Debt Negotiation

Posts containing useful information regarding debt negotiation for anyone considering a North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer.

Default Judgment – What To Do

If you received notice of a default judgment, it most likely means that a creditor successfully filed a lawsuit against you and obtained the judgment in your absence. This judgment is just as valid as a judgment obtained in your presence. If you feel the default judgment was improperly obtained against you, you can file a motion to nullify or void the judgment. If you’re successful, the creditor will have to start the process over from scratch. However, if the debt is a valid debt, the creditor will prevail in a new lawsuit. In most cases, it is simply best to start analyzing your options in addressing the debt.

What Creditors Can Do With A Default Judgment

Once a creditor has a default judgment, they can start judgment execution. This is simply the process of using the North Carolina statutory rules for collecting on a judgment. You will know when a creditor is attempting to execute on their judgment because you will receive a Motion To Claim Exempt Property form. You have 20 days to respond to this form or you lose your right to protect or “exempt” property from the creditor. It’s important you follow the rules when submitting the form, and we can assist with this process.

After the 20 days passes, the creditor can request that the clerk of court issue a Writ of Execution. This is simply a document which directs your local Sheriff to attempt to seize property from you which is not exempt. This includes bank accounts, cars, jewelry, or any other valuable assets. The Sheriff will then proceed to sell the items in accordance with the statutory procedures.

What Are My Options In Fighting A Default Judgment

As mentioned above, appealing the judgment is an option, but not one which usually ends with a different result. Your two primary options are to engage in debt settlement with the creditor, or file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to discharge the debt along with most other debt you have. Whether to settle the debt or file bankruptcy is both a personal decision and a financial decision. While our firm routinely orchestrates debt settlements for clients, there are some situations where financially speaking, a bankruptcy is a much better option.

Consult With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you received a default judgment, you should not delay. Reach out today to request a free consultation. We will help you understand your options, the most likely outcomes, and make a decision as to how to move forward. We know it’s a stressful time. We have seen countless clients gracefully address debt situations and make a full financial recovery—your financial future is bright. We hope you choose to recover with us.

Bankruptcy filings for all Chapters (Chapter 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 11) increased in July of 2022, as compared to July of 2021. A recent article by Epiq Bankruptcy indicates that increased interest rates, supply chain concerns, and inflation are the primary reasons behind the increase.

Our firm has also seen an up-tick in consultations for bankruptcy as well as bankruptcy filings. This spans across business bankruptcy and personal bankruptcy. Additionally, our representation of clients for debt settlement has also increased in the past few months.

The Good News About Bankruptcy Filings

While increased bankruptcy filings are nothing to celebrate, we take the view that consumers and business owners alike are realizing that filing a bankruptcy is an strategic economic move that can be made to eliminate hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt at a very small cost, comparatively.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy lawyer about your options or have questions about bankruptcy filings, please call us at 704.749.7747, or request a free consultation and we will reach out to you shortly. There are typically multiple options for individuals which result in the financial freedom you deserve.

Debt Settlement With Hard Money Lenders

Hard money loans serve a very specific purpose and fall under alternative lending. They provide cash quickly. Typically, they are used for a real estate investment or some other investment where the investor expects a return in excess of the principal and interest charged by the hard money lender.  When the investor reaches a crossroads and can’t make the monthly payments, one option is debt settlement with the hard money lender.

In exchange for a loan without a minimum credit requirement and a quick closing time, investors can expect a hard money lender to charge high interest rates and to pursue the investor aggressively if they stop making payments. Much like a perfect storm, the conditions may align such that the lender employs an attorney to file a civil lawsuit against the investor in hopes of obtaining a judgment in favor of the lender. With the judgment in place, the lender has much greater power to collect, including wage garnishment, bank account garnishment, and attaching to assets like real property. If you receive a Notice Of Right To Claim Exemptions form or a Writ of Execution, you need to act urgently to respond to it.

