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1 month 21 hours ago

 
Iman Five StarsJames promised me he would make one of the toughest experiences easy, and he did precisely that. Listen to James, the man knows.


1 month 3 days ago

Operators of Student Loan Debt Relief Scheme Banned From Providing Debt Relief Services as Part of Settlement with FTC

(Reprint from Federal Trade Commission, May 17, 2021) The operators of a student loan debt relief scheme are banned from providing debt relief services and have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they collected illegal upfront fees and falsely promised to lower or even eliminate consumers’ loan payments or balances.
student loanIn its 2019 complaint the FTC alleged that Student Advocates Team and other defendants charged illegal upfront fees that they led consumers to believe went towards consumers’ student loans, and falsely promised that their services would permanently lower or even eliminate consumers’ loan payments or balances. The defendants also signed customers up for high-interest loans to pay the fees without making required disclosures.
The settlement resolves FTC litigation against the remaining defendants in the case: Student Advocates Team, LLC, Progress Advocates Group, LLC (also doing business as Student Advocates), Student Advocates Group, LLC, Assurance Solutions Services, LLC and individual defendant Bradley Jason Hunt and individual defendant Sean Quincy Lucero.  Equitable Acceptance Corporation settled the charges against it in September 2019.
The orders ban the settling defendants from providing debt relief services, prohibits them from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and includes a monetary judgment against certain defendants of more than $24.5 million, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay. The defendants will be required to pay $11,500, which will be used for consumer redress. The defendants are also prohibited from collecting any further payments from the consumers who purchased their debt relief services.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final orders was 4-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-1{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-1 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-1{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-1 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-1{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-1 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-1{margin-top:15px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:0px!important;margin-left:0px!important;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-1{margin-top:10px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important; margin-left:0px!important;}}MUSINGS BY DIANE:I am a huge supporter of education, but the typical borrower is usually not prepared to predict if, and when, they can pay back a loan.  Instead, some borrowers view it as “free” money and assume that they will find a way to pay it back “sometime”.  Typically, they do not finish their education and end up in a job that barely supports them, and their family.  Certainly they cannot afford to buy a home, save for unexpected expenses or pay for their own child’s education  It becomes a terrible cycle of borrowing, failing to pay, having their wages garnished, which now means they definitely cannot afford to pay rent.   This becomes a cycle of life for them, their children, and their grand children. 
There are alternatives – school grants, scholarships, an extra job, or help from family.  Never be too proud to ask family for help, if what you want to do it get a good education.  But, never see school loans as free money – they come with disastrous price tags.

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.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:75% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 15px !important;margin-right : 10px;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 15px !important;margin-left : 10px;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-4{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 5;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post Student Advocates Team and others Falsely Promised Services – Now Banned appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney.


1 month 4 days ago

On January 1, 2022, HB2617 will become the law of Arizona.  Your home is no longer protected from your judgment creditors, which will have a devastating effect on Arizona’s consumers, and those hardest hit by Covid-19.
homesteadThis bill was promoted by Ben Toma, House Majority Leader, bought and paid for by the creditors and debt collectors.
There are three parts to the bill and its amendments:

  1.  The   bill   increases   a   homeowner’s   homestead   exemption   from   $150,000   to $250,000 effective January 2022.  YEA, THAT IS WONDERFUL, BUT WHAT DOES THE HOMEOWNER GIVE UP?
  2.  The bill retroactively turns any existing judgment into a lien on the judgment debtor’s homestead (some that has never been allowed in Arizona – back to Statehood).
  3.  The Toma amendment to the bill creates a new right for judgment creditors to receive proceeds otherwise exempt if a person refinances the mortgage on their home.

Who voted that creditors and debt buyers are more important than the homeowner?  It was almost down party line. In the Senate, all but two Democrats voted for the homeowners.  Who were the two democrats who decided that creditors and debt buyers are more important – Kirsten Engel and Sean Bowie.  All the Republicans voted for the debt buyers.

In the Senate, those who voted for debt collectors over the homeowner were: Nancy Barto, Sonny Borrelli, Sean Bowie, Paul Boyer, Kirsten Engel, David Gowan, Rick Gray, Sine Kerr, Vince Leach, David Livingston (the sponsor in the Senate), J.D. Mesnard, Tyler Pace, Warren Petersen (made the huge changes allowing the liens to attach retroactively), Wendy Rogers, Thomas Shope, Kelly Townsend, Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Karen Fann.

