Credit Card Debt on the Decline

Since 2010, there has been a decline in the average credit card debt of the American consumer. However, no Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney would take this to be a sign of greater fiscal responsibility on the part of American consumers or an increase in employment rates, The reason why card debt has declined is that banks are simply not doing as much to collect the debt as they used to before. An Overview Of American Credit Debt Since the beginning of 2010, according to some estimates, the average American credit card debt has dropped by approximately $2150. Credit card debt of the average American peaked to around $18,000 a few years back and dropped to around $14,500 by the end of 2010. Since then, the average debt has stabilized at that number. However, analysts believe that the debt has dropped not because Americans are now paying their credit card bills faster, but simply because banks have given up trying to collect on the debt. Many banks have chosen to cut their losses, and eliminate the credit card debt from their books. Just as with housing loans that were given to consumers who did not have enough paying potential, triggering the housing crisis, credit card debt has increased simply because so many credit cards were issued to people who could not afford to make payments on these bills. Since the recession kicked in, many Americans have begun relying on plastic simply to meet their living expenses. Just over 50% of middle class and lower-income Americans are believed to be using their credit cards for living expenses. Many Americans are now slipping into credit card debt just to survive.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Bankruptcy

Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Bankruptcy Most Debt Consolidation programs in Las Vegas require you to begin payments even before there is any agreement with your creditors. Most of the first payments go to pay the Debt Consolidation Program fees, so your creditors are still not getting paid. Some creditors go years without payment or agreement, and therefore, may take legal action against you. Before you enter into a Debt Consolidation Program, here is some information about Bankruptcy in Las Vegas that you should consider. 1. Bankruptcy Stops Creditors From Collection Actions Against You Your Creditors must stop all collection activity immediately upon the filing of your Bankruptcy case. A legally enforceable “stay” is triggered when you file for Bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Stay STOPS: Harassing telephone calls; Threatening letters; Repossession of automobile; Foreclosure; Lawsuits; Wage and Bank Garnishment 2. The Purpose of Bankruptcy Filing for Bankruptcy is a legal process to enable the honest, but unfortunate, person relief from crippling debt. Most debt is eliminated in Bankruptcy, such as: Credit Cards; Pay Day Loans; Deficiency Balances (repossessions and foreclosures); Medical Bills; Business Debt; Judgments Debts that are secured by collateral, such as houses and cars, may be reduced, eliminated, the interest rate may be lowered, and you may be provided the opportunity to catch up on past due payments. Some debts cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy, such as: Support Payments; Taxes (some, but not all); Student Loans (almost all, but not all); Fraud Debt Criminal/Traffic Fines 3. Do Not Liquidate Your Retirement to Pay Debts Prior to Getting Bankruptcy Information Many people have made the mistake of selling off property, depleted life savings or liquidated retirement accounts trying to fight a losing battle. Before you make a mistake, get some good legal advice. You may need a professional to analyze your financial situation from an objective point of view. You may protect most of your property under Bankruptcy law. The purpose of Bankruptcy is to rehabilitate you, not take everything away from you. While there are limitations to the type and amount of property you can protect, most people lose little or nothing at all. 4. You Can Choose to Keep Your Home and Car in Bankruptcy You may continue to pay on your house and/or car and keep it while in Bankruptcy. And yes, if your house and/or vehicle are paid off, you may also keep it, subject to restrictions. Bankruptcy may help you with the debt owed on a house and/or car by possibly reducing it, having the interest rate lowered and provide you the opportunity to catch up on past due payments. 5. Bankruptcy Process Your Bankruptcy case is initiated by the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition. The Bankruptcy Schedules, Statements, Exhibits and Means Test/Disposable Income Test must be filed to support your case. Prior to filing the Bankruptcy Petition, you must complete a United States Trustee approved Credit Counseling Course. A Bankruptcy Trustee will be appointed to review your case and manage the Bankruptcy Estate. The Bankruptcy Trustee will require you to produce third-party documentation to support your case filing. You will meet and be examined under oath by the Bankruptcy Trustee at the §341 Meeting of Creditors. Prior to completing your Bankruptcy case, you must complete a United States Trustee approved Financial Management Course. Upon successfully completing all of the Bankruptcy requirements, you shall receive a Discharge. The Discharge is your end goal. A Discharge is legal recognition of the elimination of debt eligible for discharge and a permanent injunction against future attempts of creditors to collect such debt, and your release from the Bankruptcy case. 6. Timing is Important in Bankruptcy You control when to file your Bankruptcy case in Nevada. Many events that transpire prior to filing Bankruptcy may have significant effects on your Bankruptcy case. Many of those events are in your control. Obviously, you want to make good decisions, not bad ones prior to filing for Bankruptcy. Protect your property, qualify for the most favorable Bankruptcy terms and save money and stress by hiring a quality Bankruptcy Lawyer to handle your case. 7. Qualifying for Bankruptcy The most common Bankruptcy case is one under Chapter 7. There is no payment plan in Chapter 7. In order to qualify, you must demonstrate that after legitimate living expenses, you do not have the ability to pay your creditors. Therefore, you are given a Discharge (elimination) of almost all debt. Chapter 13 has a payment plan. The amount paid is based on your financial ability to pay. Most debt is eliminated regardless of how much is paid to your creditors so long as the amount paid is 100% of your ability. Your ability to pay is measured in the Means/Disposable Income Tests. 8. How to Choose a Bankruptcy Attorney Experience and Knowledge – Your Bankruptcy Attorney needs to be able to understand your goals and find an effective legal solution to your problem. Your Attorney should have years of Bankruptcy experience, knowledge of other areas of law, and the willingness and ability to protect you should problems arise. Fair and Honest – Your Bankruptcy Attorney should be fair in the legal fees charged, fair with the amount of time devoted to your case and honest about the representation made to you. Customized Legal Representation – It may be quite the disaster if your Bankruptcy case is handled by a one-size-fits-all bargain-based Bankruptcy Attorney. Bankruptcy is an important legal event. Proper care should be taken to select an attorney that knows how to maximize your results. Value – Cheap does not always equal value. If it is cheap, your case is probably being handled by some inexperienced non-attorney with little input from a lawyer. Eliminating debt and protecting your assets is an important business. Most Bankruptcy Attorneys offer a free initial consultation. You should use this opportunity to learn about the attorney that will be handling your case. 9. Bankruptcy is Law of the United States Bankruptcy is legal! Bankruptcy is a process that enables honest, but unfortunate, debtors to eliminate or restructure debt that they can no longer pay. The United States Constitution, under Article I, Section 8, provides the authority for Bankruptcy relief. Congress enacted Title 11 of the United States Code to provide for our Bankruptcy law. Since Bankruptcy is Federal law, it trumps any inconsistent state law, e.g. promissory notes, contracts, judgments. Bankruptcy law has consistently evolved since the overhaul of 2005 (BAPCPA). Therefore, you need an attorney who has stayed on top of the current Bankruptcy laws. 10. Bankruptcy is Superior to Debt Consolidation Debt Consolidation does not work for many people. There are sets of laws that require your creditors to participate in a Debt Consolidation Program. This means that you can still be harassed or even sued while in a Debt Consolidation Program.

