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Lake County IL Bankruptcy Law Blog

Military members at risk for personal bankruptcy, options exist

Military members stationed in Illinois and other areas often suffer from financial difficulties. This may be counter-intuitive for some Americans, who see military members receiving food, lodging and many of their other basic needs at no extra cost. Still, scores of military members file for personal bankruptcy every year. The reason: a dynamic lifestyle that often leaves families split between multiple mortgages and other debts.

Few other professions require such unquestioning devotion to spur-of-the-moment relocation. Single military members may face financial challenges because of their situation -- but military families are also particularly vulnerable to financial risk. Imagine experiencing the stress that comes along with purchasing a home, only to be told that your duty station has prematurely changed. Purchasing another home or renting a residence -- in addition to paying the other mortgage -- can be a crushing financial burden.

Using a card after Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a good idea

Illinois residents who are pursuing bankruptcy proceedings may feel uncertain about their financial futures. In some cases, misconceptions abound -- for example, the idea that you cannot use a credit card until three months have passed after your bankruptcy. In fact, those who have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are free to use a credit card the day that they file. Although that is legally the case, however, it may be difficult to find an appropriate credit card for your needs after spending so long struggling with debt.

Experts say that a bankruptcy notation will be visible on your credit report for a full decade. This is likely to have a negative impact on your credit score for at least two years after the filing. Bankruptcy filers are categorized as risky customers, so the accounts will be rather undesirable; be prepared for high interest rates, lower credit limits and ongoing fees.

Tips for avoiding medical debt after a trip to the hospital

Emergency room visits are often traumatic to the body, but Illinois experts say these medical experiences can also be dangerous for your pocketbook. A single trip to the emergency room may have disastrous consequences, depending on the nature of your visit. With more and more Americans facing bankruptcy because of medical debt, financial gurus offer tips on avoiding money woes after a trip to the hospital.

Although it may seem like a waste of time, many experts say that it is smart to think about your emergency room visit long before it ever becomes necessary. Be sure that your health information is in order, and identify emergency rooms that accept your insurance plan. Preparedness on the front end can save significant heartache down the road.

Banks accused of 'robo-signing' credit card debt documents

"Robo-signing" became a popular phrase during the foreclosure crisis that occurred in the wake of the most recent recession. This term is in the news again, however, with consumers arguing that banks are using similar unfair practices with their credit card customers. Illinois residents who have credit card debt may have been victimized by bank workers who relied too heavily on computer processes and did not check for errors, according to one woman's lawsuit.

The suit alleges that collections lawsuits against those with credit card debt rely on inaccurate documents that have been pushed through the legal process without quality checks. In many cases, the woman argues, credit card customers' documents contain a variety of errors and do not include critical information such as consumer disputes. The plaintiff in this case had fallen behind on her credit card payments after her husband lost his business in 2008; she was subject to two collections suits in 2009.

Experts: Many don't know they have medical debt

Would you believe that your unpaid medical bills are hurting your credit score? Although many Illinois residents may not think that overdue medical bills are a big deal, they can have a significant effect on individual credit histories. Even those small unpaid bills may cause serious damage to credit ratings for Illinois patients.

The problem with medical bills can often be distilled down to a single word: uncertainty. Patients are often billed before their insurance companies are consulted, which can lead to confusion about payment. Many of us have learned that it is sometimes best to wait for a couple days to make sure that the insurance company has paid the correct amount.

Paying your taxes with plastic? Assuming safe credit card debt

Many Americans eagerly await their tax refund during the spring, but for others, this season can be a little stressful. For those of us who have to pay taxes at the end of the year, facing a large amount of government debt can be terrifying. Instead of worrying about paying your taxes, some experts say that satisfying the bill with a credit card could be the ticket to a financial reprieve. Here is how you should use your cards to your advantage without assuming massive amounts of new credit card debt.

Those who are looking to recover significant rewards points through their credit cards may benefit from paying their taxes in this way. This is a great option for those who already have the money set aside for this endeavor; otherwise, you could incur interest costs that you would not have otherwise accrued through the Internal Revenue Service.

Financial wellbeing key for those filing personal bankruptcy

Do you know the meaning of 'financial wellbeing?' This term is sometimes difficult to define, but financial wellbeing is a critical component for personal and family success. Many bankruptcy attorneys say they deal with individuals who have lost much of their financial wellbeing, perhaps because of uncontrolled spending or unexpected problems such as an emergency medical situation. Although bankruptcy can help many families overcome financial challenges, a state of financial wellbeing is essential to lasting monetary success.

Most definitions of financial wellbeing include some description of consumers controlling their money rather than allowing their money to control them. Those who have gone through personal bankruptcy should know how to manage their money, and they should be educated about the appropriate use of credit. Financial wellbeing allows consumers to pay their medical expenses without worry, and it even permits families to absorb unexpected life changes without worry.

Fewer Americans have savings to pay off credit card debt

A startling new study shows that fewer Americans -- including those in Illinois -- have the cash on hand to pay down their credit card debt. The survey, conducted by Bankrate.com, shows that just over half of Americans have stashed away enough money in their emergency accounts to eliminate credit card debt. That is the lowest estimate since the firm began tracking that statistic in 2011. About 30 percent of Americans admit to having more credit card debt than the amount in their savings account.

Americans have also increased their spending in recent years, but the savings rate has dropped precipitously. The rate of personal savings in the U.S. was measured at about 4.2 percent in November; that number is rapidly approaching the 3 percent mark that was observed at the onset of the Great Recession. Consumers may be experiencing additional stress after this holiday season, as consumer spending increased during the last quarter of 2013.

Man negotiates personal bankruptcy back to six-figure success

In Illinois and much of the rest of America, an idea exists that someone who works hard, makes bill payments on time and ferrets away money for the future will be set for life. Would you imagine that someone who followed all the rules could, in fact, file for personal bankruptcy? It happens more than you might think. One man recounts his path from a six-figure income into the financial challenges of bankruptcy and back into affluence.

The man had spent 20 years in his chosen industry of business consulting and development, helping massive institutions refine their processes. However, 2009 saw his employer's acquisition by a competitor, and he realized that the new bosses did not fit his personality. He found a new job without a problem, but an unexpected speed bump came along; the man's former employer sued his new company because of a "noncompete" clause. Mounting legal bills forced the second company to let him go, and the man was left adrift without financial stability.

Illinois residents' medical debt could drop thanks to reforms

Illinois residents may know that expanding medical coverage is likely to provide better health care for a large number of Americans. However, many are wondering whether the Affordable Care Act will actually have an impact on medical debt that is crippling many families.

Medical debt is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in this nation, with some residents foregoing essentials such as food and heat to pay their medical costs. Experts say that analyzing a similar policy that was instituted in Massachusetts may offer some insight into the effect of the ACA on Americans' medical expenses. Some gurus believe that health care reform could improve debt relief and stabilize finances for scores of Americans.

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