Debt Settlement Attorneys And Hard Money Lenders

Our firm routinely settles debts with hard money lenders and more traditional lenders like credit unions and credit card companies. Because we are a bankruptcy law firm handling Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 5 filings, we can assess all of your options before reaching out to the hard money lender on your behalf. This assessment will serve you well in negotiations with any lenders but particularly with hard money lenders. If a lender knows that a debtor is considering bankruptcy, their willingness to negotiate almost always increases. Debt from hard money lenders is dischargeable in bankruptcy like any other unsecured debt. When your lender is faced with the possibility of receiving nothing in a bankruptcy filing, your settlement offer often becomes more enticing to the lender.

The Debt Settlement Process

After reviewing the loan documents—if available—and the history of payments, our firm will make initial contact with any lender with which you would like to negotiate. If a lawsuit has been filed against you, we can request a routine extension for time to answer the lawsuit, which will give us time to negotiate the debt. In most cases you do not ever have to make a court appearance.

The negotiation process is different with each lender, but we keep you informed every step of the way, and the ultimate decision to settle or not is always yours. If a settlement can be reached, we assist in facilitating payment and obtaining paperwork regarding settlement of the debt. If a lawsuit has been filed in the matter and we are able to resolve it, we make sure the court system is notified of the settlement and all records are updated.

Debt Settlement And Your Credit Score

While we are not credit score experts, we can request the lender report the debt settlement in a favorable way regarding your credit score. Most lenders are bound to very specific reporting of settled debts; however, almost all of our clients understand that by taking a few simple steps to improve their credit, they can out-weight any negative ramifications of having a settled debt show on their credit report.

Speak With A Debt Negotiation Lawyer Today

If you are dealing with an aggressive hard money lender and wish to speak with an attorney regarding debt settlement, we are happy to assist. The initial consultation is free, and you will come away from the phone call with a firm understanding of your options. To schedule a consultation, click HERE, or call us at 704.749.7747. We’re here to help.

Can A Lawyer Help With Debt Settlement?

Yes, a lawyer can help with debt settlement. A legitimate question is whether you need to use a lawyer to assist with your debt settlement. Due to the legal complexities surrounding debt, and the various ways in which a debt can be settled, your choice to use a lawyer to help you with your debt settlement is a meaningful choice.

While settling the debt is your primary concern, you also need to be aware of the different remedies creditors have for collecting upon their debt. Remember, there are different types of debt. Depending upon whether your debt is secured debt or unsecured debt, your creditor may propose differing settlement options with different results.

Unsecured Debt Settlement

If you have unsecured debt, your creditor’s only remedy is to pursue you personally. A well-known example is credit card debt. While you owe the debt, if you stop paying, your creditor will simply continue to nag you for payment while threatening to take legal action to procure payment.

While your continued non-payment will result in negative credit reporting, the creditor is generally limited to attempting to collect the debt from you personally. That being said, keep in the mind the creditor can take steps to take their debt to judgment. If a creditor obtains a judgment against you, their available remedies expand dramatically. These remedies for judgment execution may include utilizing the sheriff’s office to try to collect on their judgment. If you receive a Writ of Execution or a Notice Of Right To Claim Exemptions, your creditor is pursuing your assets in an attempt to collect on their judgment.

Secured Debt

If your debt is secured, your creditor has different remedies available to them as compared to unsecured debt. Secured debt is a debt that is secured by ownership of property. Generally, this means that in exchange for the credit that was extended to you, you pledged property as collateral. A lender is more inclined to loan larger amounts if the debt is secured because they know that if you stop making payments, they can take steps to seize the property. This seizure may come in the way of foreclosure on real estate, repossession of a vehicle, or other seizure of property—depending upon what was pledged.

If the creditor seizes the secured property and sells it, they may come up with a shortfall to pay off the balance of the account. In that event, the creditor can continue to pursue you as an unsecured creditor, in an attempt to obtain the remaining balance.

The Effect Of A Judgment

As mentioned above, a judgment gives an unsecured creditor some of the power that a secured creditor has. For example, if you own real property and a creditor obtains a judgment against you, that unsecured debt will now attach to the real property by way of the judgment. This means that if you sell the real property, the judgment will need to be paid as part of the sale.