Who voted that creditors and debt buyers are more important than the homeowner?  Again, it was almost down party line. In the House, all but one Democrat voted for the homeowners.  Which Democrat decided that creditors and debt buyers are more important than homeowners – Daniel Hernandez.  All the Republicans voted for the creditors and debt buyers.
In the House: those who voted for debt collectors over the homeowner were: Brenda Barton, Leo Biasiucci, Walter ‘Walt’ Blackman, Shawna Bolick, Judy M. Burges, Frank Carroll, Joseph Chaplik, Regina Cob, David Cook, Tim Dunn, John M. Fillmore, Mark W. Finchem, Travis Grantham, Gail Griffin, Daniel Hernandez, Jr., Jake Hoffman, Joel John, Steve Kaiser, John Kavanagh, Quang H. Nguyen, Becky Nutt, Joanne Osborne, Jacqueline Parker, Kevin Payne, Beverly Pingerelli, Frank Pratt, Bret M. Roberts, BEN TOMA (THE SPONSOR OF THE BILL), Michelle Udall, Jeff Weninger, Justin Wilmeth and Russell ‘Rusy’ Bowers.

The homestead exemption has been an essential Arizona consumer protection law since the beginning of Arizona statehood.
The purpose of the homestead exemption is to protect a person’s home. For decades, A.R.S. § 964(A) has prohibited judgments from attaching to a person’s home by providing:
“[A] judgment shall become a lien for a period of ten years from the date it is given, on all real property of the judgment debtor except real property exempt from execution, including homestead property.” A.R.S. § 964(A) (emphasis added).
The bill eliminates this protection by automatically converting judgments into a lien that encumbers the person’s homestead.  It puts the interests of the judgment creditor ahead of a homeowner’s interest in the home. It puts families at risk of being left without shelter.
The consequences on debtors who file bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy discharge only relieves a debtor from its personal liability (i.e., the creditor is no longer able to sue or garnish a debtor for the debt). The purpose of a bankruptcy discharge is to give a debtor a fresh start by eliminating all debts. Bankruptcy judges have relied on the A.R.S. § 33-964(A) when holding that no lien attached to a debtor’s homestead and thus no lien could be avoided under the Bankruptcy Code. (i)   It is possible that thousands of bankruptcy cases will need to be reopened, at a substantial cost to the homeowner, to obtain a court order avoiding a lien that didn’t exist at the time of the original bankruptcy.  Some language was included as an amendment, but only time will tell if that language holds up to litigation of the issue.
This change in the law will most certainly lead to a significant increase in bankruptcy filings in order to eliminate the judgment liens on homestead property.
The bill amendments allow the judgment creditor to invade the homestead proceeds in the case of a refinance.
Homeowners refinance their existing mortgages to reach the excess equity in their home. Often, this amount is less than their protected homestead amount.    When a borrower is struggling financially, the borrower can refinance the mortgage, take out existing equity and use that excess cash to pay essential living expenses, repair a home, and pay off medical bills.
The Toma Floor amendment effectively eliminates the homestead exemption by creating an exception to its application in the event of a refinance.  As a result, a judgment creditor can take a homeowner’s equity upon refinance without regard for the exemption.
homesteadThis happens without warning to the homeowner.   If someone refinances their home, expecting to receive cash to pay for repairs, necessities or other items, the judgment creditors get the money, not the homeowner.  That leaves the homeowner with nothing other than a higher mortgage balance. Judgment creditors would receive an automatic windfall and be allowed to take all the homestead exemption.
The bill and its amendments negatively affect other creditors.
By allowing a judgment to retroactively attach to a homestead, the new law will deprive many existing creditors of their lien positions, because the loan was granted subsequent to the date of the judgment. Similarly, holders of second or subsequent mortgages will likely be denied their rights to the house.
Results:
The provision to increase the homestead exemption to $250,000 is long overdue and a welcome change to existing laws.  However, converting judgments into automatic liens that attach to a person’s homestead grants no added benefit to judgment creditors, while significantly weakening the homestead protections granted to Arizonans.
Retroactively granting lien rights to judgment creditors will be the foundation for a significant amount of litigation in both Arizona courts and federal courts and could potentially create chaos in the Arizona bankruptcy court. Giving judgment creditors greater rights in a homeowner’s equity upon refinance completely defeats the purpose of the homestead exemption.
Courts   have   repeatedly   reiterated   that   the   legislative   purpose   of   the   homestead exemption statutes is to allow the family to prevent judgment creditors from taking the family home.(ii) Judgment creditors (iii) are paid only if a sale takes place and then only after the homeowner receives their homestead exemption.
The bill, with its amendments, change the existing law to the extreme detriment of families who need basic shelter.