No Debtor’s Prison for Las Vegas Payday Loan

No Debtor’s Prison For Las Vegas Payday Loan Las Vegas, NV – A Las Vegas resident was threatened by “investigators” for failure to pay a payday loan. They stated that, “they would get my warrant out, if I don’t pay the loan.” The borrower was worried about the threat of jail for failure to pay on his loan. There is no jail time for failing to repay a payday loan. First, a payday loan is private debt and is not handled by law enforcement. The Police Department or the District Attorney does not investigate claims of failure to pay on payday loans. It is a civil matter and the lender may sue the borrower if it believes that there has been a breach of any agreement. It would have to put the borrower on notice of any such lawsuit by serving a Summons and Complaint upon the borrower. In most instances of payday loans, the borrower is required to write a post-dated check to secure the loan. If the borrower does not pay, the lender cashes the check. If the check bounces, more fees are added. In many instances, it is unlawful to write a bad check in the State of Nevada. Willfully writing a bad check with the intent to defraud may result in criminal prosecution. However, currently, the Clark County District Attorney does not prosecute for bad checks written to secure loans to non-gaming establishments, according to its Bad Check Handbook. Therefore, any threat of arrest or jail for failing to pay a loan is simply as a method that debt collectors use to get payment from the borrower. If you are being harassed or threaten by a payday lender, creditor or any other collection agency, please call my office for help. I have helped thousands of people in Las Vegas and Henderson find solutions to their debt with Bankruptcy. Contact me for a free consultation to better understand your situation and legal needs.

Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Plan Payments Based on Ability to Pay

I Plead The Thirteenth… Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 in Las Vegas is the adjustment of debts for an individual with regular income. In Chapter 13, the Debtor proposes a plan to address his debt. The Debtor will ultimately seek confirmation of his plan from the Bankruptcy Court. When a plan is confirmed, all of the Debtor’s debts are handled under the terms of the confirmed plan. Upon completion of the plan, the Debtor receives a Discharge. Discharge is the release of the Debtor from Bankruptcy, and the elimination of debt, with limited exceptions. How Much Do I Owe? How much a Debtor pays into a Chapter 13 plan is largely based on the Debtor’s ability to pay. The Debtor’s ability to pay is called disposable income. The Debtor’s disposable income is calculated by subtracting his allowable expenses from the income. Generally, the Debtor’s income will be calculated based on the average of the six month period prior to the Bankruptcy filing date. And the Debtor’s expenses are those that are actually expended and tested for reasonableness. How Much Can You Pay? When the case is filed, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee will be appointed. The Trustee’s primary duty is to review the Debtor’s case and determine whether the Debtor is paying all of his disposable income into the plan. Generally, any disputes about the amount of the plan payment are worked out between the Debtor and the Trustee. However, disputes that cannot be worked out, are decided by the Bankruptcy Judge. In Conclusion… Therefore, Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 does not mean full repayment of all of the debts. In fact, many debtors have eliminated substantial amounts of debt with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plans that pay very little or nothing to unsecured, non-priority debt. In order to have a successful Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan, it is important to have accurate calculations of income and expenses. Having an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney to make sure that you have taken advantage of all allowed expenses will make a difference on whether your plan succeeds or fails. If you are considering filing a Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 or 7, please contact the Okano Injury Law.

Bank Denies Request to Reduce Payments for Troubled Borrower

Living In Las Vegas, Nevada… Las Vegas, NV – One of the largest banks in America and issuer of credit cards denied a request from a longtime customer for a reduced payment during his period of financial hardship. We have all heard it before, if you are facing financial difficulty and cannot make your credit card payments, you should contact your creditor. A borrow experienced first hand that creditors of credit cards and line of credit are unwilling to offer any kind of reduction or modification of payments to assist a borrower during these economic changing times. The borrower originally had two lines of credit. The borrower had used and paid on the lines of credit for many years. The borrower had never missed any payment. Then the banking crisis hit. Without any prior notice, the bank closed both lines of credit to any new charges. While this angered the borrower, he continued to make the payments. After a few years, one of the lines of credit was paid off. For the next two years, the borrower paid on the remaining line of credit. The borrower paid over 60% of the balance from where it was when the bank closed the account. Recently, the borrower has suffered a dramatic loss in income. The borrower did what we have all been told to do if we experience financial difficulty, that is, discuss it with our creditor. The borrower called the bank and explained that his income had gone down and requested a modification of the payments. The bank took the borrower’s income and expenses, and after a few minutes, the bank simply stated that they could not help him. The reason the bank gave was that because the borrower’s income was not enough to pay his living expenses, that he would not be able to make a reduced payment. Therefore, the bank denied any type of reduced payment and expected the borrow to continue with the full regular payment. Flabbergasted, the borrower requested to speak to a supervisor. After all, the borrower already knew he was in financial trouble, his income had been reduced. He wanted to find a way to continue payments to the bank. He simply needed a smaller payment. The supervisor got on the phone and stated the same thing. That because the borrower could not afford a reduced payment, they would have to keep the higher regular payment. The borrower asked why couldn’t the bank accept a lower payment for a year and then increase the payment afterward. This would allow the borrower to maintain a manageable payment without changing the repayment period. The bank declined this request. It stated that the because the borrower’s expenses exceeded his income, the borrower would be unable to make the lower payment and the bank would therefore take a loss. What? If the bank believes the borrower cannot pay all of his basic living expenses and pay a reduced credit payment. How is the borrower supposed to make the higher regular payment. The bank supervisor insisted that there was nothing they could do for him, and told him to “have a nice day.” This is an true story and makes me crazy. This is one of the largest banks in America that regularly advertises about all of the community good it does. I say hogwash. I do not believe that banks and other lending institutions have ever offered anything that is truly helpful to borrowers facing financial hardship. The reason is simple. Assisting a troubled borrower is against the banks core mission. That is to make money for the stock holders. And I understand that. They are in business to make money. As much money as they can. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT. What is a troubled borrower to do? You should do everything you can to legally protect yourself and your family. That’s your core mission. If you are unable to make your payments, or not saving for your retirement because you are paying too much on credit card debt, you should get powerful information about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Nevada. Bankruptcy is the most potent and effective protection an ordinary person has against debt.

