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New York Law Blog

How debt follows you through life

Debt is a way of life in the United States, and nearly 80 percent of people in New York and across the country carry some debt. You are likely among those who tread dangerously close to the edge each month while prices for necessities rise and your debt continues to climb.

If you have at least $38,000 in debt plus a mortgage, you are not alone. This is the average debt burden in America, and reports show that being in debt is now a lifetime status for most, beginning in the earliest years of adulthood and continuing well into the senior years.

Free Bankruptcy Screening for Taxi Medallion Owners

Every day I receive phone calls from taxi owners requesting information about bankruptcy. There are two types of bankruptcy that can be useful: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Taxi Owner uses chapter 13 to eliminate $600,000 debt by paying $900 per month for 5 years.

He could not stand the pressure of the monthly note payments so he visited us for advice. We determined that he could not file chapter 7 bankruptcy because his house was worth too much. It appraised at $485,000 and he had paid down his mortgage to $63,000. That left $422,000 in equity. His wife owned half the house, so his share was worth $211,000, but he was entitled to a homestead exemption of only $165,000. That left $46,000 of equity that could not be protected. If we filed a chapter 7 case, the bankruptcy trustee would ask him to pay a lump-sum of $46,000, and if he could not pay it, the Trustee would sell the house.

Do you have a basic understanding of estate planning?

As New York readers know, there is significant benefit in having a strong estate plan. You may understand that it is important to plan for the future through certain estate planning tools, but you may not be sure what that means or how you can do this for yourself. Like many others, you may benefit from a basic understanding of what estate planning means and what it entails. 

The foundation of any good estate plan is a strong will, but there are many other things you can include in your plan to suit your needs and objectives. From setting aside assets for the care of a family member to planning for medical care in the future, a thoughtful estate plan can give you great confidence and security regarding your long-term interests.

Avoiding common debt payment mistakes

Getting into debt is easy. A credit card purchase, a vacation, a medical emergency and before you realize it, you are unable to make your minimum payments. On the other hand, your money troubles may have hit you all at once following a job loss or divorce. While everyone's path to debt is different, many people in New York share the goal of getting out from under the burden of debt.

If you have sat down with your bills and attempted to organize a pay-off plan, you may have felt overwhelmed. Falling behind on certain bills, such as your taxes or your mortgage, can have serious and rapid consequences, but every delinquent bill comes with a cost. The trick is to choose a debt payment option that does not make matters worse for you.

Rule #1 for Taxi Medallion Owners

Most Medallion Owners are feeling despair. No matter how hard they work, they cannot make their loan payments and also support their families. They see no hope and sometimes think there are no choices that can help them. 

Issues that can prompt the need for immediate debt relief

Most New York residents, as well as people in other states, understand what it's like to face temporary financial problems. From minor issues, such as having to pay a late phone bill or come up with some cash to get a few extra groceries before the next paycheck arrives to serious problems involving creditors threatening litigation or lenders saying they're considering foreclosure, financial crises of any kind can be quite stressful.

You can solve most financial problems by determining the best course of action according to your circumstances. There's no general rule for resolving such issues; in fact, what works for one problem may not be viable in another situation. This is why it's critical that you explore all available options to figure out which solution best fits your needs before taking any formal action to resolve a financial crisis. It often helps to speak with others who have successfully overcome similar problems in the past.

Is something in the way of your citizenship?

You may already know that the path to U.S. citizenship is not an easy one. To begin with, you likely went through the process of obtaining permanent residency, which often takes years, depending on the immigration program through which you obtained your green card. After receiving your permanent residency and moving to New York, you had to wait three to five years before beginning the process of applying for naturalization. During that time, you may have been saving money, studying your civics lessons and practicing English.

Now that you are eligible to apply, you are likely eager to gain your U.S. citizenship and the full rights it offers. However, there may be other factors that could prevent you from successfully completing the process of becoming a citizen.

Benefitting from the automatic stay through bankruptcy

Bankruptcy may not be your first choice, but it could be an optimal way for you to take back control of your life. If you are dealing with overwhelming debt, you understand that your financial situation can have a negative impact on multiple areas of your life.

New York readers know debt can lead to many negative consequences, and one of them is the harassment and constant contact from debt collectors. These people may be calling you at home, sending you letters and even taking physical steps to repossess your property or ensure they get payment. This is extremely stressful, especially when you cannot pay, but there are certain ways you can make it stop.

How to Protect Assets from a Nursing Home

Nursing home costs are astronomical. Genworth's recent survey of nursing home costs showed the cost of a nursing home in NYC between $11000 and $15000 per month. None of us want to live in a nursing home. But if you or a loved one require that level of care, the question is, how will you pay for it? At a rate of upwards of $400 per day, it won't take long to run through your life savings. But is there a way to protect your property? Can you preserve some or all of your property for your spouse, or your kids, even if you have to go into a nursing home? The answer is yes.

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