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Columbia Bankruptcy Law Blog

'Extreme Makeover' family home now in foreclosure

Fans of TV home makeover shows enjoy watching the big reveal, when the old home is barely recognizable after the renovators and designers complete their work. Viewers in South Carolina may imagine that owning such a home would be a dream come true, and the stunned and excited expressions of the show's homeowners seem to confirm that. However, what viewers may not realize is that many of the people presented on these shows end up in foreclosure.

One woman highlighted on the show "Extreme Makeover" hoped the renovations would be a turning point. Her husband had recently died after a seven-year battle with hepatitis, and the woman was left to maintain their dilapidated 1860s farm house with her three sons. The crews of the makeover show demolished her old house and replaced it with a lavish four-bedroom home containing personalized bedrooms for the children and a flat-screen TV.

The ins and outs of Chapter 7 discharge

Are you considering bankruptcy as a debt relief option but aren't sure what it can really do for you? You are not alone. Many South Carolina residents have been in your shoes. Taking the leap and filing for Chapter 7 can be frightening, especially if you do not know exactly how it will help you in the long run.

The biggest benefit of a Chapter 7 filing is debt discharge. How does this work?

Medical debt attorney provides options for overwhelmed patients

Following an accident or illness, the two questions foremost in many patients' minds are, "When will I get better?" and "How am I going to pay for this?" Struggling with medical debt can seem like pain on top of pain, and financial advocates offer a few tips to avoid such debt. Patients in South Carolina have several options, including consulting a medical debt attorney.

Every patient has the right to know the cost of medical expenses ahead of time. In many cases, the billing office of the health care facility can provide an estimate of the cost of most procedures. With this information, a patient can consult other providers for a better rate, including various online services that list the prices for local providers.

Credit card debt help for consumers in Columbia, South Carolina

Financial advisors often warn consumers never to charge more than they can pay off right away. Though many may open credit card accounts with the intention of following that advice, it often becomes too tempting -- or necessary – to pay only the minimum amount and carry a balance. This is why millions of Americans, including many in South Carolina, are trying to manage credit card debt that has gotten out of control.

Paying off a credit card is not easy because credit card issuers often charge very high interest rates and tack on fees for going over the limit or paying late. Consumer advocates recommend three ways to pay down credit card balances quickly. One is known as the avalanche method.

Late payments for Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is seldom easy. However, if debt is weighing someone down and interfering with one's quality of life, a person in South Carolina may have few alternatives. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically results in a court-approved payment plan. If all goes well, within a few years, that person will have a much brighter financial future. However, what happens if the filer is late with a payment?

With Chapter 13, typically, the filer sends one check each month to a court-appointed trustee. That trustee distributes the money to the creditors who are included in the payment plan. In many cases, the trustee makes those payments once a month, and it may not be a problem if the filer's check is a few days late. However, this is not always the case.

Payday loans will tide you over and tie you down

You have probably seen them in downtown storefronts or shopping plazas, but you never imagined you would use one. Perhaps, in the back of your mind, you even wondered if they were legitimate. However, at this desperate point, even that concern may not be enough to prevent you from walking in and asking for a payday loan.

You just need a little bit — enough to hold you over until your next paycheck. On the other hand, maybe you are considering going back for more because the last one didn't cover quite as much as you needed. Understanding the risks of payday loans may make them less enticing and prompt you to try other methods to avoid desperate financial situations.

No need to fear bankruptcy in Columbia, South Carolina

Most people have debt. In fact, about 772,000 Americans feel overwhelmed by debt. Whether it is limited to a mortgage and car payment or extends to multiple credit cards, personal and student loans, and medical debt, owing money can be a burden. One rule of thumb for determining if one has too much debt is when the amount a person owes is close to his or her yearly income. When the burden is distressing, many in Columbia, South Carolina, consider bankruptcy as a way to find relief.

The benefit of bankruptcy is that it immediately stops all debt collection. Creditors may no longer call or contact a debtor for payment. The most common form of bankruptcy is Chapter 7, or liquidation bankruptcy. In Chapter 7, the court appoints a trustee to liquidate the debtor's assets and distribute them to the creditors. This liquidation is often the stumbling block for many who may be in need of bankruptcy relief; however, the trustee should ensure that a person in bankruptcy does not lose what is needed to live and work.

Columbia, South Carolina seeing reduced foreclosure rates

Owning a home is something many people aspire to. Being free from the scrutiny of landlords or independent of family members takes on a new meaning after closing day when a new homeowner accepts the keys – and the responsibilities – of a home in Columbia, South Carolina. Whether one has not budgeted properly or has faced a financial crisis, arriving at a payment date without enough funds for the mortgage can be the beginning of a long nightmare.

The idea of losing one's home can be terrifying. After working hard to purchase, maintain and perhaps repair a home, falling behind on the mortgage can mean the mortgage company will take steps to foreclose. South Carolina residents may be relieved to learn that foreclosure rates continue to drop. In fact, the state's foreclosure rates are down about 12 percent from this time last year.

3 benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy

The clutches of overwhelming debt can feel suffocating. You may wake up every day wondering how you could potentially pay off the mountains of unpaid balances that plague you. Unfortunately, even if you earn a regular wage, you may not have the means to handle your debt by simply making minimum monthly payments or attempting other unsuccessful methods. Luckily, more head-on approaches exist of which you could take advantage.

If you have a regular income and pass the means test, you may qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Though you may balk at the idea of moving forward with such a process, bankruptcy offers many benefits that could help you get back on your feet financially.

Anchoring on minimum payment prolongs credit card debt

Credit card debt is one of the most common financial burdens for people in South Carolina and across the country. In fact, statistics show that the average family carries a credit card balance of about $16,000. This may be spread over multiple cards. More startling is new research showing that many Americans may have a psychological block preventing them from paying down their debt.

About 20 percent of consumers pay only the minimum monthly payment even when they can afford to pay more. Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that people may be "anchoring" on the minimum payment, which is printed in large font at the center of the bill. Anchoring is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when someone allows one piece of information – sometimes trivial information -- to determine important decisions. In this case, people see the minimum payment and anchor on that amount each month.

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