The Sacramento Bee recently chronicled the experiences of two couples struggling with credit card debt. Both couples used a debt solutions company and took more than five years to pay off their debts. Evaluating your options is recommended before you sign on with any agency claiming to make you debt-free.
Contacting a bankruptcy lawyer in Modesto could have given these couples a fresh start much sooner.
Most people think of bankruptcy as something to be ashamed of, but it's not. Consumers that have fallen on hard times because of medical bills, real estate debt and credit card debt deserve a new start. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can explain the two types of bankruptcy options a consumer has. One can wipe out most of your debts immediately so you can start anew. Credit counseling, which won't save your credit rating, is another option. Your credit report will show late payments that will stay on the report for years. This will greatly affect your ability to obtain loans.
The state Department of Corporations keeps on eye on the credit counseling agencies in California.
Here are some cautionary tips and red flags regarding credit counseling agencies:
-Considerable upfront fees - most places charge you a set-up fee and then add on additional fees.
-Misplaced or diverted payments - some companies won't tell you your first month's payments are actually fees. So your money going to the credit counseling company and not your creditors. Missed payments mean bad marks on your credit report, which will last for years.
-Idealistic promises - no company will wipe out your debt for free without damaging your credit rating. Supervised payment plans involve systematically paying off your loans.
-No accreditation - agencies that aren't accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and/or Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies should be avoided. Accredited credit counseling agencies meet minimum standards for free or low-cost confidential services.
Bankruptcy laws give legal protection that most other debt-relief options don't; personal bankruptcy shouldn't be viewed as a last resort, but as a new beginning. Your own situation will determine if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. Let an experienced bankruptcy lawyer assess your financial needs and explain your options.
If you or someone you know needs to speak to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Modesto or Stockton, contact the Law Offices of Ben Roberts for a free and confidential appointment. Call today 1-209-522-7500.
More Blog Entries:
California Ranked Near the Top Nationally in Bankruptcies Filed, Modesto Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011
Preventing Foreclosure After Filing for Bankruptcy a Possibility with the Help of an Experienced Modesto Bankruptcy Lawyer, Modesto Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog, May 19, 2011
Credit Report Lawsuit Illustrates Risk of Predatory Services when Dealing with Bankruptcy in Modesto, Modesto Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog, April 25, 2011