Reed Law Firm, P.A. is a federally designated debt relief agency. We proudly help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
image description
Giving You Hope For a Debt-Free Future

Columbia Bankruptcy Law Blog

Means test essential for Columbia, South Carolina bankruptcy

Deciding to investigate the options bankruptcy has to offer is a big step. A person who reaches this decision is probably weary of struggling with bills, harassing phone calls from creditors and letters threatening ominous consequences for unpaid debt. That person is not alone because many in Columbia and other parts of South Carolina are in similar circumstances. Many choose to investigate Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it promises a clean slate by eliminating much -- and sometimes all -- of a person's unsecured debt. However, there are steps one must take to reach that goal.

Before filing for Chapter 7, a person must pass a means test to see if he or she is eligible. While the word "test" may worry some, over 80 percent of those who take the test are able to pass. The means test measures someone's debt and ability to repay. Applicants report their adjusted household income for the previous six months and compare it to the median income for their state. Anyone who falls below the median income is likely eligible to file for Chapter 7.

Foreclosure defense attorney can offer hope for the future

First, the bad news: Bankruptcy still carries a certain stigma, and it will certainly leave a mark on your credit score. Here's the better news: Bankruptcy could save your house from foreclosure, and a South Carolina foreclosure defense attorney can guide you through the process. If you have received notice that the bank is foreclosing on your house, you may be eager to hear some good news on that front.

Maybe you are already in foreclosure. On the other hand, maybe your mortgage payments are one of the only ones for which you are current. If either of these is the case and you feel like you are drowning in debt, bankruptcy may help you to break out of the fear and panic of overwhelming debt and move forward with your plans for the future.

Credit card debt climbing in Columbia, South Carolina and beyond

For many people, shopping is relaxing and satisfying. Even when money is tight, people in Columbia, South Carolina, walk the mall or scroll through websites looking for a good deal. This is because consumers seem to be more liberal with their credit cards than in recent years. According to a report from WalletHub, credit card debt is soon expected to pass the trillion-dollar mark.

Causing concerns are expectations of rising prices in some critical areas. For example, gas prices are already 45 cents higher than last year. Additionally, the future of individual health care expenses are uncertain with plans to repeal Obamacare. As these prices rise, wages do not. Financial analysts worry that people may begin using their credit cards to pay their rent or mortgages.

3 ways to improve credit after bankruptcy

Facing dire financial hardships can leave you feeling as if you have no options. However, considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy could help you determine whether such action could allow you to work toward improving your situation. Though you may worry about how bankruptcy could affect your credit score, you may not want to let that worry act as a total deterrent.

Medical debt hits more in South Carolina and southern states

While these days more people may be able to afford health insurance, many of those policies include high deductibles. These deductibles may cost a patient thousands of dollars before coverage kicks in. In fact, about 25 percent of working adults in South Carolina and across the country admit to having medical debt that is past due.

Those workers who earn less than $35,000 a year are more likely to have past due medical bills, especially if they are under the age of 40. Research shows that recent generations are not following the old adage that each generation is more successful than the previous one. The studies show that those who live in southern states carry the greatest burden, with 32.4 percent of those in South Carolina struggling with overdue medical debt.

Study: South Carolina medical debt rate among highest in nation

Good physical health is a precious commodity. So is good financial health. How often, though, do we consider how closely interconnected these two aspects are in our personal lives? The reality is they can be tightly linked.

Taking care of your physical well-being is why we have doctors and hospitals. All of those things come at a cost, which insurance can usually help defray, leaving your financial health in good shape. But, in the event of a sudden accident that results in a debilitating injury or catastrophic illness, even insurance might not be enough. Even as you recover your physical health, medical debt can threaten your long-term financial well-being

Payday loans hurt more than they help

Money struggles are an issue for many South Carolina residents. Living paycheck to paycheck simply seems to be the norm these days. What happens, though, when funds run out before the next payday? Quite a few people tend to turn to payday loans, but in the end find that they hurt more than they help.

What are the signs that it's time for debt relief?

The decision to file for bankruptcy does not often come easily. Someone in South Carolina may wait until all other options are exhausted, such as when the house is in foreclosure or his or her family is ready to fall apart, before realizing the benefits of bankruptcy. While everyone's situation is different, there are some signs that may help a person decide it may be time to consider whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 debt relief is the best option.

Senior citizens who have considerable debt may have no resources to pay it down. Pensions or other income may disqualify a senior from bankruptcy, but if someone has no income or very little, he or she may find help through bankruptcy. Seniors and others may have debt that is primarily medical bills. In fact, 78 percent of those who seek bankruptcy protection do so because of medical expenses. Medical debt is fast replacing credit card debt as the most common debt burden.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers a hopeful future

People who are facing financial hardships know what they are up against. They see the bills come month after month and hear the phone ring when creditors call. If money coming in is not enough to cover their bills, no one has to tell them they are in financial trouble. Those in South Carolina who are in this situation may be perfectly aware that bankruptcy is an option. In fact, the hardest part of Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be admitting that it is time to take the step.

Chapter 7 liquidates assets and uses the money to pay back unsecured debt -- that is, debt that is not attached to a collateral. In many cases, one's home and car are typically not liquidated, although the danger of foreclosure still may exist. With the right attorney assisting with the bankruptcy, very few of a person's assets -- if any -- may need to be liquidated.

Which chapter is right for you?

If you hear someone talking about chapter 13, chapter 11 or chapter 7, you might assume the topic is the latest novel on some bestseller list, right? However, if the conversation also includes words such as "creditors" "threat of foreclosure" or "debt relief," then it might not be books but various types of bankruptcy at the center of discussion. It's no secret that many South Carolina residents are among those throughout the nation who have been struggling to get back on their feet after serious economic crisis.

Many people hesitate to reach out for support when they're in trouble financially. Perhaps they're embarrassed or don't want others to know their private business. However, there are plenty of hard-working, successful people who, for one reason or another, find themselves facing tremendous financial debt that may prove disastrous if they don't do something about it.

image description

Reed Law Firm, P.A.
220 Stoneridge Drive,
Suite 301

Columbia, SC 29210

Phone: 803-726-4888
Fax: 803-726-4887
Columbia Law Office Map

Reed Law Firm, P.A.
1807 West Evans Street,
Suite B

Florence, SC 29501

Phone: 843-679-0077
Fax: 843-679-0667
Florence Law Office Map

Reed office