In re Rand, 400 B.R. 749 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2008) (holding that a creditor’s judgment does not attach to any homestead, regardless of equity, and judgment creditors are “denied the special and convenient remedy of obtaining a lien against the homestead and waiting for their collection to fall into their laps when their debtor has to sell or refinance).
ii  Pacific Western Bank v. Castleton, 246 Ariz. 108, 434 P.3d 1187 (Ct. App. 2018) (affirming the longstanding rule that judgment liens never attach to a debtor’s homestead, regardless of equity); Union Oil Co. v. Norton-Morgan Commercial Co., 23 Ariz. 236, 202 P. 1077 (1922); Security Trust & Savings Bank v. McClure, 29 Ariz. 325, 241 P. 515 (1925); Wheeler Perry Co. v. Mortgage Bond Co., 41 Ariz. 247, 17 P.2d 331 (1932); Schreiber v. Hill, 54 Ariz. 345, 95 P.2d 566 (1939); Seaney v. Molling, 62 Ariz. 81, 153 P.2d 532 (1944).
iii  Excludes judgments for domestic support/child support which are not subject to the homestead exemption.

.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-1{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-1 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-1{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-1 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-1{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-1 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-1{margin-top:15px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:0px!important;margin-left:0px!important;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-1{margin-top:10px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important; margin-left:0px!important;}}MUSINGS BY DIANE:homestead
Politically, this is a very strange time.  Politicians are doing things that only a criminal would try (from the insurrection on January 6, 2021, to selling their soul to a narcissist).  Arizona has become the laughing stock of the nation (equal to Florida and Texas).  Voting rights are something to hold hostage.  Why?  Where is honesty,  respect and common courtesy? 
Arizona legislators just invaded your homestead protection.  They cloaked this invasion in an appealing cover of raising the homestead from $150,000 to $250,000.  But, just like the Greeks, this was a Trojan horse.  Pretty on the outwide, but deadly on the inside.  After January 1, 2022 all past valid judgments are now going to attach to your homestead.

Eventually everyone is going to harmed by this change in the homestead law.  Secondary lending will slow down, and, probably, disappear completely for those with modest incomes.  The consequences of refinancing are not going to be known by the common Arizonian, at least not until they try to refinance their home, only to find out the money goes to the creditor(s) who have judgments, not to the homeowner.  So much for paying for the new roof, or dad’s heart surgery.
When will this insanity stop? When will people be more important than the dollar?

@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-2{margin-top:0px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:6px!important;margin-left:0px!important;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-2{margin-top:10px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important; margin-left:0px!important;}}– Diane L. Drain.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 30px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 45px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-2{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}.fusion-button.button-1 {border-radius:10px;}.fusion-button.button-1.button-3d{-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);}.button-1.button-3d:active{-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);}Click here for steps to your free bankruptcy consultation
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The post Three Arizona Democrats decide that Creditors and Debt Buyers are More Important than Homeowners appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney.


1 month 6 hours ago

Do you ever wonder if you can still buy a home after bankruptcy? Yes, it is possible. Even after the bankruptcy discharge, you can still be entitled to buy a new house. You just have to rebuild your credit score first, then apply for a home mortgage at the right timing.
Bankruptcy gives you a lot of options for debt settlement. It can wipe out or eliminate some or all of your debts. You will have the opportunity to have a fresh start and enjoy a debt-free life. However, bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for a certain period and it can damage your credit history. This will have a great effect on your ability to qualify for credit or loans such as a new home mortgage, car loan, or credit card. Bankruptcy will reflect on your credit record for up to ten years, depending on the type of bankruptcy chapter that you have filed. However, you don’t have to wait for ten years before you can apply for a new mortgage.
In Oregon, purchasing a home after bankruptcy is possible as long as you have a strategic financial plan and determination. It is crucial to monitor your credit report at all times to avoid any errors. Although your credit score is greatly affected by the bankruptcy, you can still rebuild it by using secured installment loans and credit cards. You just have to make sure that all your loan debts will be paid in full and on time according to the repayment plan.
Here are some tips before you buy a house after a bankruptcy discharge:

  1.       Aim for bankruptcy discharge
  2.       Monitor your credit report
  3.       Ensure accuracy of the information on your credit report
  4.       Rebuild and improve your credit score

