I represent individuals in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Newnan, Gainesville and Rome. I publish several informative web sites, including www.atlanta-bankruptcy-attorney.com and an Atlanta bankruptcy blog, www.thebklawyer.com/thebkblog. Please mention Bankruptcy Law Network when you call.

 

Author: Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.

06 Jan Is Your Car Loan Underwater – What Are Your Options?

underwater car loanWould you be surprised to discover that your car is underwater? Not underwater in the sense of being wet, but in a financial sense. You are financially underwater with your loan if the fair market value of your vehicle is substantially less than the debt you owe. According to Edmunds.com, quite a lot of folks are significantly underwater with their loans. In 2016 nearly one-third of all vehicles offered for trade ins at dealerships are worth less than the debt encumbering those vehicles. By comparison, the underwater percentage was less than 14% in 2009.

Why Do Car Loans Get Upside Down and What Does it Mean?

There are several reasons why you may get upside down with your loan. First, the average term of car loans is getting longer - Experian reports that the average loan now lasts between 68 and 72 months. Further, the average loan now amounts to around $30,000. Second, vehicles are what as known as depreciating assets - they lose value every year and with every mile driven. When you do the math, you won’t break even on a $30,000 loan financed over 72 months at a 4% until year 3 or 4 of the loan. As the interest rate goes up, it may be year 5 or even year 6 before your loan balance falls below the vehicle value. If you trade in your underwater vehicle for a replacement (or if you have to replace a damaged or destroyed car) when the loan balance exceeds the fair market value, the replacement lender will reduce the unpaid balance by the wholesale value of the original car and “roll in” the remaining balance into a new loan. You may end up with Mercedes sized payments but a modest Chevrolet in your driveway.
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06 Dec Your Chapter 13 Is Filed, You Still Have Work To Do

debtors duties after filing Chapter 13Much has been written on this site and others about the information you need to gather to help your lawyer prepare your Chapter 13 case. You have also learned about mistakes to avoid during the weeks and months prior to your Chapter 13 filing. Now your attorney has "pressed the button" and your case has been filed. A case number has been issued and the immediate crisis has passed. The repo agent is no longer circling the block, the foreclosure has been called off and the harassing phone calls have stopped. But now is not the time to relax because the Bankruptcy Code sets out numerous steps that you and your lawyer have to take to prepare your case for confirmation (a formal approval by the judge) of your Chapter 13 plan. Here is a checklist of tasks that you must undertake to help your lawyer get your case ready for confirmation:
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06 Jun How Chapter 13 Stops a Pending Mortgage Foreclosure

Chapter 13 is widely known as the fastest and most effective legal action you can use to stop a foreclosure - even a foreclosure scheduled for the next few days. In this video, I explain how Chapter 13 works and why you can feel confident that your Chapter 13 filing will not only stop a pending foreclosure, but it will provide a method by which you can catch up your missed mortgage payments over the next 5 years.
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06 May What Can You Do About a Judgment Lien from an Out-of-Business Creditor

What can you do about a judgment lien filed against you by a creditor or debt buyer that is now out of business? Law firms like Mann, Bracken that have closed down, filed bankruptcy themselves, or otherwise disappeared still appear as judgment creditors on thousands of credit reports.  In many cases, you may have legitimate grounds to challenge these judgments:
  • bad service
  • insufficient documentation
  • incorrect identity
In other cases you may be willing to offer money to settle the outstanding debt so that the judgment will be removed from your credit report.
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06 Mar Can Bankruptcy Rescue You from a Financial Scam?

investment fraudHas anyone ever offered you $500, $1,000, $2,000 or more for you to sign your name - no strings attached? Assuming you are not a celebrity working an autograph show, cash offers like this are not likely to happen. Yet I hear stories about these “too good to be true” offers at least once or twice a year from my bankruptcy clients. And when I see this type of situation, I know that my client likely has a real mess on his hands. One of these cases from several years ago sticks out in my mind. I’m going to change the facts to protect my client’s privacy but the principle will not change. My client, Jack, worked in the billing department for a county government, and he lived in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Jack had no pressing financial issues.
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