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Category: Debt Management

6 Alternatives to Foreclosure

Foreclosure is a term that’s plagued with financial and social stigma and it brings to mind struggle, irresponsibility and loss. But though it has this stigma, many don’t realize that foreclosure could really happen to anyone. Anything from an unexpected loss in the family to prolonged unemployment, or even a sudden illness could lead to a financial situation that leaves people struggling to keep their homes.

As if a foreclosure wasn’t bad enough, it can also wreak havoc on a homeowner’s credit score, making for an ugly financial situation. The good news is that there are at least six alternatives to foreclosure:

Talk to Your Lender about Loan Modification

As with most bills, a lot of financial situations could be remedied by simply being honest with your lender. If you have missed payments and trouble paying, talk to your lender about a loan modification. Though you must qualify depending on their standards, a loan modification could mean a lower interest rate, a longer amount of time to pay, and of course lower payments.

Rent Out a Room or the Property

It seems like an obvious action to take, but it’s an alternative that’s often overlooked. If a homeowner is having trouble paying the mortgage, it may be worthwhile to make use of extra space in the home and rent out a room to a tenant. If this isn’t possible, it may be worthwhile to rent out the entire property – this way, most of the mortgage gets covered while the homeowner seeks a more affordable place to live.

Refinance

If you have a good or even passable credit rating and enough equity in the home, refinancing is a good option to at least look into. Refinancing can bring with it a better rate, no matter how slight, and in turn bring more affordable payments.

Forbearance

Also known as a payment plan, forbearance is an arrangement that allows you to work out a temporary payment plan with your lender. It’s also known as a hardship program – in these cases, the payments may be lowered or stopped altogether to allow a homeowner to catch up.

Friendly Foreclosure

A “friendly foreclosure” is just another term for a process called a “deed-in-lieu.” It’s fairly straightforward on paper: rather than allow the bank to foreclose your home, you would return the deed of the home on your own volition.

Short Sale

The most common route taken by those facing foreclosure, a short sale is just that: selling the house for less than what is owed under approved parameters to get out of paying more than the home is worth. The impact to your credit is still there but can be significantly lower than foreclosure and friendly foreclosure.

Our Experienced, Friendly Debt Attorneys Can Help Save Your Home

Your home is your castle. It’s likely the largest investment you’ve ever made and it’s the place where you and your family feel safe. However, when unmanageable debt threatens your home, it’s completely understandable if you feel overwhelmed and frustrated. The mortgage company wants its payments and when a homeowner gets into significant arrears, it can be very difficult to avoid foreclosure.

However, all hope is not lost. At the law firm of Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP, we care about our clients and have helped countless homeowners in South Jersey remain in their homes through a variety of methods. Contact our Collingswood, NJ office today to speak with an experienced, friendly lawyer who will explain your rights and options, answer all of your questions, and do what’s necessary to save your home.

Contact Us Online or Call 856-963-5000 to Get Your Free Initial Consultation

Picture of money and a gavel.

5 Debt Relief Options in New Jersey

Have you ever made a big purchase and thought it was a big investment? Maybe you decided to build equity by owning a home, or you saw an advantage to owning a second home. Perhaps you thought owning a car would give you convenience and independence for years down the road.

But then, the bills started to pile up and now you’re overwhelmed with debt. You need to get out of debt but might not know your options. If you’re in New Jersey, the following are five debt relief options.

1) Strip off your second mortgage. If your first mortgage balance is higher than the value of your real estate, you may be able to “strip off” any mortgage that you can classify as wholly unsecured debt. Learn more here.

2) Cramdown your car loan. If you’ve owned your car fewer than two-and-a-half years and its worth is less than the amount you owe, you can reduce the debt to the value of your car.

3) Loan discharge with Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Learn more here.

4) Modify your loans, possibly with a loan extension. This depends on your mortgage company’s voluntary participation in the federal government’s loan modification program. Learn more here.

5) Seek a short sale. Your lender or mortgage company might agree to accept less money than the outstanding mortgage to satisfy a debt. Learn more here.

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal debt relief option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click here to schedule a free consultation with our trusted bankruptcy attorneys.

How to Get Out of Debt Without Filing for Bankruptcy

3 Ways to Get Out of Debt Without Filing for BankruptcyBankruptcy isn’t right for everyone. That might sound odd coming from a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy cases. We’re here to help anyone who is confident they want to file for bankruptcy, but we’re not going to sugar coat it.

Getting out of debt is hard. There’s no getting around it, you will need to make sacrifices, swallow your pride, and difficult decisions to dig yourself out of the hole. If you’re not comfortable filing for bankruptcy, there are some things you can do to avoid it.

3 Ways to Get Out of Debt Without Filing for Bankruptcy

1) Ask your family for money. This option always makes people cringe. Nobody wants to admit to their loved ones that they need financial help and asking for handouts can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. You’re in a bad situation, and family members may be willing to help you out of it.

2) Financial restructuring. This includes working out deals with your debtors and coming up with debt consolidation or settlement plans. It could also include refinancing your mortgage to make it easier to pay back your debtors.

3) Sell your assets. One of the main reasons people fear chapter 7 bankruptcy is because they don’t want to lose their home or possessions. While you may not sell your home, you might have to sell some of your other major possessions (cars, boats, etc.) in order to avoid bankruptcy.