Aim for Bankruptcy Discharge
Buy a House After BankruptcyBefore you qualify for any type of loan or mortgage, your bankruptcy should be discharged first. A bankruptcy discharge is issued by the bankruptcy court to free you from the responsibility of paying off qualifying debts and forbids your creditors to collect any of your debts or liabilities that are already discharged. You may seek legal help from a competent Oregon bankruptcy lawyer to guide you on how to increase your chances of being discharged from bankruptcy.
Monitor your Credit Report
A credit report is a detailed record of your credit history to measure your creditworthiness. You need to ensure that the details on your credit report are updated and accurate. Furthermore, you are eligible to get one free credit report yearly from one of the “big three” credit rating agencies. Instead of a one-time request, you may stagger it quarterly. In this way, you will be able to monitor your credit report regularly within a year.
When you check your credit report, you need to watch out for any debts that are already paid off and discharged. In Oregon, the law prohibits a creditor to consider any discharged debt in bankruptcy as presently owed, outstanding, late, converted to a different debt type, or having a balance due. If you see any mistakes similar to these, make sure to report them immediately to your credit agency to have them modified and corrected.
Ensure Accuracy of Information on Your Credit Report
You need to cross-check and ensure that all the personal and financial account information written on your credit report are true and accurate such as:

  •         Personal information (your name, address, or Social security number)
  •         Account information (to avoid identity theft)
  •         Information relevant to your former spouse that should not be included in your report
  •         Correct annotations for all your closed bank accounts
  •         Any account that is not included in your bankruptcy filing listed as part of it

Rebuild and Improve your Credit Score
When you apply for a mortgage, you need to gain the trust of lenders. To prove your ability to pay your debts, on time according to the repayment plan is a must. You may start repairing your credit score through the use of secured credit cards and secured installment loans.

  •    Secured credit cards are backed by the money that you have on your savings account as the collateral for the cards’ credit lines. You will be given a certain credit limit amount depending on your past credit history and the amount of money that you have in your account.
  •    Installment loan is a type of loan that obliges you to make monthly regular payments that include the principal loan amount and interest rate. Personal loans or auto loans are some of the examples of installment loans. If you cannot catch up on your due dates, it will negatively affect your credit. Before you apply for any of these installment loans, you need to be certain that you can repay the debt.

As you rebuild and repair your credit, it is advisable to consult a qualified Oregon bankruptcy lawyer to help you along with the process. If you want to improve and maintain a good credit score, it is crucial to ensure that all payments are made on time. In case of missed monthly payments, your creditor will take money from your savings account and reduce your credit limit. All activities on a secured credit card are reported to credit agencies.
Applying for a home mortgage doesn’t have to be done in a hurry. It is advisable to wait for at least two years after the bankruptcy discharge before you qualify for a new home mortgage. When you file a loan at the right time, you will have higher chances of getting better loan terms and interest rates. Always remember that a difference in the interest rate can have a great effect on your monthly mortgage payment and the total amount of your house.
The Role of Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyers
Buying a house after bankruptcy is possible; however, you need to be patient, dedicated, and careful in financial planning and rebuilding credit. It is crucial to monitor your credit report regularly to qualify for a new housing mortgage. For legal help, do not hesitate to consult our reliable Oregon bankruptcy attorneys at Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm. Our lawyers will guide you on how to get a loan with the best mortgage terms and purchase a new house after bankruptcy.
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The post A Guide on How to Buy a House After Bankruptcy appeared first on Portland Bankruptcy Attorney | Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm.


1 month 4 days ago

There is so much mis-information about a forbearance of home mortgages during COVID-19.  Know your options before making a decision not to pay your mortgage.

(4/1/21 UPDATE – see summary of foreclosure alternatives)

This chart provides a summary of relief options available for borrowers facing a COVID–19 related hardships. The options that they can access depend on the loan investor. In addition to the forbearance protections provided by the (CARES) Act, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA borrowers all have access to expanded options provided by their investors.These programs are discussed in greater depth in Chapter 12of Mortgage Servicing, which will be freely accessible during the COVID. Questions? Contact Steve Sharpe, National Consumer Law Center (ssharpe@nclc.org).

