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Chapter 13 or 7 may help the 13 percent forever in debt

Debt plagues many people in Illinois and across the country. In fact, a good number of Americans feel that they will be forever in debt. They feel they have no way out. Truth is, Chapter 13, Chapter 7 and other debt relief options may be able to help them improve their financial situations.

Northwestern Mutual recently released the results of a study on this issue. After surveying over 2,000 people, the company found that roughly 13 percent of participants believe they will never break free of their debt. A 2017 study claims that 73 percent of consumers have debt when they die. The average amount of debt carried by consumers when they pass away is just over $61,000 -- most of it being mortgage debt.

Chapter 13 and other ideas for dealing with creditors

Illinois residents who have money coming in but owe more than they can pay their creditors, likely have a lot of questions about what options they have for dealing with their creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is certainly an option worth considering, as it can put creditor harassment to an end and offer much-needed financial relief. Here are three tips for dealing with creditor harassment if one is still considering all available debt relief options.

Tip number one is: do not rush to make payments after the first request. When a creditor calls, demanding money, it can be tempting to rush to make a payment. Any payment, no matter how small, is considered debt acknowledgment. Before making any payments, it is okay to step back and consider all debt relief options before responding to a creditor's demands.

A loan modification might save your home – if you are cautious

After years of home ownership, you have lately been experiencing financial difficulties, and the worst has happened – you are now facing foreclosure. Like any Illinois resident in the same circumstances, you are feeling uncertain and don’t know where to turn. You’ve considered bankruptcy, but you’re also looking into other options to save your home and assets before resorting a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

The idea of a home loan modification may be unfamiliar to you. It is easy for those facing foreclosure to become victims of predatory companies offering fraudulent or ineffective loan modifications. Therefore, it is important to understand how this option works, as well as what to watch out for when a company offers you its services.

Determine Chapter 7 eligibility with the bankruptcy means test

If you, like so many others across Illinois, feel as if you are drowning in unmanageable credit card debt, you may be weighing your options and trying to decide if filing for bankruptcy may help you find the relief you seek. Most personal bankruptcies are of either the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 variety, but there are some important differences between the two. In brief, Chapter 7 bankruptcies are typically for low earners who do not have the capacity to pay back their debts, while Chapter 13 bankruptcies require that you pay back at least part of what you owe.

Whether you have the opportunity to pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, depends on how much “disposable income” you have on hand to pay back your debts. You can typically determine whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by taking what is known as the bankruptcy means test.

3 things you should know about equity and bankruptcy

Buying a home is a major responsibility. If you are well into your mortgage and discovering that you can no longer afford payments, though, it can seem like little more than a burden. Countless Americans make payments on their mortgage every month, but it is one of the biggest debts—if not the biggest—that most people have, and there is a reason why so many end up going into foreclosure.

According to NeighborWorks America, in fact, one out of every 200 homes in America will eventually be foreclosed. When it comes to debt relief, you may consider bankruptcy, but perhaps you are concerned about the equity—or lack thereof—that is contained in the value of your home. 

Foreclosure rates in Illinois still high

While more people in other states are seeing some financial relief and have been able to keep their homes rather than lose them due to insolvency, this is not the case in Illinois. Foreclosure rates here are still relatively high. Those individuals who may lose their homes to the foreclosure process may have options that will help them turn things around.

A recent report listed the states in which foreclosure rates are the highest. Illinois ranked in fifth place. According to the report, currently, one in every 1,375 homes is taken back by the mortgage lender. That may not seem like a whole lot, but looking statewide it adds up quickly. What is it about Illinois that contributes to this problem?

Do high-income people qualify for bankruptcy?

It might be natural to think that bankruptcy is only for lower-income people. After all, if you earn a high income, should you not be able to pay your bills?

The reality is that both low-income and high-income people can qualify for bankruptcy. For example, anyone of any income can find themselves struggling with credit card debt and mortgage payments. That said, your income is likely to play a significant role in which type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, that you qualify for.

DIY estate planning, is it right for you?

Numerous Illinois residents like to work on projects by themselves. Some do it for the satisfaction it can give from accomplishing something, while others get on the DIY wagon because it can save them a lot of money -- or at least they think it can. When it comes to certain projects, like getting estate planning done and out of the way, a DIY plan may sound like a good idea, but going this route could have some serious consequences in the end.

Why do people consider DIY wills and other estate planning documents? First off, they can save time. Who wouldn't want to sit at their home computer, click a few buttons and be done? Secondly, they can save money. DIY estate planning products can be pretty cheap -- just remember, they are this way for a reason.

Is Chapter 13 bankruptcy right for me?

You've been struggling to pay your bills for a while. You have money coming in, but too much going out. You are getting to the point where you may start losing everything. Before it gets any worse, you want to know what options you have to solve the problem. You, and other Illinois residents like you, may benefit from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Chapter 13 filings are reserved for people who have steady incomes but are simply overwhelmed with debt obligations. This is a debt relief option for people who want to keep their property and just need an affordable payment schedule to pay off their creditors. It can be a good option for you if you can achieve court approval.

A Chapter 7 filing is not the end of the world

Numerous Illinois residents are struggling financially due to job loss or lack of sufficient income to pay their debts. In order to help their economic situations, some will turn to Chapter 7 bankruptcy to clear their debts and achieve a fresh start. While there are those who would advise against this due to the impact such a filing can have on one's credit score, a recent report suggests that filing for bankruptcy really is not the end of the world.

Following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filing will remain on one's credit report for 10 years. That sounds bad, but according to LendingTree, a little over 40 percent of bankruptcy filers are able to raise their credit scores back to 640 within a year of bankruptcy approval. Roughly 65 percent of filers are able to achieve credit scores over 640 in a two-year period.

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Lisle, IL 60532

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