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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

Why missing paperwork may eliminate billions in private student loans

Looking back, one of the more shocking aspects of the not-so-distant subprime mortgage crisis was that billions of dollars in loans were ultimately thrown out by courts in collection actions owing to the fact that lenders simply couldn't provide the necessary documentation.

While you would naturally think something like this would prove to be a historical anomaly, recent reports indicate that it's actually happening all over again. This time, however, it does not relate to mortgage debt, but rather private student loan debt.

Does the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act extend to bankruptcy proceedings?

As a nation, we are eternally grateful for the bravery shown and the sacrifices made by the men and women serving in our armed forces. While we can never truly repay them for their efforts and their commitment, we nevertheless try our best through the provision of healthcare, education, employment and other benefits.

Indeed, another way in which the nation, or more specifically Congress, has expressed its gratitude to our armed forces personnel is through the passage of the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act or the SCRA.     

Is it time to say goodbye to some of those credit cards?

Chances are good the last time you bought anything -- from that tank of gas on the way home yesterday to that cup of coffee on your way into work this morning -- you paid for it with a credit card. Chances are also good that you had multiple card options from which to choose, perhaps combing through your wallet to find some preferred plastic.

While it's always good to have some latitude when it comes to credit cards, there might come a time when you've simply accumulated too many and need to consider taking out your scissors. In other words, you may need to consider closing some accounts for good.

A complex process: Converting Chapter 13 to Chapter 7

Once an individual facing serious financial difficulties makes the important decision to seek the protection provided by personal bankruptcy, he or she will immediately be confronted by another important decision. Specifically, they'll need to decide whether their fresh financial start will come courtesy of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If they are able to pursue the former, they will be granted a discharge after a trustee liquidates some of their non-exempt assets and divides the proceeds among their creditors. If they pursue the latter, they will be granted a discharge after completing a three- to five-year repayment plan in which their disposable income is divided by the trustee among their creditors.

What changes are coming to your credit report?

This coming weekend, most people will understandably be preoccupied with all things Fourth of July from hosting backyard barbeques and pool parties to attending parades and finding a good spot for fireworks.

As such, people might not realize that starting Saturday, the three major credit bureaus -- TransUnion, Experian and Equifax -- are instituting a major change intended to help improve the transparency and accuracy of their credit reports.   

What role does the U.S. Trustee play in the bankruptcy process? -- II

Last time, our blog discussed how those who are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will more than likely be entering uncharted territory, such that they have little to no familiarity with the hearings, the parties or even the terms.

In recognition of this reality and the need to help bankruptcy filers form a core foundation of knowledge, we began taking a closer look at the role played by the United States Trustee in the consumer bankruptcy process. Having established their historical background and general duties, today's post will focus on their duties as they relate to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

What role does the U.S. Trustee play in the bankruptcy process?

Once the important decision to file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is made, individuals may soon find themselves in unfamiliar territory, attending proceedings, encountering parties and hearing terms that are all entirely foreign to them.

While their legal representative will do their best to help them understand everything they encounter, it can nevertheless be helpful to have a core foundation of knowledge upon which to build. To that end, today's post will take a closer look at the United States Trustee and the role they play in the consumer bankruptcy process.

Experts remind college grads to be proactive about student loans

It's a truly exciting time of the year for young people throughout Florida and across the nation. That's because many will be -- or perhaps already have -- marched across a stage to receive their college diploma, the culmination of years of hard work and, for many, a major financial commitment.

Indeed, statistics show that as many as seven in ten college students graduate with an average of roughly $30,000 in student loan debt. Despite this reality, at least one survey showed that most recent college graduates were unaware of the interest rate they were paying or even how much they owed.

How consumers can put auto loans in the rearview mirror

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the total amount of household debt here in the U.S. at the end of 2016 was $12.58 trillion. If this seem like an incomprehensible number, consider that just last week this same branch of the Federal Reserve released a report indicating that this number grew to $12.7 trillion during the first three months of 2017, surpassing 2008's pre-recession levels.

While these macro-level discussions of household debt can prove unnerving for most anyone, serving as a sort of a reminder of their own micro-level responsibilities, it's always important for people to understand that there are effective strategies for addressing most types of debt.

SCOTUS: Debt collectors seeking expired debts don't violate FDCPA

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision in a fascinating case -- Midland Funding LLC v. Johnson -- examining whether debt collectors who attempt to collect on expired debts during the bankruptcy process are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The case in question revolves around Johnson, an Alabama woman who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection back in 2014. During this time, Midland Funding, a debt collection firm, filed a claim seeking to recover $1,879 in credit card debt that was incurred by Johnson over ten years prior to her bankruptcy filing.

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