Are you a ‘planner’ or a ‘gambler’?
forbearance mortgage
Do you assume everyone is looking out for you, or you need to look out for yourself?  Do you assume everyone will tell you the truth based on what you believe, or that everyone has some alternative motive to have you believe as they believe?  Since humans walked this earth there have been planners and gamblers.  Planners do their own homework, they research issues, ask questions and assume that answers change over time.  Gamblers throw the dice hoping that luck will shine on them today, they don’t see that the ‘house always wins’, instead they are looking for that one hit that will set them up for the rest of their life.
There are consequences for each action.
What does being a ‘planner’ or ‘gambler’ have to do with mortgages, car loans, student loans and credit cards during COVID-19?  Plenty!!  First, the year of 2020 will bring with it economic issues we have not seen in a century.  COVID-19 has led to mass under or unemployment, businesses closing or closed, shopping centers and large commercial businesses closing and filing for bankruptcy.  The quarantine has led to less driving.  Reduced driving led to using less gasoline, needing fewer repairs and buying fewer new cars (all at a cost to the underlying industry).  Our leaders are looking short term in how to solve the challenges we all face, but are their motives selfish (want to be reelected) or altruistic (want to help us weather this crisis)?
A forbearance is not a guaranty you can keep your home.
forbearance mortgageThe CARES Act introduced us to federally mandated programs that offered the homeowner a ‘breathing respite” – no mortgages during certain periods on certain loans.  First, the loans must be federally or GSE-backed mortgages.  That means 60% of all home loans do not qualify.  A forbearance means that payments are put on hold, not that payments automatically go away, or are added to the end of the loan. 
Hundreds of thousands homeowners are going to be very surprised when their forbearance periods are over and they must pay all the missing payments immediately, or the lender will foreclose on their home.

Never rely on anything someone tells you, even if they work for your lender.  ALWAYS get their promises in writing.  What someone says today will change tomorrow and it is your word against theirs what was said.  What someone writes will normally stand up in court.
There is no “one solution fits all circumstances”.

Planners pay their bills, especially their mortgage, if they have the funds.  Gamblers jump on any offer (like COVID forbearance) even though they have the funds.  Why, because planners look at the future, gamblers look at the chips in front of them.

Look for resources that have no ulterior motives, such as:
forbearance
Arizona Department of Housing
Mortgage Help For Homeowners Impacted By The Coronavirus
There are hardship programs in place to help homeowners who have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus and are struggling to make their mortgage payments.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encourages homeowners adversely impacted by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible.  As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises (link is external), “you can find the number for your mortgage servicer on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book.”
Arizona Department of Economic Security
Services related to COVID-19
Mortgage Assistance
Maricopa County:
COVID Crisis Rental Assistance
Non-COVID Rent & Mortgage Assistance
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
COVID-19 RESOURCES
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(CFPB is currently run by a Trump appointee, who has watered down the “consumer protection” component).
Learn about mortgage relief options and protections

.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-1{margin-top:15px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:0px!important;margin-left:0px!important;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-1{margin-top:10px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important; margin-left:0px!important;}}MUSINGS BY DIANE:“FREE” does not mean free.  It means that you will pay dues later.  It may mean your free trip to the mountains comes with obligations to attend two days of intense sales pressure to buy a timeshare that no one wants.  It may mean you get a free puppy who hates your children (or it could mean life is perfect and everyone gets along).  My point is that ‘free’ is never free.  Take time to investigate why someone is offering something for free and what are you obligated to do in the long run.

@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-2{margin-top:0px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:6px!important;margin-left:0px!important;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-2{margin-top:10px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important; margin-left:0px!important;}}– Diane L. Drain.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-3{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-3 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 30px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 45px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-3{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-3 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-3{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-3 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-3{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}.fusion-button.button-1 {border-radius:10px;}.fusion-button.button-1.button-3d{-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);}.button-1.button-3d:active{-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);}Click here for steps to your free bankruptcy consultation
.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:25% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 0px !important;margin-right : 10px;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 0px !important;margin-left : 10px;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}

.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-6{width:75% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-6 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 15px !important;margin-right : 10px;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 15px !important;margin-left : 10px;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-6{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-6 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-6{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-6 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-5{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 5;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;padding-left : 0px;}
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1 month 5 days ago