Settling Debt With A Lawyer

Given the complexities of debt, there are natural complexities to debt settlement. It is important to understand whether the debt being settled is being released as to a particular piece of property, or satisfied in full. The difference in the language of the debt settlement agreement will dictate the value you are receiving, and whether you want to accept the debt settlement being offered. By way of a simple example, assume a creditor has a judgment against you for $100,000.00 and you want to sell your home. If the creditor is willing to accept $10,000.00 to release the lien from the home so you can sell it, this does not mean that the creditor is prohibited from pursuing the debt outside of the sale transaction. It simply means the house can be sold without paying the debt.

The goal with debt settlement is to reach an agreement that cancels the debt in full—this way, you can move forward in life without fear that this debt will somehow interfere with your financial well-being moving forward. While our firm negotiates debt settlement in all shapes and sizes, the most important aspect is knowing what you are receiving in exchange for your debt settlement payment.

Speak With A Debt Settlement Lawyer Today

Our firm routinely settles the debt for clients who have not been successful in attempting to settle the debt on their own. Using a lawyer can help tremendously with debt settlement. If you would like to speak with a debt settlement lawyer today about your options, we are here to help. Call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request to speak with a lawyer today. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

Are You Personally Liable For An SBA Loan In North Carolina?

Yes, you are personally liable for your SBA loan. However, if you wish to verify it, you can have our firm review your SBA loan docs for you. More simply, you will notice that the signature line for the SBA loan was signed once by the company, and another time as the company owner, “Individually”. This is the individual guarantee.

An SBA loan is a loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration and issued in partnership with another bank. While the terms of an SBA loan are favorable, you will be personally liable for an SBA loan. This means that if the business fails to repay the loan, the lender can pursue your personal assets.

The Extent Of Your Guarantee

Each personal guarantee is different. You may have a general personal guarantee or a limited personal guarantee. With an unlimited personal guarantee, in the event of a default, the lender can pursue you personally to the extent of the unpaid loan balance plus fees. In a limited personal guarantee, there will be a limit to your exposure if the company defaults on loan repayment. Your loan language would need to be reviewed to determine if your guarantee is limited or unlimited.

SBA Loans Secured By Real Estate

It is not uncommon for an SBA loan to be secured by your real property (home) or other real estates you or the business may own. In this event, the lender has the additional recourse of pursuing the equity in the property if the loan is not paid in a timely manner.

Negotiating SBA Debt

If you are about to default or have defaulted on an SBA loan, you can negotiate the debt and possibly reach a debt settlement agreement with the SBA. Unlike other debt negotiations, reaching an agreement with the SBA will require the disclosure of much more financial information to the lender. The reason for this is the lender is attempting to assess your ability to pay the loan. Further, they want to know whether you will be able to keep your agreement under the re-negotiated terms.

As a bankruptcy law firm, our firm has had success negotiating SBA loans for debtors on the verge of filing bankruptcy. When faced with getting paid nothing in a bankruptcy, or negotiating a settlement with a borrower in financial trouble, the SBA often offers reasonable terms which the borrower can accept. Our firm negotiates those terms on behalf of the borrower.

Negotiating debt does affect your credit score; however, in the overall picture, the temporary drop in credit score is almost always outweighed by the debt relief the borrower experiences by alleviating the monthly payment burden.

SBA In Bankruptcy

SBA loans are addressed in Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. Depending upon whether the business is still operating, and whether the guarantee is secured by property, the loan may receive differing treatment in bankruptcy. If you file a Chapter 13 your SBA loan will be addressed as well.

Speak With An Attorney

If you are a NC resident and wondering if you are personally liable for an SBA loan, call us. Consultations are free and you deserve to understand your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a consultation. We know you have choices. We hope you choose Layton Law.

How Does Debt Settlement Affect Your Credit?

Yes, settling debt will affect your credit score. Before deciding to settle a debt, you should consider the pros and cons. Once you have a clear understanding of how settling debt will affect your credit score, you can make a decision.

After weighing the options, most of our clients still decide to move forward with settling their debts, as compared to not settling them. Additionally, many clients who thought they wanted to settle debts decide instead to file bankruptcy, as the cost savings outweigh the credit concerns. We are here to provide guidance and help you make a decision that will remove the threat of creditors and provide you with financial peace of mind and prosperity as you move forward.

