Blog
Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee

Call Today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

Archive for the ‘Texas bankruptcy lawyer’ tag

How to Deal with the Debt of a Deceased Family Member in Texas

January 9th, 2015 at 9:22 am

debt of a deceased family member, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerA death in the family is always a difficult time for loved ones. Add to that the financial costs of a funeral, and times of mourning can become even more challenging.

If the deceased has debt, it is important to know if relatives are responsible for paying creditors. When a person leaves behind debt from credit cards and other sources, it may be wise to contact a bankruptcy attorney for guidance.

No two debt cases are alike. If the debt was from an account that a living relative owned, the debt will be theirs to pay regardless of the situation. Debt from joint accounts and co-signed loans may also transfer to living relatives.

Selling Off Assets

When a person dies, it is common to sell assets to pay for debts. In some cases, though, the value of the deceased’s assets is not enough to cover the debt. In these cases, it may be wise to consult a bankruptcy attorney to discuss the options.

Talking with Creditors

In many cases, it makes sense to have an honest and open conversation with the deceased’s creditors about the situation. Some creditors may choose to reduce the amount owed—depending on the value of the debt—in the event that the debtor passes away.

Dealing with Debt in Texas

The process of paying off a deceased relative’s debt in Texas may seem complicated—and in many cases, it is. Community property law stipulates that relatives may have to pay the debt of a deceased family member.

It is important to remember that every situation is unique. For this reason, the guidance of a family attorney may prove invaluable.

If you are struggling to pay debt and would like to discuss your situation with a lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee at 210-342-3400. Mr. McGhee is an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, and he may be able to help you reach financial stability and end harassment from creditors. Call us today for a free initial consultation.

What Does Bankruptcy Really Do to Your Credit Score?

December 9th, 2014 at 9:30 am

bankruptcy credit score, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerMany Americans have a limited understanding of bankruptcy and credit in general. For this reason, financial crises can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

One topic that concerns many debtors who are considering bankruptcy is how the process will affect their credit scores. While bankruptcy will most likely have some impact on a credit score, debtors should not view this option as a financial death sentence.

One of the truest statements about bankruptcy is that it is different for everyone. Sometimes, it is the most appropriate way out of debt; other times, there may more effective alternatives. A helpful way to get a firm understanding of one’s financial situation is to sit down with a legal expert who can offer a firm understanding of the law surrounding debt relief options.

Yes, Bankruptcy Will Harm Your Credit Score

There is no way around the truth. Depending on the type of bankruptcy a debtor files, a credit score will likely drop as much as 220 points, according to Money Crashers. The bankruptcy also remains on a credit report for as long as a decade. This might dissuade some from considering bankruptcy as an option.

Bankruptcy can be a double-edged sword—a last resort for many Americans. While it is true that bankruptcy will have a lasting mark on a credit report, it should prompt one of two responses: either an acknowledgment that one’s financial situation is dire enough that the credit score dip is insignificant when looking at the bigger picture, or a realization that the negative mark is not worth the risk and that other options could be viable.

Bankruptcy, however, does not take one’s credit score out of the picture. After people go through bankruptcy, whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, their eyes should be set on bringing their score up immediately. While the relief in debt might offer some room to breathe, it is better to view it as a chance to hit the reset button with the intention to build it up again.

If you are struggling financially and thinking bankruptcy might be the answer for you, it can be beneficial to sit down with a Texas bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options. At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, our passion is working with clients to find effective solutions for their debt problems. Call us today at 210-342-3400 for a free consultation.

Three Proven Methods to Improve Your Credit Score

November 13th, 2014 at 8:59 am

improve credit score, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerTo say that a person’s credit score is important is an understatement. Your score not only affects your ability to take out loans and successfully apply for credit cards, but it also plays a role in applying for insurance, leasing a car, and even getting an apartment. More than just three numbers, a credit score is a measurable value of how trustworthy a person is with money and payments.

For these reasons, you should make every attempt to raise your credit scores as high as possible. Here are some helpful ways to boost and maintain a respectable credit score:

1. Start with What You Have

As mentioned before, it helps to think of a credit score as an indicator of financial responsibility. That said, the road to a better credit score begins by analyzing one’s own financial situation. While this may require sitting down with a professional, here are some basic strategies to get started:

  • Focus on paying off credit cards by making monthly payments;
  • Strive to keep balances low on credit cards;
  • Make attempts to pay off debt instead of moving it around; and
  • Keep card accounts open.