I’ve received ten of these emails in the past year from the Babbs Law Firm based in Orlando, Florida:
“Good morning Attorney Turco,
 My name is Terrylle, and I am reaching out on behalf of the Babbs Law Firm in Orlando, Florida. I found your name looking for lawyers in the Southern District of Iowa for possible establishment of a local counsel relationship with our outside law firm. The Babbs Law Firm does foreclosure defense in Florida and Washington, DC, but has recently expanded to serve homeowners nationwide. The Babbs Law Firm is looking for attorneys to serve as local counsel, or co-counsel, in many jurisdictions around the country.  I’m contacting your firm to find out if your firm might be interested in working with Babbs Law Firm as cases arise in your area. If we have a need to serve a client in your area, we want to have local counsel, or co-counsel, lined up and ready to go.”    
I really had no idea who Sam Babbs was until I saw a new case issued by the South Carolina bankruptcy court imposing sanctions on the Babbs firm.
There has been an avalanche of these types of cases issued throughout the county in recent years and almost all of them involve a highly entrepreneurial attorney who markets bankruptcy services through the internet.  Bankruptcy law is particularly suited for this type of advertising since bankruptcy petitions are fairly generic and the process of preparing a case can be standardized much like Henry Ford did with the assembly line.
The fact is, successful bankruptcy attorneys do create assembly lines.  Smart attorneys should create streamlined preparation methods. They should automate the process to achieve a standard level of excellence for every case prepared.
So it comes as no surprise that our field increasingly sees regional or national firms entering local markets. They advertise well. They are internet savvy. They use telephone salespeople to quickly sign up new customers. Necessary documents can be faxed or emailed or uploaded to a central case preparation factory anywhere in the world.
But these new firms lack one thing: a local attorney to represent clients at the bankruptcy court hearing.
The challenge for these high-tech law firms is to figure out how to create a network of local counsel to show up at court. Warm bodies are needed, and, quite frankly, that is about the only qualification required.
The results of this spoke-and-wheel legal structure is predictable.

  • Clients get lost in the shuffle. They don’t know the name of the attorney who represents them.
  • Local counsel rarely meets the client prior to the bankruptcy court hearing.
  • Bankruptcy petitions are prepared by staff in the central national office.
  • Petitions are prepared by non-attorney staff who lack any courtroom experience and who are compensated by the number of cases prepared instead of the quality of the cases.
  • Communications with the firm are limited to telephone calls with no one person or team assigned to the case. You talk to a new person on the phone every time.
  • Petitions are frequently bare-boned and lack important details to explain the case to the court trustee.

Read the entire Babbs case and all these shortcomings are revealed.
What these national firms don’t  seem to understand is that they have their organizational structure backwards.  The key to a successful national firm is not centralized operations but empowerment of the local counsel.
A national firm should used it centralized powers of technology, advertising, organization and finance to empower the local counsel.
A smart national firm should route new customers to speak with local attorneys immediately. Instead keeping costs down by hiring the cheapest local attorney to show up in court, national firms should seek out enterprising local attorneys  who want a partner to handle advertising, technology, accounting and routine management duties so that they can focus on their role of representing clients. Talented local partners do not just want a token payment for being a warm body. They want ownership of their work and profits.
A savvy national firm that empowers its local partners would have a multiplier effect. The national office could answer phones and provide extra paralegal services and provide a template for standardized excellence in service. When times are busy the national office could inject extra personal to prepare cases. When times are slow a national office could tap local counsel to help out other local counsel in busier regions.
A national firm that focuses on making the local partner successful by enabling them to provide superior service is the blueprint for success. But this cannot be achieved if the national leader thinks like a fast food franchisor.
In my firm all new clients speak to an attorney who is then assigned their case for the duration of the matter. We work in teams, and a paralegal is partnered with each attorney to provide clients with an attorney/paralegal team that follows them through every step of the case. You always know who handles your case.  This is the most expensive way to structure a bankruptcy firm, but it also produces the highest quality of work and client happiness.
I’m not interested in being a warm body for the Babbs firm. No self-respecting attorney would.
 
 


1 month 5 days ago

On January 1, 2022, HB2617 will become the law of Arizona.  Your home is no longer protected from your judgment creditors, which will have a devastating effect on Arizona’s consumers, and those hardest hit by Covid-19.
homesteadThis bill was promoted by Ben Toma, House Majority Leader, bought and paid for by the debt collectors and creditors.
There are three parts to the bill and its amendments:

  1.  The   bill   increases   a   homeowner’s   homestead   exemption   from   $150,000   to $250,000 effective January 2022.  YEA, THAT IS WONDERFUL, BUT WHAT DOES THE HOMEOWNER GIVE UP?
  2.  The bill retroactively turns any existing judgment into a lien on the judgment debtor’s homestead (some that has never been allowed in Arizona – back to Statehood).
  3.  The Toma amendment to the bill creates a new right for judgment creditors to receive proceeds otherwise exempt if a person refinances the mortgage on their home.

