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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

Short sale tax break could bring debt relief to Florida residents

South Florida homeowners may get a legislative reprieve if the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act that expired last year gets an extension approved by both houses of Congress. The Senate Finance Committee recently approved an extension for two years that would be retroactive for the entirety of this year.

Under provisions of the law, homeowners already struggling with debt were not responsible for federal income taxes due on mortgage debts that were forgiven by lenders on loan modifications, foreclosures or short sales on their principal residences.

Florida servicemen must consider financial decision implications

Members of the military, including those who are stationed at Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Integrated Support Command Miami or the AUTEC Complex, are sometimes thought of as people who are enjoying the benefits of serving our country. While it is true that members of the military do get paychecks on the 1st and 15th of every month plus medical care and some other stipends, some members of the military are in a bad financial state.

One area where the difference between civilians and members of the military is very apparent is the credit score. Using the averages of credit scores between the two groups, civilians tend to have a higher credit score than service members. Civilians have an average credit score of 692, while active duty military members have an average credit score of 592.

Florida residents can end debt collection harassment

What is worse than getting calls from debt collectors? How about getting calls from debt collectors when you don't actually owe them any money?

Such is the situation faced by one Cape Coral couple who kept getting collection calls for a woman with a name similar to the wife's who owed $210 to an answering service company from years before.

Florida still leads the nation in completed foreclosures

The last few years have been difficult for many homeowners. The number of completed foreclosures since the financial crisis started in September of 2008 was approximately 4.9 million across the country. According to the latest CoreLogic analysis, the foreclosure rate around the country is declining at a nice pace.

Florida is still in the top spot for completed foreclosures for the 12 month period that ended in February. There were 118,000 completed foreclosures in the state, which is more than double the number coming out of the state in the second spot.

D.R. Horton mismanages Florida complex's funds

Residents in one Florida neighborhood have nothing good to say about "America's homebuilder," D.R. Horton Inc.

The Miami Gardens community of Majorca Isles was intended to be a high-end townhouse complex of 650 units centered around a man-made lake. Some residents dropped $350,000 for their multi-bedroom units.

Debt collections on debts not owed running rampant

Dealing with creditors isn't something that most people want to do. When you know that you don't owe the debt, dealing with the bill collectors is even worse. An annual report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that the case of creditors trying to collect from people who don't owe a debt is a problem.

The annual report, which was released on March 20, 2014, shows that 34 percent of 30,300 complaints reported to the CFPB from July to December of 2013 were due to continued attempts to collect a debt not owed. That was the top complaint lodged with the bureau.

Miami woman seeking damages for bank's robosigning

A south Florida woman is causing some trouble for financial leader JP Morgan Chase Bank by filing a claim alleging that the bank's credit card division engaged in fraud. On March 11, the Miami resident filed suit in the Southern District of Florida. Among other things mentioned in the lawsuit, she is seeking to join a class of plaintiffs under the theory that Chase Bank engaged in deceptive market practices by seeking default judgments in credit card collection lawsuits by paying people to falsify paperwork which purported to be notarized affidavits.

The lawsuit alleges that on certain dates a number of employees working for Chase Bank signed signatures numbering in the range between 250 and 2,500. Also mentioned in the suit is that a link existed between the volume of employee signing and their bonuses.

Florida couple returns to find home wrongly foreclosed

The feeling of being able to say that you own your home free and clear is one that most homeowners are eager to experience. For one couple with a home in Broward County, Florida, that has been a feeling they have known for 15 years. The couple, however, discovered that their paid-for home had been foreclosed upon.

The snowbirds recently returned from spending time in another state when they discovered that the locks on their Coconut Creek home had been changed. They found a lock box on the door and discovered the electricity was turned off. The horror of the mistaken foreclosure didn't stop there. The couple discovered their kitchen was cleaned out and stickers were all over the belongings that remained.

Case involving Chapter 7 bankruptcy makes it to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court made a possible landmark ruling on March 4 that could impact those who have filed for bankruptcy in Florida and across the U.S. The Supreme Court ruled that a bankruptcy court cannot go after funds or property that are legally protected from creditors, even in the case of debtor misconduct.

The ruling reversed a previous decision that was handed down from a federal bankruptcy court that had ruled that exempted funds could be used to cover attorney costs that are incurred from the process of uncovering fraud or other misconduct. According to reports, a man filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and claimed $75,000 of his house's value under a homestead exemption, making it exempt from the estate of the bankruptcy.

Creditor harassment isn't something you have to deal with

Dealing with debt collectors isn't likely on a list of anyone's pleasurable activities. There are some instances in which dealing with creditors or third party collection agencies can be a real test of patience. Fortunately, consumers do have some rights when dealing with debt collectors. The Federal Trade Commission highlighted some of these during National Consumer Protection Week, which was the week beginning March 2.

One of the most important things for consumers to know is that creditors must validate the debt if you request them to do so. This means that if you dispute a debt and request that the collection agency provide you with written proof, collection activity must stop until that proof is provided to you. In this case, you must communicate with the debt collector to make your dispute known.


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