Archives for December 2016

Dos and Don’ts of Home Loan Modifications

Home Loan Modifications

If you are struggling to make your monthly mortgage payment, you may be considering pursuing a home loan modification. Here are some things you want to be certain to do, as well as some pitfalls to avoid.

Dos

The most important thing to do when investigating the possibility of a home loan modification is to be realistic. Your lender has no legal obligation to change the terms of your loan. They will only give serious thought to doing so if it’s in their best interests, so you’ll have to put yourself in their shoes and try to determine why you should be allowed to modify the loan.

You’ll also want to put together an honest budget before you take any further steps. Look at how much income you have, as well as your other expenses, and be realistic about what you can afford per month. Don’t try to negotiate a modification if you won’t be able to stay current.

Do consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. It may be the best form of home loan modification available. You’ll have the added bonus of the automatic stay in bankruptcy, so that creditors can’t bombard you with calls and letters.

Don’ts

Don’t assume that your modification is permanent—verify it. If your lender agrees to a modification, be careful to clarify that it’s not just a trial modification. A lender will often allow you to amend the terms on an informal basis, but retains the legal right to reinstate the original terms. Keep thorough records of every correspondence between you and the lender, so that you have evidence that the modification is permanent.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up a meeting, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

Can I Save My Home from Foreclosure with a Bankruptcy Filing?

Bankruptcy Filing

If you are behind in your mortgage payments and fear that a foreclosure proceeding may be imminent, or if you are already facing foreclosure action, you may be considering filing for bankruptcy protection, so that you can save your home. It’s more than a question of if you can save your home, though. You also want to consider whether it’s in your best interests to try to save your home. Here are some factors to consider.

A Bankruptcy Filing Will Suspend a Foreclosure Action

You can temporarily suspend all legal action, including foreclosure proceedings, by filing for bankruptcy protection. With a Chapter 7, you can often keep a certain amount of equity in your home while forfeiting other assets, but you won’t be able to keep your home and discharge the mortgage. With a Chapter 13, you can restructure payments on your home to make them more affordable.

Reasons For and Against Trying to Save Your Home from Foreclosure

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you can realistically afford your home. If not, there’s no point in trying to save it. You’ll be better suited by trying to sell it for fair market value, even if that’s less than what you owe. In such a situation, you may be able to dispose of the property through a short sale. This will discharge any remaining liability for mortgage payments, but may cause you to recognize income on your taxes, though the Foreclosure Tax Relief Act may minimize the impact.

If you have equity in the home, though, it may be a good idea to try to save it. If you file bankruptcy and discharge other debts, you may be able to bring your mortgage current and keep it that way, provided you don’t incur new debt.

Another question to ask yourself—is it more important that you have reliable transportation or that you have a nice home. If you work from home, transportation is not as important, but if you need a vehicle to get to your job, you may be better off downsizing your living arrangement.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, we know that the bankruptcy process can be intimidating and confusing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call our office at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

What to Do If You Have Been Sued on a Fraudulent Transfer

Fraudulent Transfer

Under the federal bankruptcy laws, there are very tight restrictions on the transfer of property, both before and after you file. If the bankruptcy court determines that you improperly conveyed property to keep it out of your bankruptcy estate, you could face legal action alleging fraudulent transfer, a form of bankruptcy fraud. What should you do if you are sued for fraudulent transfer?

First and foremost, don’t ignore or minimize the seriousness of an allegation of wrongful transfer. Start by gathering all the documentation you have related to the item or transfer in question. Find anything that confirms when the item as transferred, why the transfer was made, and what the perceived value of the item was at the time of transfer.

It’s not uncommon for people to make transfers without knowing what they are doing. The key, with respect to fraudulent transfers, is that they require intent. If you can demonstrate to the court that you had no knowledge that your transfer was wrongful, or you had no intent to hide assets or wrongfully keep assets out of the hands of creditors, the transfer may not be considered fraudulent. The court may still have the power to recover the asset, but you won’t be personally liable.

Another situation where you may avoid liability is where there’s no perceived value in the property. For example, if you have a home that has no equity, a court may rule that there’s no fraudulent transfer as there was nothing of value for a creditor.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

We understand the stress, anxiety and confusion that can be associated with a potential bankruptcy filing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

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