These are some basic options available to anyone with one or more credit card accounts. These steps may not be easy, but accomplishing them can go a long way toward improving one’s credit score.

2. Open New Credit Card Accounts

If you have no credit at all, it is imperative to start building it. A smart first step is applying for a credit card. For those who already have lines of credit and are looking to boost their score, it may be worthwhile to open a new account.

It is important to remember that it is quite easy to get over your head when it comes to credit cards. Responsible use of a new account, however, can lead to a significant credit score boost.

3. Do Not Spread Small Charges across Different Cards

Making small purchases, usually under $100, across different credit cards can ultimately harm your credit score. It is best to rely on as few cards as possible. Having small amounts of debt across various cards, often referred to as “nuisance charges,” is not only bad for your credit, but it also can quickly build up to create a difficult situation.

If you are looking for a San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy attorney or are curious about how bankruptcy might work for your financial situation, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee. Call 210-342-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Texas Ranks as a Best State for Student Debt Among the $1.12 Trillion Owed Nationwide

November 4th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

According to a recent study by WalletHub, the state of Texas ranks as number nine in the list for the “best” student loan debt. WalletHub analyzed all 50 states (including the District of Columbia) using 7 key metrics, including average student debt, unemployment rates, and students with past-due loan balances.

Though nine out of 51 may be good news for the Lone Star State, the rest of the country is not doing as well. As of June 2014, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total outstanding student loan debt stood at $1.12 trillion, an increase of $7 billion from 2013.

According to the WalletHub study, though the risk of joblessness declines with the more schooling you have, location also has a large effect on college debt levels. This means that if you live in a city or state where the economy is booming, you are more likely to pay off your student debt on time, without penalties.

While Texas continues on the up and up, other states in the bottom, including Massachusetts (30), Washington D.C. (41), and Rhode Island (51), continue to suffer.

In May 2014, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill to allow students to refinance their loans at a lower interest rate called the “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.” The Democratic senator and her party argued that the $1 trillion in student loan debt is harming the U.S. economic growth and that something must be done to alleviate it. Unfortunately, in September, Republicans opposing the bill struck it down. The Act would have allowed more than 25 million students to refinance their loans to today’s lower interest rates of less than four percent.

For now, it does not seem like student loan debt in any state will be alleviated anytime soon. With the political battle constantly stalling bills able to assist student loan debtors, the educated middle class will only continue to suffer.

If you or your college-aged son or daughter is suffering from crippling student loan debt in Texas, contact an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer. Attorney Chance M. McGhee can help you determine which bankruptcy option may be best for your individual situation. Call 203-342-3400 for a free consultation.

How Bankruptcy Can Be the Start of a More Secure Financial Life

October 27th, 2014 at 9:46 am

bankruptcy solutions in Texas, San Antonio bankruptcy attorneyLet us redefine the popular yet misguided perspective of bankruptcy. First, here are the facts: Bankruptcy  may have a negative impact on a credit score and will stay on record for 10 years. Lenders will consider someone who recently went through bankruptcy as a risk and will be less likely to loan  money. According to Bankrate, it is even possible to see insurance rates rise. Due to these conceptions, many view bankruptcy as a stressful and that it is a difficult way out of debt. But, this does not have to be true.

Bankruptcy is an opportunity—even a tool—that grants debt relief while teaching some valuable financial lessons. There are a variety of reasons why one might consider bankruptcy, and the best chapter to file depends on the circumstances surrounding the debt.

What You May Learn While Going Through Bankruptcy

Different forms, or chapters, of bankruptcy offer different solutions to getting out of debt. What they all have in common, however, is a direct lesson in financial security—both literally and figuratively.

First, applicants for bankruptcy must go through some basic monetary schooling before completing the process. This includes credit counseling, as well as debtor education, which offers lessons, advice and tips for maintaining finances.

Living After Bankruptcy

After going through the process of bankruptcy, the real work is only half complete. Filers may need to commit to a lifestyle that incorporates less spending and fewer luxuries. Learning to live off of income is one of the first steps in this journey. For those with limited income, the transition can be quite difficult.

Establishing credit is another concern for those who have recently declared bankruptcy. For the most part, a secure line of credit is the first way to start. By making responsible purchases and paying them off on time, it is possible to move on to a regular, unsecured credit card with relatively low amounts of interest.

Bankruptcy offers the opportunity for debtors to attain financial stability. If you feel that declaring bankruptcy is the solution for you, having a San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy lawyer with you every step of the way can be beneficial. For the past 20 years, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee have helped clients break down their financial hurdles. Contact us today at 210-342-3400 for a free consultation.

