a U.S. bank account or employer, your wages and savings could be subject to garnishment.


What Does Foreclosure Mean?

Foreclosure is a legal process a lender can use to repossess property from a borrower who has defaulted on loan payments. This usually occurs when the borrower fails to make their mortgage payments for a certain period of time. The lender can initiate legal proceedings to take possession of the property and sell it to cover the outstanding loan amount.

How Long Does Foreclosure Take?

The time frame of the foreclosure process varies based on several factors, such as the state where the property is located, the lender's policies and procedures, and whether the borrower contests the foreclosure. In general, foreclosure can take anywhere from several months to over a year to complete.

When Is It Too Late To Stop Foreclosure?

Filing for bankruptcy can often stop foreclosure, even if the lender has already initiated legal proceedings. However, if the foreclosure sale has already taken place before the bankruptcy is filed, it may be too late to stop the foreclosure through bankruptcy. In this case, the borrower may still be able to discharge any remaining debt related to the foreclosure, but filing for bankruptcy will not necessarily prevent the loss of the property.

How Long Is The Pre-Foreclosure Process?

The length of the pre-foreclosure period can vary depending on state laws and the lender's policies and procedures. Generally, the pre-foreclosure process begins when a borrower misses several consecutive mortgage payments. The lender will then issue a Notice of Default, and the borrower is given a certain amount of time to cure the default. If the borrower does not pay in time, the lender will proceed with foreclosure.

How Long Does A Foreclosure Stay On Your Credit Report?

Generally, a foreclosure will stay on a person's credit report for seven years from the date of the first missed payment that led to the foreclosure.

What Is REO Foreclosure?

REO or "real estate owned” foreclosure refers to properties where the lender has taken ownership after the property fails to sell at the foreclosure auction. At this point, the lender becomes the owner of the property, and typically, the property is then listed for sale on the open market.

How Far Behind In Property Taxes Before Foreclosure?

Property tax foreclosure laws vary by state, so the specific amount of time a homeowner can be delinquent on property taxes before facing foreclosure will depend on where the property is located. However, most states require that a homeowner be delinquent on property taxes for at least one year or more before the local government can begin foreclosure proceedings.

Medical Bills

Do Medical Bills Affect Your Credit Score?

If you have unpaid medical bills, they may be reported to credit reporting agencies, which can hurt your credit score. However, it’s important to note that some credit scoring models treat medical debt differently than other forms of debt, and recent changes to credit scoring guidelines have made it less likely for medical debt to have a significant impact on a person's credit score.

What Happens If You Don't Pay Medical Bills?

If you don't pay your medical bills on time, you may be charged late fees and interest charges, which can increase the amount you owe. Unpaid medical bills may be sent to a collection agency or reported to the credit bureaus, and the medical provider or collection agency may even take legal action against you, such as filing a lawsuit. If a court judgment is obtained against you, the medical provider or collection agency may also be able to garnish your wages or bank accounts to satisfy the debt.

Are Medical Bills Tax Deductible?

Medical bills can be tax deductible in some circumstances. On your federal tax return, you can typically deduct the portion of your medical bills that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Can Medical Bills Go To Collections?

Yes, medical bills can go to collections if they are not paid on time. Medical providers may send unpaid bills to a third-party collection agency to try to recover the debt.

What Is The Minimum Monthly Payment On Medical Bills?

The minimum monthly payment on medical bills can vary depending on the medical provider and the terms of the payment agreement. In some cases, the medical provider may require a minimum monthly payment to be made, while in other cases, the patient may have more flexibility in setting the payment amount.

Who Qualifies For Financial Assistance For Medical Bills?

Financial assistance for medical bills may be available to individuals who meet certain eligibility criteria. The specific requirements for financial assistance vary based on location, the medical provider, and the type of assistance program, but some common factors that may be considered include income level, insurance status, the medical condition involved, and the patient’s residency and citizenship.

Who Is Responsible For The Medical Bills Of A Deceased Parent?

