Avoiding Scams That Target the Elderly

Unfortunately, seniors are often the target of scams. Instead of enjoying life after working for years, people in retirement find themselves trying to figure out how to overcome insurmountable debt to no fault of their own. Although perhaps not the ideal situation, if you have been the victim of a scam and now all your retirement money is gone, consider speaking to a Watertown bankruptcy lawyer about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt consolidation, or credit counseling. To avoid being scammed, education is the key. Reverse Mortgage Scams While reverse mortgages are a legitimate way of getting equity out of the home, people who scam the elderly are interested in taking the entire home, not just the equity. In this case, scammers convince seniors that reverse mortgage offers are real when, in fact, the homeowner transfers the property to the criminal without realizing it. Another reverse mortgage scam involves charging outrageous and unfair fees for a real loan. To take equity from the home to travel, for medical reasons, to make home improvements, or to purchase a bigger-ticket item, always work with a trusted mortgage broker or bank. Contractor Scam Often, seniors live in the same home for 30, 40, or even 50 years. Over time, home repairs are needed. In this scam, so-called contractors call or, even worse, show up at an elderly person’s doorstep claiming to be licensed professionals who can repair roofs, fix siding, build new decks, and so on, all for an incredibly reduced price. Because scammers know the language, drive work trucks complete with ladders and construction tools, and seem willing to give seniors discounted rates as a way of being kind, they appear legitimate. Being “old school,” some seniors are overly trusting and have made deals on a handshake. Therefore, they never think twice about paying the full price of the job upfront. With the money in hand, the scammer leaves to purchase materials never to return. If your home needs repairs, find a licensed contractor through friends, family members, neighbors, and other trusted sources, like reference sites and trade associations. Regardless, all work should be outlined in a legal contract and no more than 50 percent should be paid upfront. Investment Scams Even when people are protective of their retirement funds, professional scammers are able to steal money through “investment opportunities.” In this case, seniors are promised high returns with virtually no risk, but as the saying goes, “If it seems too good to be true…” Someone offering a real investment opportunity will give you time to conduct research. If you ever feel pressured into making a quick decision, turn and run. To discourage this type of scam, let the person know that you want to consult with another financial advisor or that you need everything in writing. The Bottom Line Sadly, not everyone is honest. To protect your retirement money, listen to your gut instinct, ask a lot of questions, and use reputable and trusted sources. If you have become the victim of a senior scam, there is no shame in talking to a qualified Watertown bankruptcy...

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Starting Over with a Bankruptcy Attorney in Watertown, NY

Struggling with insurmountable debt while having no relief in sight is a terrible thing. If you are currently dealing with this type of situation, it is important to know that bankruptcy is a viable solution. Unfortunately, some people still believe that bankruptcy is the result of poor money-management skills or being downright irresponsible.   In truth, many people who hire a bankruptcy attorney in Watertown, NY, are dealing with very difficult situations that are out of their control. For example, people file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy because of major health problems, tumultuous divorces, loss of jobs, and other unexpected hardships. Therefore, know that your financial situation is not due to irresponsibility but life challenges, and that by hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Watertown, NY, you can enjoy a better future.   Princeton University studied more than 500,000 people who had filed bankruptcy. As part of the study, the financial situation of these individuals was reviewed five years before and five years after filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was found to be extremely beneficial for the people who had successfully filed.   Study Outcome   This study identified several key things. For instance, annual income for individuals who filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy was, on average, $5,500 greater compared to non-filers. As for salary increase, people between 25 and 40 years of age who filed earned $7,800 more per year on average.   The study also showed a dramatic reduction in the number of foreclosures. People who filed bankruptcy had a greater ability to work, which significantly reduced the number of individuals depending on welfare. One of the more interesting revelations was that individuals in the study who filed bankruptcy actually lived longer than those who were under financial stress but did not file.   As imagined, stress goes hand-in-hand with bankruptcy. However, during the first five years of the study before filing, upwards of 84 percent of participants said they felt incredibly stressed. Then, during the five years following the bankruptcy, only 34 percent still felt somewhat stressed.   By hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Watertown, NY, you have the opportunity to start over without debt. For additional information on how a reputable attorney can help, we invite you to call us for a no-obligation, free consultation. Everything discussed will be held in the strictest of...

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The Truth about Credit Card Delinquency

What is Credit Card Delinquency? If you are ever late in making your payment to the credit card company, you become delinquent. Each month, you are required to make the minimum amount owed; if you fail to do so, the account goes into delinquent status. The number of missed payments is what determines the category in which your accounts stands. For instance, missing a single payment makes the account delinquent one day and missing two payments makes the account 30 days delinquent. The bottom line is that when you miss paying at least the minimum amount due on your credit card, the account goes into delinquency. Although missing a payment is never good, typically a single missed payment is not reported to the credit bureaus. If you miss two payments in a row, the credit card company will report your account as delinquent. The Impact of a Delinquent Credit Card Once your credit card account is reported to the credit bureaus, your FICO credit score drops. Unfortunately, by missing three consecutive payments, you could see a reduction in your credit score of as much as 125 points. Taking a hit like that is devastating to your overall credit rating. Obviously, missing four payments would be even worse in that the account would go to collections and you could face legal trouble. Avoiding or Repairing Delinquency Through Watertown Credit Counseling If you are unable to pay your bills, consider talking to an attorney who offers Watertown, NY, credit counseling. Obviously, the goal is to make the minimum payment — more if you can — but if you cannot do this, then credit counseling in Watertown is imperative. As an attorney group who offers credit counseling in Watertown, we can show you viable options for getting out of debt, which may or may not include bankruptcy. While there are consequences to bankruptcy, this is one way to get creditors off your back and start with a clean financial slate. However, with bankruptcy being a huge decision, you should first start with Watertown, NY, credit counseling. Together, we will go over the details of your situation and then devise the right plan. Rather than fall behind on payments and have your credit ruined, we invite you to call us so we can provide you options that will help you get out of debt....

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How Much Does It Cost to File Bankruptcy in Watertown?

Watertown Bankruptcy Costs Vary Like other people who file for bankruptcy, the biggest question you probably have is how much it will cost. There are actually two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and because each is unique, the cost varies. Therefore, the amount paid will depend largely on which type of bankruptcy you file. By talking to a Watertown bankruptcy attorney, you will gain tremendous insight. For instance, filing fees are your responsibility, and they will cost somewhere around $300. In addition, bankruptcy laws changed several years ago, and, as such, you are required to take a “Credit Counseling” course. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to complete a “Debtor Education” course as well. Each of these courses costs between $25 and $150. Documentation for Filing Bankruptcy in Watertown As part of the process, your Watertown bankruptcy lawyer will advise that copies of certain documents are required, as well as a recent credit report. For instance, the attorney will need to see seven months of paystubs, two years of tax returns, titles to vehicles, and the recorded deed and mortgage to your home. You will also pay to have photocopies of these documents made and  a credit report run. Sometimes, the court will place a lien on a home. If that happens in your case, you will have to pay additional legal fees. Keep in mind that you are not in this alone. The Harris-Courage & Grady Solutions teams will be by your side throughout the entire process. The bottom line is this: To file for bankruptcy, the amount that you ultimately pay will vary based on several factors. Even though you are the one who pays the expenses, in comparison to the debt owed, it is a small sacrifice to make. To get more answers or to schedule a meeting with a top-rated Watertown bankruptcy lawyer, we invite you to contact us today at (315) 836-2065. Your phone call is free and your personal information is protected. Our goal is to make bankruptcy less stressful, which is why we offer payment arrangements so you do not need to worry about spending money...

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