Debt Settlement and Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy

Is bankruptcy a better option for managing debt?

Is bankruptcy a better option for managing debt?

Debt settlement and debt consolidation rarely work in favor of consumers. There is no guarantee that they will work. So how does it work? Basically, debt settlement and consolidation companies have you pay them to settle your debts for you.

They have no special bargaining powers or authority to make your creditors settle. If a creditor does not want to settle, they can simply refuse, keep charging you late fees and interest, while you keep paying the settlement company to basically do nothing.

Bankruptcy gives you protection under the law. After your case is filed, the Federal Bankruptcy Court issues an Automatic Stay, which grants automatic and immediate protection from your creditors. From there on out, your debts are handled under court supervision and creditors cannot continue to charge late fees or interest.

Liz Weston from NerdWallet wrote a great article detailing why debt settlement and debt consolidation are BAD alternatives to bankruptcy, how they hurt you more in the long term.

The article is a few years old but still applies, check it out @ https://www.southbendtribune.com/story/business/2017/08/30/debt-settlement-a-bad-alternative-to-bankruptcy/46331397/

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost?

We will meet with you for free, run a free credit report, go over all your debts and budget, and give you advice on getting out of debt. We will file your case for low money down, and let you choose your payment schedule. We make getting debt free affordable and easy for you.

Check out below from Geraci Law’s web site @ https://www.infotapes.com/

Beware the lawyers that promise “$0/down to file Chapter 7”. It’s usually not completely true and you end up paying more overall in the end. It’s free to start with a Geraci Law attorney.

We will meet with you for free, run a free credit report, go over all your debts and budget, and give you advice on getting out of debt. We will file your case for low money down, and let you choose your payment schedule. We make getting debt free affordable and easy for you. If it weren’t true, we would not have over 30,000+ reviews from satisfied clients.

Additional resources:

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

How Does Bankruptcy Filing Work?

Check out the Infotapes from Attorney Peter Francis Geraci. Watch below or @ https://www.infotapes.com/Bankruptcy/Infotapes

Organize Your Debt

1. How MUCH debt do you have? Is it around $10,000 or more in debt you can eliminate, like medical bills, lawsuits, credit cards, personal loans, repossessions? Make a list of all your debt and what it is for. You can find a form at Infotapes.com. Remember, some debts don’t appear on credit reports, so gather your bills, and even old debts can chase you for 5 or 10 years or more

2. What KIND of debt do you have? So if you have $10,000 or more in debt, is it the kind you can get rid of, or the kind you want to pay, like vehicles or credit unions, or is it just government student loans?

So, you can make a short list, using our form, you can get a free credit report to see what your creditors are reporting to credit bureaus.

Consult with a Law Firm

3. Get a free phone mini-consultation. You will need competent advice on whether Chapter 7 or 13 is right for the type and amount of debt, and also for your income level. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can pick your Chapter, because you don’t know as much as Geraci Law’s highly experience attorneys.

4. Start uploading your documents. If we decide that we can help you, we’ll give you access to the Geraci Law ClientCorner, run an Experian soft-pull, get a Kelly Blue Book value on your vehicles, estimate your house value if you have one, and more. You can then upload necessary documents to our Geraci Law ClientCorner client portal, such as pay stubs, bank statements, contracts, bills and tax returns.

Meet with a Bankruptcy Lawyer for Free

5. Get a virtual or in-office interview and get your options, costs, and retain us, little or no money down. Figure a payment plan, and you’ve got yourself a lawyer! We’ll refer you to take a 20 minute online finance course, which costs $25. Take the course before you file. You can take my credit counseling course online for free to see what it’s like.

Review and Sign your Bankruptcy Paperwork

6. We’ll then prepare a bankruptcy petition of about 50 pages for you to review, and assemble the necessary documents you have uploaded, and after you sign it, we’ll file it with the Court.

