Vance P. Truman, Attorney at Law
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Medina Bankruptcy Law Blog

Crisis budgeting tips for difficult times

Having to come up with a crisis budget is a difficult thing for most people to do. It often comes up suddenly, such as when you're laid off, lose your job or become seriously ill. There are several ways that you might be able to make ends meet during this time.

One thing that you shouldn't do is to ignore the problem. The bills aren't going to go away and the issue will eat away at you mentally so it is best to face it head on before it becomes far too much to handle.

Consolidate credit payments if you're swimming in debt

Sitting down to take a look at your finances can be a harrowing experience. For some people, there's more due at the end of the month than what they bring home. In these cases, an emphasis must be placed on the essential bills like housing and food. This can lead to credit card, medical and similar accounts going unpaid.

If you realize that you can't get ahead with your finances, you might consider filing for bankruptcy. This enables you to consolidate your credit accounts into a single case and resolve your debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy may save your home

Realizing that you aren't able to pay your bills is a harrowing experience. You have probably already sat down and looked at your budget many different ways to try to make the numbers work. Once you come to the conclusion that it just isn't possible, it's time to make a plan.

One of the options that you have is to file for bankruptcy. Many people opt to file for Chapter 13 protection. This enables you to consolidate the debts under the guidance of the court. You then make the payments to the bankruptcy trustee for three to five years.

Debt consolidation scams make bad financial situations worse

Having a huge pile of debt hanging over your head is stressful and frustrating. Your anxiety may be heightened by the fact that collection letters keep coming, and debt collectors keep calling. At this point, some of your debts have been discharged by their original holders and sold, so you're not even sure who all is calling you.

When a company suddenly offers you a chance to consolidate your debt and get control of your finances again, the relief may feel incredible.

You can't take everything during foreclosure

The bank forecloses on your house. You have to move out. You know that you can take your personal items, even the large furnishings, like your couch and your dining room table. They don't go with the house, and you can move them to your new residence. But is there anything that you shouldn't take?

Definitely. If you take things you're not allowed to remove, it could make your legal situation even worse. Don't assume that everything is up for grabs; don't take everything just because you are angry about losing the house. Some things that you're not allowed to take on your way out of the house include:

  • Doors and the related hardware
  • Countertops and cabinets from the kitchen
  • Big appliances that are built into the home, such as dishwashers and stoves
  • Air conditioning units, furnaces and other parts of your HVAC system
  • Ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Vent covers, screens and windows
  • Sinks and other plumbing fixtures
  • Fencing, built-in pools and other landscaping elements
  • Built-in bookshelves and related features

What debts do creditors generally garnish wages for?

If you've had the misfortune of receiving debt collection calls or notices in the mail before, then you've probably been warned that your creditor may file suit against you if you don't pay. What you may not realize is that once a lawsuit gets filed against you, you generally have some time to appeal the judgment. If you don't, then your creditor may be allowed to begin garnishing your wages.

Virtually any creditor can file to have your wages garnished. It's a more common practice among state child support authorities, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), federal student loan servicers and unsecured consumer debt companies though.

Viral sermon leads to $46.5 million in medical debt forgiveness

Living in Ohio, you may be familiar with a church called Crossroads. Crossroads recently had a sermon called "The Marks of Multiplication" that talked about the burden of medical debt on individuals in the community. He stated that the congregation could, if they wanted to, donate to help free others from medical debt.

That campaign wasn't a challenge, but the group took it to heart. Working together with RIP Medical Debt, which would wipe out $100 per $1 donated, the church was able to eliminate over $46.5 million in medical debt throughout the United States. Around $42 million of those funds were used to help people in Ohio.

Columbus 'Circus House' in foreclosure after owner's bankruptcy

The owner of a well-known Ohio home dubbed the "Circus House" has filed for bankruptcy, and the primary mortgage holder is seeking to foreclose on the home.

Built in 1895 for the owner the Sells Brothers Circus, the home, which overlooks Goodale Park in Columbus, now is vacant. Its distinctive roof is shaped like a circus tent. Noted architect Frank Packard combined Gothic, Chateauesque and Romanesque styles when designing the home.

What are some debt relief scams that consumers should avoid?

One of the primary responsibilities of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is to protect U.S. consumers from predatory advertising. This federal office has previously issued public notices warning Americans of credit repair or debt relief service scams. It's in those statements that the FTC has tried to impart some practical advice aimed at helping consumers from falling victim to such predatory practices.

The FTC warns consumers with large outstanding credit card balances to approach debt relief companies carefully. They note that these companies often claim to be able to negotiate a reduction in or settlement to a consumers' obligations to repay their debts. Many of these companies aren't able to do this though.

Are you addicted to shopping?

Just like someone can get addicted to alcohol or gambling, did you know that you can get addicted to shopping? It gives you some of the same sense of gratification, and many people do it in order to cope with stress or emotional issues in their lives.

Now, all buying is not a sign of an addiction, and even a one-day shopping spree may not signify an overarching problem. But addiction is a real issue that many people face. One doctor defined it as buying habits that become:

  • Excessive
  • Inappropriate
  • Out of control

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