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Chapter 13: Fight overbiffing, seek an affordable repayment plan

Many Illinois residents have bills that they struggle to pay. A good number of these individuals are frequently being called and harassed by debt collectors. Some of these debt collectors may be trying to collect more than people actually owe. With the help of a bankruptcy law attorney and through a Chapter 13 filing, Illinois residents can fight back against creditor harassment and seek an affordable debt repayment plan.

Unfair debt collection practices are not new. Debt collectors are always looking for ways to get people to pay. Overbiffing is the latest trend. It has gotten so bad that the Federal Trade Commission has had to step in and investigate debt collection firms accused of this behavior.

Understanding Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Illinois residents dealing with unmanageable debt may look at various options for healing their finances. Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one avenue of debt relief some may benefit from.

Understanding some fundamental points about how a Chapter 13 filing works can help you consider whether this path is right for you. 

Those with unsteady income often have more credit card debt

Numerous Illinois residents are self-employed or jump from job to job. Their incomes may be far from steady, which means they may need a little help to make ends meet. Enter credit cards. Those with unsteady income often have more credit card debt than individuals who have steady income.

It does not take long for credit card debt to get out of hand. When a credit card is used to pay for just about everything and one is not paying off the balance or keeping track of how often the card is used, the bill may come as quite a shock. There are steps one can take to lower one's credit card debt, but a lot of advice out there does not seem to work for those who lack stable income.

Short sale, an alternative to foreclosure

Illinois residents who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments but are underwater in their mortgages may feel trapped in their homes. They do not want to lose their homes to foreclosure, but they may not see another way out. For some, a short sale may be the answer.

What exactly is a short sale? This is where the bank agrees to accept an offer of sale on a home for less than the current owner's loan amount. Say one's home loan totals $300,000 but the current market value of the home is only $250,000. The owner places the house for sale and receives an offer at $250,000 and asks the bank to accept it and write off the difference. If the bank agrees and the sale moves forward, this is called a short sale. 

The good and bad of Chapter 7 bankruptcy

When Illinois residents are struggling to meet their financial obligations, they may actively seek out debt relief options that may be open to them. For some, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best fit. Of course, before jumping on board and submitting a filing, it is good to know exactly what one is signing up for.

The truth is, there are both good and bad things about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is not a perfect process, though it can offer relief to those who qualify for it. One simply needs to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing this form of bankruptcy in order to determine if it is the right move for his or her situation.

Illinois estate planning: Keeping beneficiaries up to date

Naming beneficiaries on financial accounts and in one's estate plan is pretty easy to do. Submit their names and information and it is done. When the time comes, they will be contacted and money or other assets will be transferred to them accordingly. What some Illinois residents fail to do after they think their estate planning is done and all accounts taken care of is periodically check to make sure their beneficiary designations are up to date. 

The truth is, depending on when a person creates an estate plan or signs up for life insurance or other financial accounts, their thoughts on who should collect assets may change over time. For example, if a person sets up a life insurance policy in his or her mid 20s before getting married, he or she may have listed his or her parents as the beneficiaries. Well, 10 or more years down the line, a wife and a few children later, he or she would probably prefer that money go to them. Without changing the beneficiary designation, that will not happen. 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help struggling seniors

A man in another state recently made national headlines for heading back to work at the age of 87 in order to pay for his wife's ever-increasing medical bills. Sadly, he is not alone. Many older Americans in Illinois and elsewhere are re-entering the workforce due to medical and other debts. Some of them may find Chapter 7 bankruptcy a better option.

According to reports, the health of this man's wife started to decline some time ago. She can do very little around the house. The couple moved from their home into a small apartment to make things easier on her. She is frequently hospitalized and doctors keep finding new things wrong with her aging body. The couple has sold most of their possessions in order to pay her medical bills, but it just is not enough anymore.

Credit card debt just one issue affecting every generation

What do baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials all have in common? Debt. Credit card debt, mortgages, auto loans and student debt -- most people have some sort of debt and many of them are struggling to pay it back. What can Illinois residents who are struggling with debt do?

It is believed that nearly 80 percent of individuals in each generation is living with debt. It is a part of their life that they cannot seem to shake. Instead of their financial situations improving, money is getting tighter and debt feels inescapable.

How bankruptcy affects your credit score

Bankruptcy can occur to anyone, even large entities. Illinois has faced issues in recent weeks concerning the town of Harvey, which may need to file for bankruptcy due to having an annual operating revenue that is three times less the city's pension debt. 

After filing for bankruptcy, it may take you years to rebuilt your credit history. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to be ready for the effect on your credit score.

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.

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Lisle, IL 60532

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Fax: 888-691-8337
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