File your Bankruptcy in Court

7. After we file in court, we’ll post all your documents on your secure Geraci Law ClientCorner portal, where you will get all your messages, instructions, documents, and even videos about your meeting of creditors and taking your second Debtor Education Course. The bankruptcy court requires you to take the second course to get a discharge. I teach it, and the Administrative office of the U.S. Trustee in bankruptcy certifies it. The court is one of the only courses actually taught by an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Attend your Meeting of the Creditors

8. We will go with you, either by Zoom or in-person, to a brief interview with a Court appointed bankruptcy Trustee to go over your petition and approve it. If you filed Chapter 13, your plan will be confirmed and you will make the necessary monthly payment. If you filed Chapter 7, we will handle any paperwork with vehicles or mortgages you want to keep, and you will get a discharge around 4 months from date of filing.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Free Counseling Videos

Thinking about what to do about your debts? Afraid of the unknown?

Watch short videos with Bankruptcy Attorney Peter Francis Geraci about bankruptcy, credit, and debt.

Thinking about what to do about your debts? Afraid of the unknown?

Attorney Peter Francis Geraci produced credit counseling videos about bankruptcy, credit and debt, you can watch all for FREE at https://www.infotapes.com/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyInformationVideos

You will learn about:

  1. Medical Bills
  2. Personal Loans
  3. Payday Loans
  4. Suspended Driver’s License
  5. Can I keep a credit card?
  6. How does Chapter 7 bankruptcy work?
  7. How does Chapter 13 bankruptcy work?
  8. What does loan modification mean in bankruptcy?
  9. How do I keep my house and vehicles?
  10. What does bankruptcy do for my credit score?

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Heating Gas Prices Triple!

Inflation hurting everyone!

Read, “Heating Gas Prices Triple” a press release from Geraci Law. You can read this and more at https://www.infotapes.com/Press.

In Northern Illinois, not to mention Indiana and, of course, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, etc., it’s cold outside right now! So, turn up your heat, but be prepared for a big natural gas bill (thankfully we have gas heat, not electric which is even more costly).

According to NICOR, the natural gas supplier, the price of a therm of natural gas in January 2021 was 29 cents vs. January 2022 is 61 cents per therm. DOUBLE

1)     Peoples Gas prices for October 2020 were 24 cents per therm and in October 2021, they are 72 cents per therm — a 198% increase. TRIPLE

2)     Nicor Gas prices for October 2020 were 28 cents per therm and in October 2021, they are 61 cents per therm — a 125% increase. MORE THAN DOUBLE

3)     North Shore Gas prices for October 2020 were 35 cents per therm and October 2021, they are 67 cents per therm — a 91% increase. JUST ABOUT DOUBLE

Geraci Law is increasing the budget expense for new Chapter 7 and 13 filings accordingly, so clients can meet their living expenses, and pay less to creditors under the “means test” that Democratic leaders (you know who) pushed through in 2005 to make debtors pay more to creditors. But with inflation, bankruptcy filings are designed to insure that debtors can pay their regular living expenses, before they pay creditors, or even discharge their debt so they can pay their gas bills. Thank your politicians for making it tough on everyone!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Does Your Resolution Involve Debt?

No one wants to file for bankruptcy but life happens and that’s what the Fresh Start Button is for.

An article in The Washington Post titled, “Americans’ top five financial resolutions and how to make them stick” illustrates people’s WANT to budget and save. The author provides some good tips on how to make a budget and stick to it (the subheading – no you don’t need a budgeting app to control your spending is pretty good too).

This article does not account for large amounts of debt. Something in life happens where you are laid off, injured or just simply without the money to save. You use credit to survive and all of a sudden – you are stuck. Saving money becomes far more difficult when you are making minimum payments only to use your credit because your cash is gone.

THAT is where Geraci Law can help. No one wants to file for bankruptcy but life happens and that’s what the Fresh Start Button is for. So many clients are happy and relieved and are ABLE to:

  • Start a savings account. Think about it – if you are spending $600 per month on minimum payments, you eliminate the debt and you have THAT $600 extra per month. Put 1/2 away in a savings account and in a year – you are at $3,600 in emergency funds (put ALL into a savings account and you are at $7,200).
  • Invest – see the article. The author references a free course from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

You cannot start saving until you deal with the debt problem. Geraci Law attorneys are ready to talk to you and review all of your options. Read the article at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/01/04/new-years-advice-to-keep-financial-resolutions/

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Geraci Law in the Middle District of Florida

Geraci Law is ready to help folks from Fort Meyers, Daytona, Ocala, Orlando and Tampa Bay County.

Geraci Law helps the entire state of Florida with debt! Our team can review your situation to determine if a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 will solve your problem. Best part? The consultation is free.