Again, the process of getting out of debt can be painful, but sometimes you have to make difficult choices to help your family. Unfortunately, sometimes even the things mentioned in this article aren’t enough to make things right. Bankruptcy might still end up being your best chance to start over and give yourself a better future.

Considering Bankruptcy? Work With Our Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys In NJ

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click Here to Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Trusted Bankruptcy Attorneys

expensive christmas, money being pushed at santa

The Connection Between Stress and Bankruptcy

The holidays are a stressful time.

Not just because you have to see your family members again, but because the holidays can be expensive! 

Those who are already worried about finances may dread the holidays, as they dig themselves deeper into debt during this time. People often find that considerable financial obligations and large debts can result in an incredible amount of stress already. In fact, a lot of people who are struggling underneath a mountain of debt bring about even more stress by doing everything they possibly can to avoid filing for bankruptcy. The reality is that filing for bankruptcy may be the best decision you ever make. It also has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of stress in your life.

Imagine what it will be like to no longer have to worry about being called by creditors and threatened by lawyers looking to collect on behalf of their clients. Picture a day in which you will no longer be worried about your financial struggles being discovered by your friends, co-workers, bosses, or family members. Bankruptcy is often the first step toward rebuilding both your credit and your life.

Debt Problems and Health Struggles

santa piggy bankYou deserve to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, financial difficulties often lead to mounting levels of debt, stress, and general unhappiness. Beyond that, the mental and emotional stress brought about by financial concerns can also result in poor physical health. Stress and money problems are part of a vicious cycle. The stress that comes with financial difficulties often leads to serious medical conditions. The Mayo Clinic noted that chronic stress can have deleterious effects on a person’s body and mind and place that person at risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease, severe headaches, depression, anxiety, digestive difficulties, sleep problems, obesity, skin conditions, and memory impairment. In the worst cases, too much stress can result in serious illness and even death.

Many times, the best way to break free from this cycle is to file for bankruptcy and get a fresh start. The benefits of declaring bankruptcy go way beyond clearing your debts and resolving your financial problems. In fact, it is remarkable how many people in poor health suddenly find that they are healthier, and happier, after finally filing for bankruptcy. Do not be afraid to take control of your life back from the creditors who harass you on a daily basis. And do not let the stigma of bankruptcy or a picture-perfect holiday stop you from doing what is in your best interests. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can take a look at your finances, devise a plan for getting you out of debt, and handle all the legal issues while you focus your energies on what really matters this holiday season; your health, your happiness, and your loved ones.

 

Talk to A Trusted Bankruptcy Attorney or Debt Lawyer

Stressed with financial problems? Give us a call at 856-963-5000 and we will walk you through every step.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click Here To Schedule A Free Consultation Today!

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal debt relief option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

My Bonus Check and Filing For Bankruptcy

Getting a bonus check from your employer for all of your hard work? That’s great! But what happens to your bonus if you file for bankruptcy? It depends on a few things:

  • When you get the bonus
  • If you normally get this bonus every year
  • The type of bankruptcy you file for
  • Where you file

A Bonus Before Bankruptcy

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (when you don’t repay most of the companies you owe) and you get your bonus check within six months before you file, you might not get to keep it. The trustee in your case averages all of your income within six months before filing, which can include bonus checks.

If the check is large enough, you may not even be allowed to file for Chapter 7 at all and instead need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

When you file for Chapter 13 (in which you slowly repay the companies you owe), the same rules apply. If you’ve received a bonus within six months before filing, you are required to tell your lawyer and trustee. However, if you normally get this bonus every year, it will most likely be factored into your repayment plan. But if this is a surprise, one-time bonus, there’s a chance it won’t be factored in. It depends on your bankruptcy plan.

A Bonus After Bankruptcy

The trustee also looks at what income you will receive within one year after filing (in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy), including some bonuses. Depending on the other funds and property that you own, your bonus may be added in.

The good news is a future bonus won’t determine if you can file for bankruptcy or not—that’s already determined by income before filing.

If you file for Chapter 13 and receive the bonus after filing, it may be factored into your repayment plan. This depends on if the bonus is something you normally get every year or if it’s a one-time bonus.

In fact, any raise at work, overtime payments or extra income may be used to repay creditors more quickly.

Where You File

State laws differ, so check with your lawyer to see if a specific state law will determine where or not you can keep a bonus check.

What You Can Do

  1. If you receive a bonus and want to keep it, wait to file for bankruptcy until six months after receiving it. There’s still a chance it can affect the outcome of your bankruptcy case, but if you’re able to wait six months and one day, do it.
  2. Ask a lawyer. We’re here to help you with questions like these. Remember, we work for you, so we’re trying to get you the best result possible.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Don’t hide it. If you receive a bonus, the trustee and your lawyers will know based on their access to your income status. This is a stressful situation, but being honest with your lawyer will help you more than being deceiving.

This is all a part of your bankruptcy plan, which your lawyer will help you with. Your plan may tell you to give any extra income—like bonuses—to the trustee, or you may be able to keep it.

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or any other legal debt relief option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click Here To Request A Free Consultation With Our Trusted Bankruptcy Attorneys

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