Debt Settlement Or Not Paying At All

From a credit perspective, settling debt is more favorable than not paying on the debt. While the settled debt will appear as a zero balance on your credit report, a settled debt is still a negative on your credit report as compared to paying the debt in full. Alternatively, a settled debt is better for your credit report than a debt that has been ignored and not paid on time.

Prior to settling a debt, most clients have a record of late or missed payments associated with the debt. For settled debts, if you were late on payments prior to settling the debt, that credit history with the settled debt will remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date. This article from Experian “How To Determine An Original Delinquency Date” may help.

If you had no late or missed payments prior to settling the debt, the settled debt will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of settlement.

The Cost Of Not Settling

While credit score concerns are valid, part of our job is to help clients clearly see the future ahead. We have been trained our entire lives to fret over our credit score, and for good reason. It’s difficult to buy a house without good credit. Interest rates on unsecured debt and vehicle loans are high when your credit score is low. Lastly, there is a part of us that believes our credit score will never ‘bounce back’ from negative credit reporting. This is simply not true. Your payment history is the most important factor in determining your credit score. If you make payments on time after settling your debts, you can routinely qualify for great credit options within two years of bankruptcy or debt settlement.

Creditors may pursue you for unpaid debts by phone and mail for quite some time. However, things can escalate quickly. An unsecured creditor can take legal action against you by filing a lawsuit for repayment of the debt. Their primary goal in doing so is to establish the validity of the debt and obtain a judgment. Debts that have gone to judgment entitle the creditor to more remedies under the law. These remedies include seizure of assets under a Writ of Execution and forcing the judgement to be paid as part of the sale of real estate.

The Benefits Of Settling

If the debt you wish to settle is valid, other factors need to be considered in addition to how debt settlement affects your credit. Debts can typically be settled for pennies on the dollar if your debt settlement attorney has a strategy for encouraging the creditor to compromise their balance in favor of a lump sum payment. Once settled, the debt no longer poses a constant threat of legal action against you, and your credit starts to recover. The lender stops reporting missed and late payments, and additional fees and penalties are no longer a part of everyday life.

One last concern is your debt to income ratio, which also affects your credit. By settling a debt, your debt to income ratio improves from a credit perspective. Your income hasn’t increased, but your debt has decreased. This makes you a much better credit risk for future lenders and creditors. This is true whether you’re trying to obtain a mortgage or a simple unsecured credit card.

Speak With A Charlotte Debt Settlement Lawyer Today

If you are considering settling a debt and asking yourself “How does debt settlement affect your credit,” you deserve to understand all your options. Sometimes, just one phone call is all it takes to discover you have more control over the situation than you thought.

If you would like to speak with a debt settlement attorney, call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a phone consultation. Consultations are free and answering questions is part of our job. We are here to help.

Debt Consolidation For Credit Cards

If you are considering debt consolidation for credit cards, you need to read this blog post. First, it is important to know there are a few ways to consolidate your credit card debt. Each program being offered will be different. In any case, first, we will quickly go over the different types of debt consolidation, and then discuss a few pitfalls and other options.

Types Of Credit Card Debt Consolidation

Balance Transfer – When you do a balance transfer you are essentially transferring several credit card balances to one credit card. It could be due to a low introductory rate, or some other special terms, which are more favorable than the prior card or cards.

Debt Consolidation Loan – Some banks will offer you a loan that you can use to pay off your credit card debts. You will be left with one balance on the loan, and usually at a lower interest rate than the credit cards you paid off.

Debt Management Program – This is the most traditional form of debt consolidation. In this instance, you work with a credit management company. They establish a payment structure for you and a timeframe. The credit management company negotiates with your creditors to lower your balances. Usually, the negotiated amount is contingent upon you completing the consolidation plan.