In Florida – there are three districts where an individual can file. Every Florida county is assigned to one of these three districts. You file where you live at. There is the Southern District Bankruptcy Court, Middle District Bankruptcy Court and the Northern District Bankruptcy Court.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida is the third busiest bankruptcy court out of the 90 Federal Districts! Geraci Law is ready to help folks from Fort Meyers, Daytona, Ocala, Orlando and Tampa Bay County.

Cases filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida have 341 Meeting of Creditors via Zoom. Geraci Law will HELP you with this process. You can handle your entire case from the comfort of your own home including your virtual Meeting of Creditors.

Before you make your next minimum payment – give us a call. We can help you stop the cycle of debt. Check out Break the CYCLE of DEBT!

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Links and Resources!

Geraci Law dedicates a page on http://www.infotapes.com to resources and links for job fairs, free family events & more! Check it out @ https://www.infotapes.com/Links.

Geraci Law wants to be a resource to you! Did you know on our web site, we have a special page called Tools & Links? Geraci Law routinely updates to include info like job fairs, free family events and more! Check it out at https://www.infotapes.com/Links.

Here are some of links under Free Family Services

3 For FreeFun, free things to do in Lake County, ILlittlelakecounty.com
A Parents Guide to Community Resources in MilwaukeeList of community resources and contact informationoakcreekwi.org
After School Programs (Illinois)Afterschool programs for children and teens.ACT Now!
After School Programs (Indiana)Afterschool programs for children and teens.Indiana Afterschool Network
After School Programs (Wisconsin)Afterschool programs for children and teens.Wisconsin Aftershool Network
Chicago Public LibraryFree events for library card holders.Chicago Public Library
Childbirth & Parenting Classes (Indiana)Affordable parenting classes.Community Health Network
Free Mommy & Me Classes (Illinois – Chicago)A list of free programs for new moms and babies.Mommy Nearest
Illinois Winter EventsList of holiday events and festivals in IllinoisTravel Illinois
Indianapolis Public LibraryFree events for library card holders.Indianapolis Public Library
Milwaukee Public LibraryFree events for library card holders.Milwaukee Public Library
Parenting ClassesAffordable parenting classes.The Parenting Network
Parenting Education Program (Illinois-Chicago)Support services with focus on youths in foster care, teen parents and low income families.Ucan
SouthShore Convention & Visitor Authority30 Free and fun things to do on the South Shoresouthshorecva.com

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

CHAPTER #9 What Does Bankruptcy Cost?

A lot less than paying debt that you can’t pay.

Read Chapter 9 of Attorney Peter Francis Geraci’s “The Complete Book on Bankruptcy” and more @ https://www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com/

A lot less than paying debt that you can’t pay. Anyone can come up with $900 or $1000 to put down on a Chapter 7, and pay the rest over time. Anyone can come up with the court costs to file a Chapter 13, and pay the rest in with their Chapter 13 payment.

Every lawyer charges exactly the same for Chapter 13, so don’t bother shopping for fees for Chapter 13. Why? In almost every court, the court rules provide for a standard fee for all services. So, it’s not the fee that you use to pick out an attorney.

Same with Chapter 7. Some people think everyone with a law license is the same. That’s why the jails are full. Lots of people who don’t know how to pick a decent attorney. People who file bankruptcy often have no confidence in themselves or their family or their budgets, and panic! They think, “I have to pay a big fee all at once and I have no money”.

If you panic, you might call every lawyer who advertises bankruptcy and say “How much is a bankruptcy”? If you actually get an answer to that, here is who you might probably be are talking to:

A lawyer who got fired or could not work with anyone so he paid $500 for a website design. He rents a desk in an office center, and has no employees, works from his cell phone, returns his calls you leave on voice mail while he is driving from traffic court to a real estate closing to a bankruptcy court meeting, the only 3 cases he has this week. “I will do your case for $800 come on in” he says. You say “don’t you want to know anything about me or what is involved before you tell me $800?” He says, “no, come on in, bring your money”

You show up and sure enough, it’s either a rented desk in “Armstrong Office Suites”, or it smells funny and not very professional. He is late. So you wait, he shows up and says “sorry, I was in Court” and brings you into his office. The place is a mess. He actually has a fax machine on his desk.

