1102 Pleasant Street, Suite 828
Worcester, MA 01602

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Monthly Archives: February 2014

When should you talk to a bankruptcy lawyer?

Over the years I’ve noticed one consistent theme among the people who sit down in my office to talk about the their options in dealing with their debt:  they almost all wait way too long to call me.   Far too many people struggle for far too long with their unmanageable debts, before ever doing anything proactive to get it under control. For a great many people, when they finally do attempt to take proactive steps they take some that are, in many cases, the wrong step:  They spend an undue amount of time and money with debt consolidation companies that, at best, are often simply ineffective.*   By the time most people do find their way to my office, their options are gone and often bankruptcy is the only choice.  For a lot of people bankruptcy will be the best choice early on, but we may have other options when we meet early.

My greatest wish is that people who are struggling with debt call me as soon as they realize that they are in an untenable situation.  But all too many people either fail to comprehend the severity of their situation, or they refuse to admit it to themselves.  Many people honestly believe that they will be able to get themselves out of the situation but juggling lenders (i.e., borrowing against one credit card — often using a “special offer” — to pay off their credit cards), while never really reducing their overall debt burden over the long haul.  While taking advantage of these special offers can help you to finance a short term debt, like a vacation or perhaps a wedding, it is simply NOT the solution for most people in high debt situations.

Some things to consider when you are struggling to find a way out of your debt situation:  Is your unsecured debt (that is the debt that is not directly associated with collateral such as a house or a car – for most people this is credit card debt but it may be personal loans and medical bills) equal to or greater than 50% of your annual income.  If so, then congratulations you are what I call a person in a “high debt” situation.  It is nearly impossible for most people to get out of such a debt situation without professional intervention.  I also encourage people to try to honestly budget for an exit from your debt situation.  A great calculator is available here for determining how long it will take you to retire your credit card debt.  If your honest budget cannot show you escaping from your credit card debt (while not incurring more debt and paying all your necessary monthly living expenses) in 36 months or less, then you should at least be talking to a bankruptcy lawyer.

When we meet I will look at the totality of your circumstances and make certain recommendations to you based on your assets, debts, income and expenses.  We will discuss — at a minimum — Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy as options.  We will also discuss other Chapters  available under the bankruptcy code together with other non-bankruptcy solutions (if such options are viable for your situation).  For some people the answer could lie in refinancing their home or seeking a loan modification.  If it is a viable solution, we might consider a strategy of negotiation with creditors or a variety of other options or combinations of several.  In any event I will explain the differences between these other options and a reasonable solution in bankruptcy and explain the pros and cons of each.  I will also attempt to lay out the anticipated costs of each possible solution.  While I will make recommendations, ultimately, it will be your decision how you want to proceed.

I highly encourage anyone who finds themselves in a high debt situation,  is struggling with credit cards, mortgages or other debts, or is simply trying to find an exit strategy should call a qualified bankruptcy attorney today.  To schedule a free consultation call the Law Offices of James Wingfield at 508-797-0200 or visit the contact page of our website today.

* I’ll talk more about debt consolidation companies and debt consolidation plans in my next post, so stay tuned.

 

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The Law Offices of James Wingfield is proud to be a debt relief agency. We help the individuals, families and small businesses of the Worcester area file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. The Law Offices of James Wingfield serves Central and Western Massachusetts clients in Worcester County, Hampden County, Hampshire County and Middlesex County including Worcester, Shrewsbury, Springfield, Westborough, Southborough, Framingham, Northampton, Natick, Amherst, Fitchburg, Leomister, Douglas, Uxbridge, Gardner, Belchertown, Holyoke, Wilbraham and Chicopee. The information contained and obtained in this website does not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Contacting us, be it through this website, via email of by telephone does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is only created upon execution of an engagement agreement or fee agreement.