Four Ways to Manage Credit Card Debt

October 21st, 2014 at 12:18 pm

credit card debt Texas, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerCredit cards are a double-edged financial sword. Aside from their obvious benefits and functions, many banks offer points systems and other rewards for using their cards. Many Americans, however, are all too familiar with the possible risks associated with credit card use—especially when one falls behind on payments.

Nearly every American has a credit card–and likely more than one. According to TIME, the overall amount of debt incurred by Americans has actually been in decline. While this is great news for some, others are still facing the challenge of keeping up with payments, dealing with harassing creditor calls, and possibly even considering bankruptcy.

Solving debt problems is about active financial planning and making smart choices. Here are four helpful ways to regain control of credit card debt:

1. Make Monthly Payments, Meeting or Exceeding the Minimum Payment

What is the most basic solution to solving debt? Paying it off. Unfortunately, resolving debt is not always that simple. Debtors should make every effort to organize their finances and make sure enough money is available to meet those credit card payments every month. Late payments result in penalties and harm an overall credit score.

While purchasing an expensive item and only having to pay a small amount each month is alluring, making only minimum payments is not always the best choice. If possible, it is always a great idea to try to pay more than the minimum—sometimes twice as much.

Aim for minimum payments, and try to exceed them when possible.

2. Focus on High-Interest Debt

It is often surprising to many Americans how quickly credit card interest can add up. This is why it is so important to prioritize payments for cards with the highest interest.

By paying off high-interest cards first and continuing to make minimum payments on the low-interest ones, overall debt levels become much easier to control.

3. Limit Credit Card Use and Spend Wisely

Depending on one’s financial and living situation, this may be difficult. When attempting to solve a serious financial problem, limiting credit card use while paying them off is critical for lowering overall debt. Again, many people rely on their credit cards for day-to-day living, so this can be a challenge.

Try to pay for items with cash first. Only use credit cards for necessities.

4. Save Money

This is another challenge for those in debt, but is important. While every attempt should be made to pay down credit cards, savings should not be neglected; this is key to establishing long-term monetary stability. After paying off high-interest cards, not having any cash saved away can often cause the debt to come back as the credit cards become an easy way to make purchases.

Prioritize paying off debt, but be conscious about the necessity of saving money.

If your credit card debt has become too much to handle, we may have a solution. Bankruptcy, for many Americans, is not only a way out of debt but is also a path to financial success and independence. As an experienced San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy attorney, Chance M. McGhee has helped clients for the past 20 years solve their financial challenges. Call the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee today at 210-342-3400 for a free consultation.

Can Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lead to a More Financially Stable Life?

October 15th, 2014 at 7:40 am

Chapter 13 bankruptcy Texas, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerMany individuals and business owners wrongly attach a negative connotation to the word “bankruptcy.” While it is true that those who choose to file bankruptcy may be facing dire financial situations, the process should not be viewed as an inherently bad decision. Instead, debtors should view bankruptcy as an opportunity to develop a financial plan that leads to financial stability.

Though large companies are required by law to hire a bankruptcy attorney, individuals have the choice of filing alone. While there are standard laws in place for the bankruptcy process, every case is different. For this reason, it is often wise to hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to review the case and identify the best approach to filing.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Provides a Path to Financial Freedom

Chapter 13 bankruptcy differs from other chapters as it allows the debtor to restructure the debt they owe rather than liquidating assets. After submitting the initial petition to file for bankruptcy, the debtor, court, and trustee will develop a practical and comprehensive payment plan.

An important part of the bankruptcy process is what is referred to as “debtor education.” This is a special program that all applicants must attend. It not only covers some financial basics, but it also explores alternatives to bankruptcy, which may be helpful if the plan does not work out for the debtor.

While there are several reasons a person can end up with high amounts of debt, some debt is purely accidental and the result of not understanding how debt and credit work. Credit counseling and debtor education aim to remedy this issue.

The benefits of filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy extend beyond education. For example, according to the U.S. Courts website, filers may not face foreclosure of their homes.

If bankruptcy seems like a viable option for your financial situation, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee. As an experienced San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy attorney, Mr. McGhee has helped clients over the past 20 years regain control of their finances. Call our law firm today at 210-342-3400.

 

Why Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May Be the Answer for You

September 22nd, 2014 at 8:29 am

Chapter 7 BankruptcyLet’s face it: bankruptcy is a daunting prospect. Many first-time filers feel stressed, anxious and even overwhelmed at the idea. The truth, however, is that bankruptcy comes with many benefits: no more calls from creditors and no more worrying about losing your home, to name two.

