Settling debts and who to pay first

free_606999.jpgAdvising a debtor on who to settle with first can be a daunting task, but with the right advice from an experienced attorney, I can make the choices easier for you.

I find that Bank of America is a good creditor to take care of first, once you are 90-120 days behind as they usually give one of the better settlement offers from the beginning. I have settled many accounts with BofA with settlements of 20-35% and will usually not advise a client to pay any more with them.

Other accounts such as Discover, Capital one, Target can be higher amounts and I see settlements in the range of 50% more often than not. I also know who is likely to sue and when and am able to give you a clear timeline as to how much you’ll need to save to make this work. Debt settlement companies are loathe to explain all of this to clients and would rather take your money and have you drop out and file bankruptcy with no regard to the position that it leaves you in. I will be clear with you from the start and if you cannot afford debt settlement or I don’t believe that it will work for you based on your assets, ability to pay in a reasonable time etc., then I will give you other options and am always willing to allow $500 dollars that you pay towards debt settlement to go as a credit toward filing bankruptcy.

Get sound advice and don’t let the allure of false promises lead you to the wrong debt settlement company. There is a reason that the FTC and attorney generals have been suing these companies and as a consumer attorney I will give you clear advice and I have a fiduciary duty to you and you can go to the California Bar with any complaints that would put me out of business.

Put your trust in someone that has your best interest in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions: Debt Consolidation in California
How does debt consolidation affect credit scores?

Initially, it might cause a slight dip due to credit inquiries. However, consistent payments can improve your credit score over time.

What is the difference between debt consolidation and debt settlement?

Debt consolidation involves taking a new loan to pay off debts, while debt settlement is negotiating to pay less than you owe. Settlement can negatively impact your credit score.

What are secured vs. unsecured debt consolidation loans?

Secured loans require collateral (like a house or car), usually with lower interest rates. Unsecured loans don't require collateral but typically have higher rates.

Is debt consolidation right for me?

It depends on your total debt, interest rates, credit score, and payment capability. It's suitable if you can pay off your debt within five years and secure a lower interest rate than your current debts.

Should I consider long-term financial planning?

Yes, debt consolidation should be part of a broader financial strategy including budgeting, cutting expenses, and building an emergency fund.

How do Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies in California differ?

Chapter 7 involves liquidating assets to pay off debts, while Chapter 13 allows debt restructuring over a set period, usually three to five years.

Can my spouse's bank account be garnished for my debt?

Bankruptcy laws offer protections against such actions, but specifics depend on individual cases and state laws.

How can I learn more about my options?

Consulting a California bankruptcy attorney can provide clarity. Firms like The Law Offices of Christopher Hewitt offer free consultations to explore debt relief paths.

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