The deceased person’s estate would be responsible for paying any outstanding debts, including medical bills. If the estate does not have sufficient assets to pay for the medical expenses, the surviving family members typically would not be responsible for the debt unless they co-signed an agreement or otherwise agreed to take it on. In community property states, surviving spouses may also be responsible for medical debt in certain circumstances.


How Does Repossession Work?

Repossession is a legal process that a creditor or lender can use to retake possession of property that has been pledged as collateral for a loan or debt, typically when the borrower fails to make the required payments. Repossession laws and procedures depend on the state where the property is located and can vary based on the type of property involved.

How To Remove Repossession From Credit Card Report?

If a valid repossession has been reported on your credit report, you may be able to negotiate with the creditor to remove the repossession from your credit report. However, the creditor is under no legal obligation to do this, and unless there is a reason to dispute the validity of the derogatory mark, the repossession will typically remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of the repossession.

How Much Are Repossession Fees?

The cost of repossession fees can vary depending on the state, the type of property being repossessed, and the specific terms of the loan or debt agreement, but they are generally at least several hundred dollars.

How To Stop Repossession?

If you are experiencing financial difficulties and are at risk of defaulting on your loan or debt, it's essential to communicate with your lender as soon as possible. They may be willing to make alternate arrangements, such as restructuring the loan or setting up a payment plan. However, if your lender is unwilling to work with you or you cannot afford to make a monthly payment, filing for bankruptcy can also stop the repossession process.

How Many Points Does A Repossession Drop From Your Credit Score?

The impact of a repossession on your credit score can vary depending on your overall financial history and the specific scoring model being used. However, in general, a repossession will have a significant negative impact on your credit score and can cause it to drop by 100 points or more.

How Long Does Repossession Take?

The length of time a repossession takes can vary depending on several factors, such as the lender's policies, the type of property being repossessed, and the laws of the state where the property is located. However, repossession can generally occur as soon as the borrower defaults on their first payment.

How Long After Repossession Can I Get A Mortgage?

Repossession will typically have a negative impact on your credit score, which can make it more challenging to qualify for a mortgage. In general, a repossession will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of the first missed payment. However, the length of time you may need to wait after a repossession before you can get a mortgage depends on several factors, including the type of loan you're seeking, the lender's policies, and your overall credit history.

Wage Garnishment

What Is Wage Garnishment?

Wage garnishment is a legal process in which a portion of an employee's wages is withheld by their employer and paid directly to a creditor or government agency to satisfy a debt that the employee owes. Garnishment typically occurs when a creditor obtains a court judgment against an individual for a debt they owe, but your wages can be garnished for certain types of debt without a court order.

How Long Does It Take For Wage Garnishment To Start?

The length of time it takes for wage garnishment to start can vary, but once a garnishment order has been obtained and served to your employer, your employer will typically start to withhold money from your next paycheck.

How Can I Stop Wage Garnishment Immediately?

Filing for bankruptcy can put an immediate stop to wage garnishment. As soon as you file your petition, the court will issue an automatic stay that prevents creditors from taking collection actions against you, including garnishing your wages.

How To Stop Student Loan Wage Garnishment?

You may be able to stop student loan wage garnishment by rehabilitating your defaulted student loans or consolidating them into a new loan. Rehabilitation involves entering into an agreement with your loan provider and making nine consecutive on-time payments, while consolidation involves combining all of your federal loans into a single loan with a new repayment plan. If you are struggling with serious financial difficulties, you may also be able to have your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, which would stop the garnishment.

How To File A Claim Of Exemption Wage Garnishment?

A wage garnishment exemption is a legal protection that allows low-income or otherwise qualified individuals to keep a portion of their wages from being garnished by creditors or government agencies. If you're facing wage garnishment and believe you are entitled to an exemption, you can file a claim of exemption by submitting the appropriate exemption forms to the court or agency that issued the garnishment order. The exact process and types of exemptions available vary by state.