The homestead exemption has been an essential Arizona consumer protection law since the beginning of Arizona statehood.
The purpose of the homestead exemption is to protect a person’s home. For decades, A.R.S. § 964(A) has prohibited judgments from attaching to a person’s home by providing:
“[A] judgment shall become a lien for a period of ten years from the date it is given, on all real property of the judgment debtor except real property exempt from execution, including homestead property.” A.R.S. § 964(A) (emphasis added).
The bill eliminates this protection by automatically converting judgments into a lien that encumbers the person’s homestead.  It puts the interests of the judgment creditor ahead of a homeowner’s interest in the home. It puts families at risk of being left without shelter.
The consequences on debtors who file bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy discharge only relieves a debtor from its personal liability (i.e., the creditor is no longer able to sue or garnish a debtor for the debt). The purpose of a bankruptcy discharge is to give a debtor a fresh start by eliminating all debts. Bankruptcy judges have relied on the A.R.S. § 33-964(A) when holding that no lien attached to a debtor’s homestead and thus no lien could be avoided under the Bankruptcy Code. (i)   It is possible that thousands of bankruptcy cases will need to be reopened, at a substantial cost to the homeowner, to obtain a court order avoiding a lien that didn’t exist at the time of the original bankruptcy.  Some language was included as an amendment, but only time will tell if that language holds up to litigation of the issue.
This change in the law will most certainly lead to a significant increase in bankruptcy filings in order to eliminate the judgment liens on homestead property.
The bill amendments allow the judgment creditor to invade the homestead proceeds in the case of a refinance.
Homeowners refinance their existing mortgages to reach the excess equity in their home. Often, this amount is less than their protected homestead amount.    When a borrower is struggling financially, the borrower can refinance the mortgage, take out existing equity and use that excess cash to pay essential living expenses, repair a home, and pay off medical bills.
The Toma Floor amendment effectively eliminates the homestead exemption by creating an exception to its application in the event of a refinance.  As a result, a judgment creditor can take a homeowner’s equity upon refinance without regard for the exemption.
homesteadThis happens without warning to the homeowner.   If someone refinances their home, expecting to receive cash to pay for repairs, necessities or other items, the judgment creditors get the money, not the homeowner.  That leaves the homeowner with nothing other than a higher mortgage balance. Judgment creditors would receive an automatic windfall and be allowed to take all the homestead exemption.
The bill and its amendments negatively affect other creditors.
By allowing a judgment to retroactively attach to a homestead, the new law will deprive many existing creditors of their lien positions, because the loan was granted subsequent to the date of the judgment. Similarly, holders of second or subsequent mortgages will likely be denied their rights to the house.
Results:
The provision to increase the homestead exemption to $250,000 is long overdue and a welcome change to existing laws.  However, converting judgments into automatic liens that attach to a person’s homestead grants no added benefit to judgment creditors, while significantly weakening the homestead protections granted to Arizonans.
Retroactively granting lien rights to judgment creditors will be the foundation for a significant amount of litigation in both Arizona courts and federal courts and could potentially create chaos in the Arizona bankruptcy court. Giving judgment creditors greater rights in a homeowner’s equity upon refinance completely defeats the purpose of the homestead exemption.
Courts   have   repeatedly   reiterated   that   the   legislative   purpose   of   the   homestead exemption statutes is to allow the family to prevent judgment creditors from taking the family home.(ii) Judgment creditors (iii) are paid only if a sale takes place and then only after the homeowner receives their homestead exemption.
The bill, with its amendments, change the existing law to the extreme detriment of families who need basic shelter.

In re Rand, 400 B.R. 749 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2008) (holding that a creditor’s judgment does not attach to any homestead, regardless of equity, and judgment creditors are “denied the special and convenient remedy of obtaining a lien against the homestead and waiting for their collection to fall into their laps when their debtor has to sell or refinance).
ii  Pacific Western Bank v. Castleton, 246 Ariz. 108, 434 P.3d 1187 (Ct. App. 2018) (affirming the longstanding rule that judgment liens never attach to a debtor’s homestead, regardless of equity); Union Oil Co. v. Norton-Morgan Commercial Co., 23 Ariz. 236, 202 P. 1077 (1922); Security Trust & Savings Bank v. McClure, 29 Ariz. 325, 241 P. 515 (1925); Wheeler Perry Co. v. Mortgage Bond Co., 41 Ariz. 247, 17 P.2d 331 (1932); Schreiber v. Hill, 54 Ariz. 345, 95 P.2d 566 (1939); Seaney v. Molling, 62 Ariz. 81, 153 P.2d 532 (1944).
iii  Excludes judgments for domestic support/child support which are not subject to the homestead exemption.

So who voted for the bill:

In the Senate, those who voted for debt collectors over the homeowner were: Barto, Borrelli, Bowie, Boyer, Engel, Gowan, Gray, Kerr, Leach, Livingston (the sponsor in the Senate), Mesnard, Pace, Petersen (made the huge changes allowing the liens to attach retroactively), Rogers, Shope, Townsend, Ugenti-Rita and Fann.