Bankruptcy Can Bring Relief From Creditor Harassment

Peace Of Mind Maybe The Most Valuable Several years ago, I assisted a retired lady who received income of only about $800 per month from Social Security. The $800 was for everything, rent food utilities, bus fare, everything. The lady would have been homeless, but for the fact that she had her brother to share an apartment with. The lady incurred about $20,000 on four credit cards, all issued by the same bank. Most all of the debt was for basic living expenses. When she could no longer pay, the creditor relentlessly harassed this poor lady with nasty phone calls from morning to night. I ask, why would a bank issue 4 credit cards, totaling over $20,000, to a lady with income of $800 per month. She filed for Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 without the assistance of an attorney because she believed that she could not afford to hire one. Unfortunately, she failed to complete the credit counseling requirement prior to filing, and her case was dismissed. She came to my office and we began work to file another Bankruptcy case. Meanwhile, the bank again harassed her daily. She would come into my office shaking because she was so upset from the harassment. This was an honorable lady. She grew up in the aftermath of the Great Depression, so she wasn’t extravagant and she knew how to do without. It really bothered her that she could not pay the credit cards. I know she had struggled to pay it for a long time prior to filing for Bankruptcy. The whole process of being in debt was very hard on her. We got the case together and filed another Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case. The case went smoothly and the credit card debt was eliminated. Sometime after the Bankruptcy case was completed, the lady’s brother came into the office. Sadly, he reported that his sister had passed away. I am convinced that the stress of the debt collection contributed to her death. I wish she would have found my office sooner. I believe that had she filed for Bankruptcy earlier, she may still be alive. Immediately upon the filing of a Bankruptcy case, all creditors stay from collection activity. Bankruptcy “gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.” Local Loan Co. v. Hunt, 292 U.S. 234, 244 (1934). If you or a loved one are being harassed by creditors or are faced with unmanageable debt, please call Las Vegas Bankruptcy Attorney Rodney K. Okano for help during regular business hours.

Legal Basics For Filing Nevada Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Legal Basics For Filing Nevada Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Las Vegas, NV – Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is often referred to as “straight bankruptcy.” Chapter 7 cases may be filed by individuals, married couples, a married person filing an individual case, or a business entity. Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Upon filing the case, all collection activity against the debtor, the person filing for Bankruptcy, must stop. Therefore, the debtor is given relief from harassing collection phone calls, lawsuits, and wage garnishments. While vehicle repossession and foreclosure will be temporary, a creditor will usually request relief from the Bankruptcy Stay to retake collateral in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. (More permanent resolution of the vehicle and home repossessions may be better handled in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.) Most debt can be eliminated in Chapter 7, such as credit card, payday loans, deficiency balances from foreclosures and/or automobile repossession. Certain debts cannot be eliminated, such as recent income tax, spousal and child support, student loans. The debtor usually protects most of his property. Subject to certain qualifications and value limitations, a debtor who is eligible to elect Nevada Exemption law may be able to protect a homestead, automobile, household furnishings, clothing, tax retirement account and $1,000.00 on any property of his choice. (see NRS 21.090). One of the main requirements to be eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is based on the debtor’s income. If the debtor’s average gross monthly income, based on the six months prior to filing for Bankruptcy, is less than the median income for the State of Nevada, based on family size, then the debtor passes one of the main income tests. If the debtor’s income is greater than the median income, then the debtor’s income and expenses must be analyzed under the Means Test. How much, if any, income that is left over after deducting allowed expenses, will determine eligibility. Finding a Qualified Legal Attorney The debtor is required to attend the Meeting of Creditors. At the meeting, a Bankruptcy Trustee will examine the debtor under oath about the Bankruptcy Petition, Schedules and Statements filed in the case. The Bankruptcy Trustee’s main role is to liquidate non-exempt assets to pay creditors. The debtors are also required to complete a Credit Counseling course prior to filing for Bankruptcy and complete a Financial Management course to complete the requirements for a Bankruptcy Discharge. Upon discharge, the debtor emerges from Bankruptcy. While this is the basic outline of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case, every person’s situation is different and should be handled by a competent Bankruptcy Attorney. If you are in the Las Vegas/Henderson area and are considering a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, please contact the Okano Injury Law for information.