Three Common Pitfalls To Credit Card Debt Consolidation

Fees And Costs – Whether the fees come in the form of high interest or third-party fees charged by your credit card management company, it is important to understand what fees you are being charged. The lengthy contracts consolidation companies provide you with can be difficult to sort through. The point is you are paying for a service. You are entitled to know how much the service is costing you. This way, you can comparison shop and set your bottom line for how much it is costing to eliminate your debt.

Dropping Out Of The Consolidation Program –

Many debt consolidation agreements are contingent upon your completion of the term. The term may be for three or more years. During that timeframe, anything could happen which might prevent you from being able to make your payment on time. You want to be aware of the penalty for late or missed payments, and get confirmation that you will not lose the progress you made along the way by making consistent on-time payments in the program.

Worrying Too Much About Your Credit Score –

It is important to be concerned about your credit score. You should think carefully before spending thousands of additional dollars for the sole purpose of sparing a few credit score points. As a bankruptcy attorney, I speak with clients every day who are worried about their credit score. I do my best to help them see the full picture. Often, those clients already have a reliable vehicle and own a home. If that is the case, I encourage them to look at the upside to eliminating the debt—no matter how they choose to do it—instead of obsessing over how it will affect their credit score.

What Other Options Are There?

Bankruptcy is worth considering. Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 are options in consumer bankruptcy. Every bankruptcy attorney I know in Charlotte, North Carolina will give you an honest answer as to whether you should file bankruptcy or not. This means you should consider having a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer to make sure you understand the cost of bankruptcy versus the cost of debt consolidation. If a client can eliminate $25,000 of unsecured debt by filing bankruptcy for under $3,000, it is going to be difficult to justify a debt consolidation program that charges $525 a month for 36 months.

Debt settlement is another option. Because we are a bankruptcy law firm, we obtain good results for clients attempting to settle the debt. When you are settling a debt with a creditor, you are proposing to pay them a small portion of the debt in 90 days or less, in exchange for forgiveness of the remainder of the debt. To accomplish this, you must have access to a lump sum of money to pay the creditor. It is not uncommon to receive a dramatic reduction from the outstanding balance in exchange for timely payment of a small percentage of the debt. In a prior post, we have discussed how a debt settlement affects your credit score.

Speak With A Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

If you are considering consolidating credit card debt, you deserve to understand all your options. We would be happy to discuss bankruptcy, debt settlement, and credit card consolidation with you. Then, we can help you make the decision that will work best for you. Sometimes, just one phone call is all it takes to discover you have more control over the situation than you thought.

If you would like to speak with a bankruptcy attorney, call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a phone consultation. Consultations are free and answering questions is part of our job. We are here to help.

Debt Negotiation Lawyer In Charlotte, NC

If you are considering hiring a debt negotiation lawyer or a debt settlement lawyer in Charlotte, you should consider three primary aspects of debt negotiation. First, you should know that every bank is different regarding their tolerance for negotiating a debt. Second, it is important to understand what will inspire any bank or lender to work with you when negotiating your debt. Lastly, you want to guarantee that when you do reach an agreement with the creditor, that they are bound by the terms.

Bank Tolerance For Negotiating A Debt

Some banks are notoriously more or less reasonable than others when it comes to negotiating a credit card debt outside of Bankruptcy. Additionally, those tolerances change over time depending upon the economy and each bank’s financial position. One frustrating element to negotiating a debt is this apparent inconsistency. Most recently, we settled a sizeable debt for a debt negotiation client. The bank forgave thousands of dollars in debt in exchange for a lump sum payment much smaller than the outstanding balance. Two months later, the same bank offered our client a new line of credit with favorable terms.

Inspiring A Bank To Negotiate Your Debt

It is important to understand that the bank may hold a different perspective regarding your debt than you do. For instance, you may be “cash poor” monthly, which is the reason you are asking the bank to work with you. However, the bank may look at your schedule of assets and determine you have $50,000 of equity in your home. Their position is that you should take out an equity line to pay your debt to them. And so, it goes back and forth.

Hiring a debt negotiation lawyer who is also a bankruptcy lawyer sends a specific message to the bank. Namely, it is implied that you are considering bankruptcy. In fact, many of our clients tell us to communicate to the creditor that if we are unable to work out favorable debt settlement terms, the client will move toward filing bankruptcy. This changes the tenor of the discussion with the creditor and often inspires a better debt settlement offer.