“Did you bring the $800?” he says. “Don’t you want to know anything about me or what is involved before you tell me $800?” you say for the 2nd time. (Oh, you also had to wait a week before he could “fit you in”.)

Anyway, he then tells you that instead of $800, because you have a house and car, he meant $800 to file, plus the court cost, and there will be additional costs if “anything goes wrong”.

You say, “whaaat? What do you mean, if anything goes wrong?” He says, “don’t worry, usually nothing usually wrong”! So much for the “UNKNOWN ATTORNEY”. But, if he gets your $800, he at least has his rent for the month.

At Geraci Law, we get a lot of people who have been elsewhere and are unhappy. Read our reviews. Some people focus on the attorney’s fee in choosing an attorney. My office gets calls from about a hundred people a year who have had Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 cases goofed up because they tried to save $100 on attorney fees.

Sometimes, in fact, regularly, we tell people NOT to file bankruptcy. That is why we have never “lost” a house or had any real “trouble”. So, one cost of a bankruptcy might be getting bad advice or bad representation by your attorney. The attorney’s fee doesn’t matter, since you can’t save much from one attorney to another.

So, bankruptcy is pretty cheap. If you had $20,000 to pay your creditors, you’d probably give it to them. If you could settle all your debt for $5000, you would. So why try to beat up your lawyer before you have all the facts in front of, by calling around to unknown lawyers to get them to tell you something on the phone? No smart lawyer will give you any real advice on the phone, much less quote you a firm fee for something they know nothing about.

Always get a free in office consultation. If you really want the cheapest lawyer in town, then go to the one who tells you $500 on the phone, and pray that you will be happy! You get what you pay for. At Geraci Law, we work with almost everyone, but $500 was a fee in 1975, not 40 years later in 2015. Every year, one of the “cheap” bankruptcy lawyers gets indicted or closes up, so watch out who you think is giving you a “cheap price”. The so-called “largest bankruptcy firm in the world”, “Macey & Aleman Legal Helpers” closed up suddenly in 2013 and did not refund fees to clients, who then filed claims in its bankruptcy for the $1400 or whatever fee they lost when the place shut its doors.

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

Who your Lawyer is, DOES Make a Difference

An attorney representing creditors scrutinizes your Chapter 7 or 13 petition, looking for assets they can take, or money they can get you to pay creditors.

Below is an article written by Attorney Peter Francis Geraci read this and more at https://www.infotapes.com/Articles

Geraci Law founder Peter Francis Geraci likes to say “Why pay the same and not get the name?” Even worse, why THINK you’re paying an attorney to protect you, but end up losing your home or other asset? 

Remember, creditors look at your bankruptcy petition, and so does the United States Trustee and their minions. An attorney representing creditors scrutinizes your Chapter 7 or 13 petition, looking for assets they can take, or money they can get you to pay creditors.

Geraci Law attorney Nathan E. Curtis recently defeated a Chapter 7 trustee in one case, and a Chapter 13 trustee in another. In Will County, Illinois, the Chapter 7 trustee wanted to take $12,000.00 the Geraci clients had claimed exempt as funds from the sale of their home, because Illinois law says the “homestead” exemption is only good for a year. Attorney Curtis pointed out to the Court that, since the Chapter 7 was filed within a year of receiving the sale proceeds, the Trustee could not claim it by holding the Chapter 7 case open and waiting a year to object. This saved the Debtors $12,000.00.

In the Chapter 13 case, Geraci Law attorney Nathan Curtis defeated the claim of the Chapter 13 trustee that life insurance proceeds of $50,000 were “disposable income” that had to be paid to creditors. Attorney Curtis pointed out that only “current monthly income”, not a one-time payment, much less a life insurance payment that is exempt from creditors, may be required to be used to pay creditors. The Bankruptcy Judge agreed, and Geraci Law saved the widow from having to use life insurance to pay creditors.

Who you choose for an attorney DOES make a difference! 

Dial 1-800-CALL-PFG for a free phone mini-consultation, or make an appointment online 24/7 at www.infotapes.com.  Bankruptcy laws are in place to help you.  Who knows bankruptcy like Geraci Law?  Geraci Law has 30,000 5-star reviews 5starsince November 2016!

Read ALL ABOUT DEBT RELIEF at www.bankruptcybookbypeterfrancisgeraci.com.

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