The Mandatory Arbitration Program in Clark County, Nevada

The Mandatory Arbitration Program In Clark County, Nevada You have the right to compensation to pay for your damages caused by someone else’s negligent conduct, such as bodily injuries from a car accident. While many claims are settled without court action, there are situations where a lawsuit is required. These cases may be a denial of fault by the other party or an unreasonable low offer to settle your claim. In this situation, you may be required to initial a lawsuit to have a judge, jury or arbitrator make a determination on the disputed matter. Arbitration Program Mandatory In Clark County In Clark County, Nevada, a lawsuit for money damages is automatically placed into the Court Annexed Arbitration Program. The Arbitration Program is mandatory but non-binding which means you must participate in it, but may reject the decision, so long as you do so within the time limits and participated in the process in good faith. In Arbitration, a random list of arbitrators are populated, and each party may strike some of the potential arbitrators. An arbitrator is then appointed from the remaining names. The arbitrator serves the functions of both ruling on the law and determining the facts. An abbreviated form of discovery is allowed which usually entails ten requests for Admissions, Production of Documents and Interrogatories known as 10-10-10. The parties are allowed a deposition of the parties and any percipient witnesses. And commonly, medical record review by an expert witness and an Independent Medical Examination of the plaintiff are allowed. Role of The Arbitrator At the arbitration hearing, the parties will put on their cases, and the Arbitrator will render a decision. The arbitrator is only authorized to award up to $50,000.00 per plaintiff. Again, if any party is dissatisfied with the Arbitrator’s decision, they may reject it and moved on to trial. In most cases, such a trial will be under the Short Trial Rules. A party may opt out of the arbitration process if the case has a probable jury award value more than $50,000.00, the case involves significant issues of public policy, or another good cause exists. The goal of the Court Annexed Arbitration Program is to provide a simplified procedure for obtaining a prompt and equitable resolution of certain civil matters. If you have questions about the Arbitration process or have been injured in a car accident and looking for a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, please call The Okano Injury Law at (702) 566-3600.

Payday Loan Lenders Use Legal Process to Create Debtor’s Prison

Loans And Debt; A Vicious Financial Cycle St. Louis, MO – Reports state that Payday Lenders in Missouri have been using the civil court process to effectively create a modern-day debtors’ prison. While jail time for private commercial debt is generally not available, reports state that residents are, in fact, regularly being jailed over their private debts. Jail time comes into play after the creditor obtains a judgment against the debtor. The creditor then summons the debtor to appear at a Debtor Examination to seek out assets to satisfy the judgment. If the debtor fails to appear, the creditor may request the court hold the debtor in contempt, and thus jail time. Bankruptcy can eliminate the horror of the above example. A Bankruptcy filing would immediately “stay” any debt collection activity and/or court proceeding. The underlying debt would be eliminated and forever discharged. Bankruptcy is law of the United States of America, embodied in Title 11 of the United States Code. Any inconsistent law of any state is superseded. If you are experiencing unmanageable debt or are being harassed by creditors, Call Rodney K. Okano – Bankruptcy Lawyer. We will protect you from Creditor Harrassment.

Sears Files for Bankruptcy

Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, has filed for Bankruptcy. Not really surprising considering Sears has been struggling for years. Over the past years, Sears has been closing stores and more closures are expected. Sears was unable to make a $134 million debt payment pushing its already precarious financial position over the edge. Sears plans to keep its remaining stores open. There are 4 Sears department stores in the Las Vegas area. In addition, Sears has several appliance service centers, automobile center and outlet locations in Las Vegas. The Bankruptcy will enable Sears to shed debt and to give it some breathing room to be competitive in this new e-commerce world. The overarching policy in Las Vegas bankruptcy is to keep the company operational so that it may create and maintain jobs, positively influence commerce and pay taxes. So in a close call when a creditor prefers liquidation of the company assets versus allowing Sears to restructure such debt, Sears will generally get the benefit of the doubt with the hopes of being successful and accomplishing the bankruptcy policy goals. For my generation, Sears has been the mainstay for big ticket shopping. Home appliances, tools and of course, the famous Christmas catalog. I have many memories of looking through the telephone book size catalog for the weeks leading up to the winter holiday. Also, mandatory when shopping at Sears was getting popcorn at the snack shop. Sears is a part of American history. I hope Sears is able to use the Bankruptcy to restructure, capitalize upon its strengths, and keep its stores open.