In any case, working with a third-party debt negotiation lawyer gives you leverage you simply do not have when you attempt to negotiate the debt on your own. Not only does your debt negotiation lawyer make standard arguments for you when it comes to your financial picture, but they also strategically position your creditors against one another. After all, all the creditors lose if a bankruptcy is filed.

Debt Settlement and Judgment Cancellation or Satisfaction

It is important to reach a favorable agreement with the lender. Your debt negotiation lawyer will also ensure that the lender signs off on language binding them to not only cancel the underlying debt. Additionally, if the creditor successfully filed a judgment against you, your debt negotiation lawyer will see that proper filings cancelling the judgment are put in place once you carry out your end of the agreement with the creditor.

The Debt Settlement Strategy

Debt settlement differs from debt consolidation. Many debt consolidation programs come with high fees, and you are not reducing the amount of debt you pay, you’re simply restructuring the debt. If you can’t make payments or miss payments, you are in default of the debt consolidation agreement and you can incur additional fees and essentially go back to square one.

While debt consolidation allows you to combine multiple debts into a single loan, debt settlement utilizes a very different strategy, When you settle debt, you’re effectively asking one or more of your creditors to accept less than what’s owed on your account. If you and your creditor(s) reach an agreement, then you would pay the settlement amount in a lump sum or a series of installments.

Our firm has helped hundreds of clients settle their debts. Often these are settled one by one at the client’s pace, with overall tremendous savings for the client.

Speak With A Charlotte Debt Negotiation Lawyer Today

Whether you are in Charlotte or any part of North or (most of) South Carolina, our firm can assist with debt negotiation and debt settlement. Call us at 704.749.7747 for a free consultation by phone, or click HERE To request a consultation. We look forward to helping you.

How Do You Negotiate Credit Card Debt?

Negotiating credit card debt yields varying results. Depending upon the facts of your situation, a credit card lender may consider offering terms or reductions which you find favorable. There are also lenders that refuse to negotiate with you despite what you think is a fair offer. This often leads to frustration for the debtor and a stalemate between the two parties—you are unwilling to pay their exorbitant fees and interest, and they are unwilling to compromise. Ultimately, you may find yourself in a stalemate with your lender.

Breaking The Stalemate

While you may be able to negotiate credit card debt on your own, we recommend you use a third party to do it—this is true whether it’s our law firm or another law firm or service. The primary reason we recommend you have someone negotiate credit card debt on your behalf is simple: leverage. One example of leverage in a credit card debt negotiation is bankruptcy. Often, you do not have to file bankruptcy. Just the legitimate threat of it changes the conversation.

Change The Credit Card Debt Negotiation

When you employ The Layton Law Firm to negotiate credit card debt for you, we will talk to you about bankruptcy as well. There are a few reasons for this. First, we want to provide you with the guidance you deserve and need when making large financial decisions. Second, if you do qualify for bankruptcy, it changes the credit card debt negotiation with your lender. Lastly, if your lender is communicating not with you but instead with a bankruptcy lawyer, they know bankruptcy is imminent. In most bankruptcies, creditors get nothing or pennies on the dollar. When compared to having the entire debt discharged in bankruptcy, your lender may reconsider their definition of a fair debt settlement.

The Reality Of Credit Card Debt Negotiation

Keep in mind that if you can reach a negotiated debt settlement with your creditor, they will want the full settlement amount paid over a truly short period of time. This is part of what they are bargaining for in exchange for deeply discounting the value of the debt. This means you may need access to a significant lump sum to reach a favorable agreement. Our office can assist in sorting through this end of the negotiation, and in most cases, we are able to work out a payment arrangement our client can honor in exchange for cancellation of the debt.

Speak With a Credit Card Debt Negotiation Lawyer Today

If you would like more a more thorough answer to the question “How do you negotiate credit card debt?” give us a call at 704.749.7747. Or, click HERE to request a consultation. The consultation is free and can be done over the phone. We look forward to helping you get back on the path to financial independence.