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AG Settlement with Mortgage Companies, Student Loans, Tax Debt, and more

Stephen and I attended the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys 20th Annual Conference in San Antonio over the weekend. (See http://www.nacba.org/) Over the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about some of the items we learned about. Here are just a few brief highlights.We attended a session held by Joseph Smith regarding the new AG Settlement Agreement with the five major mortgage companies. See my previous blog on this settlement at http://thekehllawfirm.com/proposed-wrongful-foreclosure-settlement/. Joseph Smith is the national settlement monitor who is assigned to ensure that the mortgage companies comply with the settlement. He talked about the settlement and how attorneys can help their clients obtain the relief the settlement is supposed to offer struggling homeowners. He offered suggestions to attorneys on how to give his office feedback to ensure that the settlement is complied with properly. While the settlement will not solve everything, hopefully it will begin the healing process. I will be talking much more about the settlement in the future. While many (including myself) have been critical of the AG settlement in the past, as Prof. Katherine Porter, the California settlement monitor, stated this weekend, this settlement is what we have and we need to make it work. I want to do everything possible to help my clients obtain the best relief they can over the next 3 years.We listened to an update on the political environment in DC with a special emphasis on student loans. If you have been watching the new lately, you hear over and over that student loans may be the next economical crisis this country faces. There are many proposed solutions including extending the low interest rate (see http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/willis-report/blog/2012/04/24/student-loan-debt-crisis). Unfortunately, when Congress changed the bankruptcy laws in 2005, they made it impossible for me to help my clients regarding student loans. Congress is debating reversing this change to allow bankruptcy to offer some relief to clients (see http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/2012/03/28/looming-student-debt-crisis-hits-the-senate). While it is unlikely Congress will make any changes to the bankruptcy laws in an election year, we may see relief within the next few years. While these solutions do little to help with the problem of higher cost for higher education, at least the problem is being looked at.Another session discussed how to discharge (or avoid repaying) IRS debt in bankruptcy. While these rules are not new and I have helped numerous clients in the past get rid of IRS debt or repay it with less penalties and interest through bankruptcy, new cases coming out of the 5th Circuit in New Orleans and bankruptcy courts in San Antonio this year may add some new wrinkles to this complicated set of rules.That is what I love about the law. It is always changing. You have to continue to learn and grow in your abilities and practice to be a good attorney and advocate for your clients. You have to keep up with new cases and trends. That is why attending conferences like this weekend are so important. While I am tired now and didn't get a day off this weekend, I am also invigorated to grow to be the best attorney and advocate I can for my clients.If you are drowning in debt, please call 254-633-2876 today for a free, no-obligation consultation to see what an experienced (and ever learning) Waco bankruptcy attorney can do for you. Let my family help yours.

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