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December 2011 Archives

Proposed Wrongful Foreclosure Settlement

As a Waco bankruptcy attorney, I see people who are going to lose their homes to foreclosure all the time. In McLennan County alone, approximately 60-80 homes are set to be foreclosed on every month. I frequently hear clients in my office saying that they are attempting to modify their home loans and the mortgage company is working with them, so why should they be worried about the foreclosure? Wow, that is a loaded question. Mortgage companies are not supposed to foreclose on a home while they are considering a modification, so, as long you are attempting a modification, you are safe from foreclosure, right? Wrong. Across the nation, mortgage companies are wrongfully foreclosing on homes with little consequence.

Debtors' Attorneys Beware

It amazes me sometimes the amount of trust clients place in their attorneys. They trust their attorney to lead them in the right direction and give them sound advice. I tell staff and clients on a regular basis that if the amount of trust clients place in you doesn't keep you up at night sometimes (even if you are doing a good job) then you have failed as an attorney. People come in my office scared and misinformed and they trust that I will explain the law to them so they understand and let them know their options so they may make the best financial decision possible. It is not possible to serve clients well if you are sitting at both ends of the table in a negotiation which is what happened in an Oregon case called In re: Smith-Canfield.

If you are behind on your mortgage payments, what are your best options?

Central Texas Families may fall behind on their mortgage payments for many reasons from job loss to medical bills, from retirement to paying payday lenders and credit cards instead of the house payment. But the end result is the same--if you are behind on your mortgage payments, you are at risk of losing your home to foreclosure. A recent study looked at Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a means to save homes for families at risk of foreclosure. (See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1223262) The study focused primarily on families who filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure in Delaware for the majority of the last decade and compared them to families who did not file bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure. The study found a number of important points. First, it is important to act quickly if you are behind on your house payments. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure and force a mortgage company into a repayment plan over the course of 3 to 5 years. Unfortunately, some families were unable to make their repayments plans and still loss their homes in spite of the bankruptcy. While I believe that new programs that have developed since this study ended are helping families be more likely to be successful in Chapter 13 bankruptcies, sometimes families will still lose their homes if job loss continues or they cannot afford their regular monthly house payment plus the bankruptcy payment. (See http://thekehllawfirm.com/hope-for-homeowners-who-struggling-make-their-house-payments/). However, families who were less than 12 months behind on their house payments when they filed bankruptcy were more likely to succeed in keeping their homes in a successful bankruptcy. The take home message, don't delay. If you are behind on your house payments, talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney today about your options. The sooner you start fixing your problems the more likely you will be successful in saving your home in the long run. Second, this study also confirmed something that I strongly believe--Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not for everyone. There may be other options to save your home where you can be successful like attempting to modify your home loan as a party of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Finally, one option is simply to let the home go back. I know that is not an appealing option to many of my clients, but if you are unable to afford your home, it might be the best option for your family. (See http://thekehllawfirm.com/cant-afford-your-home-foreclosure-right-for-your-family/). If you are behind on your mortgage payments, don't delay! Seek out help today from experienced staff who can work with you to make a plan. Call 254-633-2876 or email me at [email protected] for a FREE, no-obligation consultation before you lose your home.    

What is a reaffirmation agreement?

A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement between you and a creditor where you agree that you personally will pay all or a portion of a debt owed, regardless of the bankruptcy. They only apply in a Chapter 7 bankruptcies and are voluntary. They typically come into play with car creditors in your bankruptcy.

Samantha Kehl is now a member of The College of the State Bar of Texas

Samantha Kehl has been accepted as a member of The College of the State Bar of Texas.  The College of the State Bar of Texas is an honor society chartered in 1981 by the Supreme Court of Texas. They recognize and represent lawyers who make an extraordinary commitment to professional education.   This is an achievement attained by fewer than 10 percent of the lawyers in Texas.

Smart shopping in tough economic times

As a Waco Bankruptcy Attorney, I have noticed more and more of my clients are shopping at discount and dollar stores. They are trying to cut their food budgets and the budget for household items such as laundry supplies. The truth is they may not be getting the bargain they are looking for. I also shop at discount and dollar stores, here are some of the things I have learned.

Great Holiday Presents that are Affordable

'Tis the Season. Most of us are trying to find presents for our loved ones this time of year. However, sometimes money is tight and we have to find nice gifts that won't break our budget. Today I wanted to share some of my experiences with great Christmas presents that are affordable.

Christmas on a Budget: Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season

One of the hardest things for anyone to do is deny their family anything they want especially around the holidays. Children are supposed to make lists for Santa and he is supposed to check them twice. But what do you do when Santa doesn't have any money? As a Waco bankruptcy attorney, I see people every year with money problems. So many people feel like failures this time of year due to money problems and it doesn't appear that it is getting any better. So, what can you do? Here are a few ideas.1) Make Time for Each Other. When I look back on my childhood, I don't remember the toys. I remember the things my family did together as a family. One of my most cherished memories involves my church. Like most churches, my childhood church donated toys and food to needy families. One night in December, we would go to the church and all the donated items would be spread out of large tables. Everyone would grab a shopping chart and a list of details about a needy family and you would fill up your shopping chart with items for that family's holiday. I loved spending the evening with my family helping another and it didn't cost my parents a dime. Yet I remember that time more than what toys were under the tree. My husband and paralegal, Stephen Kehl, remembers looking at Christmas lights with his brother, parents and grandparents. The bottom line, it doesn't matter what you do, just do it together. 2) Bake your presents. I can't cook. But every year, my best friend and her daughter make homemade chocolates in baskets for Christmas presents for everyone on her list. She gets to spend time with her daughter bonding and makes a delicious treat for everyone as well. Why not make it a baking party with friends and family? Get together, bake up a storm, and share the fruits of your labor and the memories. 3) Plan an activity rather than exchange presents. Have a family paintball competition or dinner rather than exchanging presents. You can have fun and not worry about when you need to wear the new sweater Aunt Carol knitted for you this year. 4) Gift exchange. Have the extended family do a gift exchange this year to help. They can be serious presents or not so serious. Every year during my family's gift exchange, everyone fights over a painting of our family tree which is a tree covered in acorns that says "Our Nutty Family". Everyone laughs so hard when it comes out. 5) Buy Gift Cards. If you don't know what to get someone, why not give a gift card and let them buy what they want. My mother-in-law is saving for something special and collecting gift cards as presents until she has enough to go buy her something special she wants. The bottom line is have fun and remember what is really important this holiday season, family and friends. And money can't buy them. Drowning in debt? The Kehl Law Firm, P.C. Helping People Find Debt Relief. Let my family help yours. Call today at 254-633-2876 for a free consultation with experienced staff to explore your options.a

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