When most individuals think of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 comes to mind. That is because it is the most common type of bankruptcy.

According to UScourts.gov, Chapter 7 allows for an immediate stop of wage garnishments, home foreclosure, phone calls from creditors and repossessions. A trustee will evaluate your assets to see if liquidation is an option, but in most cases, filers can keep their properties.

Ultimately, very few creditors appeal the results of creditors’ meetings. The bankruptcy process ends with the court wiping away or discharging eligible debts.

It is important to note, however, that the court cannot discharge all types of debt. Ineligible debts include school loans, child support and employee tax debts.

Another advantage of Chapter 7 is the relative speed of the process. In fact, it usually takes less than six months from the time you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to become relieved of debt.

There is a tradeoff, of course. Filing for bankruptcy means you cannot apply for credit for up to 10 years. Still, filers enjoy the relief that comes with having a plan and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in San Antonio, Texas, we can help. Chance M. McGhee is a San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. He will sit down with you, examine your situation and help you determine if filing for bankruptcy would be the right solution.

Mr. McGhee will also explain the pros and cons of Chapter 7 bankruptcy so you are aware of how the process works. To schedule a consultation, please call our office at 210-342-3400.

Will Bankruptcy Destroy My Future Job Prospects?

May 5th, 2014 at 8:37 am

bankruptcy and employers, bankruptcy and jobs, employee credit check, future job opportunities, future job prospects, poor credit history, resort to bankruptcy, Texas bankruptcy filing, Texas bankruptcy lawyerMore than one million people every year resort to bankruptcy to get relief from overwhelming debt. And yet there is a stigma out there that you will be unable to find a good job with bankruptcy filing in your past. However, this is not true. Bankruptcy’s impact on your future job prospects has been over exaggerated.

An employer has a right to run a credit check on applicants to see whether potential employers are stable. The reality is, not every job you apply for is going to run a credit check. If you are applying for a job with access to company finances or access to other people’s private data (like Social Security numbers), you should expect a credit check. But this does not mean that every employer vets prospects in this way.

Bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years (Chapter 7) or seven years (Chapter 13). If you are applying for new jobs during this time period, then yes, an employer could find out about your bankruptcy. An employer, however, may also see how you have managed to rebuild your credit and move on from that incident during that time period.

If you are buried in debt and are worried about your future job prospects, bear in mind that poor credit also shows up on your credit check run by an employer. You do not want a poor credit history that you have been unable to fix on your reports, either. Taking the bull by the horns and setting up a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney may be in your best interest so that you can begin rebuilding your life. After several years post-bankruptcy with on-time payments and other positive credit indicators, you may see improvements in your credit score.

Do not get trapped by a financial burden that you cannot pay off. Contact a Texas bankruptcy attorney today to learn about your options.

Debt Coping: What to Do When a Child Passes Away

March 31st, 2014 at 12:45 pm

student loan debt, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyer, San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, Texas lawyerGoing through the process of grieving a child is devastating for any parent. However it can be even more challenging to move on when private student loan debt follows that individual after the child has passed away.

While most federal student loan debt is wiped out when a person passes away, private lenders may try to go after family members. If you are trying to cope with this situation, you may have a way out: bankruptcy.

Just ask Francisco Reynoso of California. His son died in a car accident in 2008, but Reynoso was on the line for six figures of student loan debt for which he had cosigned. With an income of just $21,000 per year, Reynoso was trying to grieve the loss of his child while avoid collection calls and demands from private lenders.

Some of the debt had been transferred to private investors outside of the original lender, making it difficult to identify which company was connected with each debt. Reynoso wasn’t even sure whether it was possible to negotiate settlements because he did not know who had taken over the loans.

Ultimately, he felt backed into a corner, unable to meet the payment demands. He decided to go through bankruptcy so that he could finally wave goodbye to the loans and lenders and instead focus on grieving his son and healing.

Parents taking on co-signing responsibilities are likely not concerned about having to make these massive payments in the future because they expect the child to get a job after graduation, rather than expecting them to pass away.

A child who passes away may leave behind big private student loan debt that is impossible for parents to pay off. In these cases, bankruptcy can provide a way out and a fresh start. If you would like to know how the process can help you, contact a Texas bankruptcy attorney today.

Call today for a FREE Consultation

210-342-3400

Facebook Blog
Back to Top Back to Top