Debt Relief Blog Series: Determining Your Best Option. Part IV: Approach to Resolving the Debt
One of the major differences between various debt relief options is the approach taken to resolve the debt. The approach you take for debt resolution can impact everything from:
- The time it takes to resolve your debt situation;
- The impact to your Credit;
- The actions Creditors take to collect on the debt;
- The stress you may feel during the process.
At the free consultation, our goal is to discuss all of your debt resolution options and determine the best course of action based on your unique circumstances and long term financial goals. Call us today at 866-261-8282 to speak to a licensed Michigan attorney or schedule an appointment time online.
Difference in Debt Resolution Approach
- Debt Settlement: Debt settlementinvolves directly contacting your creditors to settle the debt for a reduced, lump sum payment.
- Approach to resolving the debt: We typically only recommend debt settlement for clients that have a small total number of creditors, i.e. less than 10 total. Anything more usually makes it unmanageable to get full creditor agreement.
We also only recommend debt settlement for those people that have money set aside to make a lump sum payment without compromising their budget or creating new debt (i.e. borrowing money from a relative).
The timeline can vary depending on where you are at in the collection process, but the general timeline is 3 weeks to 3 months. Depending on the total amount of the debt you are trying to settle, we will recommend if you need our help or if we feel you can successfully negotiate a settlement on your own. We recommend the option that makes the most financial sense and will create the least amount of stress for you.
- Debt Management Programs:
- Approach to resolving the debt: Debt management programs (DMP) is a debt consolidation program that utilizes a 3rd party company to negotiate monthly payments to reduce your debt over a period of time. Debt Management companies commonly have some pre-set arrangements with various creditors. This is partly due to the fact that most Debt Management companies are partially funded by major credit card companies. Beyond these preset terms, DMP's attempt to negotiate directly with creditors to get an agreement on proposed monthly payment terms.
The main issue with DMPs is that there is no guarantee that all creditors will agree to the terms of the program and they can drop out at any time. Because your creditors are under no legal obligation to the DMP plan, the concern is that a lawsuit, judgment or wage garnishment could occur during the course of the program and derail your repayment efforts.
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
- Approach to resolving the debt: Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a debt elimination program for unsecured debt obligations, such as:
- Credit cards;
- Medical Bills;
- Utility bills;
- Personal loans;
- Loan deficiency debt (i.e. foreclosure or vehicle repossession debt);
By filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are under immediate court protection and cannot be sued, garnished or even contacted by your creditors. It is a straightforward way to bringing a swift and legal end to your unwanted debts.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
- Approach to resolving the debt: Chapter 13 bankruptcyis a court-authorized debt consolidation program. Chapter 13 differs for other debt consolidation plans in many key ways:
- The plan runs for a finite timeframe: 36 - 60 months;
- The program offers beneficial repayment terms that your creditors are forced to comply with vs. voluntary negotiation:
- 0% Repayment on unsecured debt obligations, such as credit cards and medical bills, personal loans, etc.;
- Adjustments to lower an interest rate for a vehicle loan and possibly reduce the principal amount owed;
- Remove a second mortgage or home equity loan;
- Defer unsecured debts until all secured debt obligations are brought current.
- There are lots of benefits to the structure of the Chapter 13 plan, it is also a flexible process in the sense that you can make adjustments to the repayment plan throughout the program if your circumstances change.
- All Chapter 13 plan payments are handled by a court-appointed Chapter 13 Trustee. The information is audited and available online for you to see. The process is very transparent.
Understand Your Debt Resolution Rights:
Trying to understand which approach best suits your circumstances can be daunting. We are here to help. Call us today at 866-261-8282 for a free consultation with a licensed attorney. At the free consultation, we will:
- Review your monthly expenditures, income and outstanding debt;
- Discuss your long term financial goals;
- Assess your available options and answer your questions;
- Determine your best option for resolving your debts and moving toward financial security.
We typically have same-day appointments available. For your convenience, we have six Michigan office locations in: Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Southfield, Warren and Dearborn. Financial freedom could be yours, call today!