In the House: those who voted for debt collectors over the homeowner were:: Barton, Biasiucci, Blackman, Bolick, Burges, Garroll, Chaplik, Cob, Cook, Dunn, Fillmore, Finchem, Grantham, Griffin, Hernandez, D., Hoffman, John, Kaiser, Kavanagh, Nguyen, Nutt, Osborne, Parker, Payne, Pingerelli, Pratt, Roberts, TOMA (THE SPONSOR OF THE BILL), Udall, Weninger, Wilmeth and Bowers.

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Politically, this is a very strange time.  Politicians are doing things that only a criminal would try (from the insurrection on January 6, 2021, to selling their soul to a narcissist).  Arizona has become the laughing stock of the nation (equal to Florida and Texas).  Voting rights are something to hold hostage.  Why?  Where is honesty,  respect and common courtesy? 
Arizona legislators just invaded your homestead protection.  They cloaked this invasion in an appealing cover of raising the homestead from $150,000 to $250,000.  But, just like the Greeks, this was a Trojan horse.  Pretty on the outwide, but deadly on the inside.  After January 1, 2022 all past valid judgments are now going to attach to your homestead.

Eventually everyone is going to harmed by this change in the homestead law.  Secondary lending will slow down, and, probably, disappear completely for those with modest incomes.  The consequences of refinancing are not going to be known by the common Arizonian, at least not until they try to refinance their home, only to find out the money goes to the creditor(s) who have judgments, not to the homeowner.  So much for paying for the new roof, or dad’s heart surgery.
When will this insanity stop? When will people be more important than the dollar?

@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-2{margin-top:0px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:6px!important;margin-left:0px!important;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-title.fusion-title-2{margin-top:10px!important; margin-right:0px!important;margin-bottom:10px!important; margin-left:0px!important;}}– Diane L. Drain.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 30px !important;margin-right : 1.92%;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 45px !important;margin-left : 1.92%;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-2{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-2 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 1.92%;margin-left : 1.92%;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-2{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 0px;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 0px;padding-left : 0px;}.fusion-button.button-1 {border-radius:10px;}.fusion-button.button-1.button-3d{-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);}.button-1.button-3d:active{-webkit-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);-moz-box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);box-shadow: inset 0px 1px 0px #fff,0px 5px 0px #003d00,1px 7px 7px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);}Click here for steps to your free bankruptcy consultation
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.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:75% !important;margin-top : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {padding-top : 0px !important;padding-right : 15px !important;margin-right : 10px;padding-bottom : 0px !important;padding-left : 15px !important;margin-left : 10px;}@media only screen and (max-width:980px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}@media only screen and (max-width:640px) {.fusion-body .fusion-builder-column-5{width:100% !important;order : 0;}.fusion-builder-column-5 > .fusion-column-wrapper {margin-right : 10px;margin-left : 10px;}}.fusion-body .fusion-flex-container.fusion-builder-row-4{ padding-top : 0px;margin-top : 5;padding-right : 0px;padding-bottom : 0px;margin-bottom : 20px;padding-left : 0px;}
The post New Law Allows Creditors to Invade Arizona Homestead Protection appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney.


2 weeks 5 days ago

After Bankruptcy, are you getting your mortgage statements? After you file bankruptcy, you are still supposed to keep getting your mortgage statements.  But, are you? This question came up at the 29th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.  (I’m at that meeting this week, which was supposed to be in Orlando, […]
The post After Bankruptcy, are you getting your mortgage statements? by Robert Weed appeared first on Northern VA Bankruptcy Lawyer Robert Weed.


1 month 5 days ago

After Bankruptcy, are you getting your mortgage statements? After you file bankruptcy, you are still supposed to keep getting your mortgage statements.  But, are you? This question came up at the 29th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.  (I’m at that meeting this week, which was supposed to be in Orlando, […]
The post After Bankruptcy, are you getting your mortgage statements? by Robert Weed appeared first on Northern VA Bankruptcy Lawyer Robert Weed.


1 month 1 week ago

Many married people in California have individual debt. When they fail to make payments on their debt, their creditors are entitled to take legal action to collect. One step a creditor can take is to get a judgment and levy a person’s property, including their bank account.  Because California is a community property state, the […]
The post Can Your Spouse’s Bank Account be Garnished for Your Debt in California?  appeared first on The Bankruptcy Group, P.C..


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