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Wisconsin Bankruptcy Law Blog

Should you hide your vehicle from repossession?

Perhaps it is becoming too common an event. You have a large bill coming due this week, such as your mortgage or car payment, and you know you will not have enough money in the bank to cover it. Maybe you are to the point where you are alternating months, paying one debt this month and putting of another for next month. This kind of juggling is evidence of a serious financial crisis, and if you have missed your car payment, matters could get much worse very quickly.

Car loans use your vehicle as collateral. This means if you default on the loan, in some cases missing only one payment, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle. Because of this, you may think your best course of action is to hide your vehicle from repossessors in hopes that you will be able to catch up on the payments. However, hiding your vehicle may be a bad idea.

Is bankruptcy your best option, or not?

Are you one of many Wisconsin residents who are currently experiencing financial problems? While your situation is unique to your own circumstances, you might also find that you can relate to others who have had similar experiences. Perhaps you or someone in your household suffered a job loss. This is often enough to offset financial scales, causing great difficulty to make ends meet.

Many people don't really experience a single, cataclysmic event; rather, their financial problems develop slowly, over time. In either case, or no matter the particular issues are that led to your distress, the good news is that there are typically options available to help get your financial life back on track. Maybe you don't want to file for bankruptcy. In Wisconsin, you might not need to because there are alternative debt relief options available.

Experiencing these issues? It may be a good time for bankruptcy

If 2019 hasn't been financially strong for you thus far, you are definitely not alone in your struggle. Many Wisconsin residents are barely staying afloat to pay their bills and struggling to put food on their tables. Most families experience financial distress at some point in life. In fact, you may have already overcome such problems in the past and have been enjoying financial stability until something else happened to derail your financial train again.

It's not uncommon for people to hesitate when it comes to choosing debt relief options. For one thing, some people don't even realize they have options. Then again, you might be aware of the options that exist but are embarrassed or worried about social stigmas attached to certain financial crisis solutions, such as filing for bankruptcy. There's no shame in taking advantage of available financial tools to help wipe the slate clean and start afresh. The question is: If you plan to do that, when should you?

What penalties occur at the stages of credit card delinquency?

Many Wisconsin residents may have a love-hate relationship with credit cards. They can certainly come in handy when facing a large purchase that may need payments over time or when bridging a gap after a financial emergency. Some people may choose to use their cards simply for the rewards offered.

Of course, credit card use can sometimes turn into a slippery slope. You may think that using your card for a significant purchase is wise, but if you do not pay off your balance in a timely manner, you could accrue interest and other fees. If you end up in a situation where you stop making your payments, you could face a number of consequences.

Understanding 'default' and other foreclosure terms

If you encountered a financial crisis that made you unable to make payments on your home loan, you may be at risk for foreclosure. A lender takes back possession of a property when a mortgagor can no longer make payments through this process. In such situations, your loan is said to be "in default." Facing a foreclosure threat on your Wisconsin home can be highly stressful even though the threat does not necessarily mean it will happen.

You may have several options available to avoid foreclosure. Sometimes, however, it's difficult to see what's right under your nose in such situations, meaning, you may feel so overwhelmed and worried that you aren't even aware that you have options. If you're concerned about possible foreclosure, it can help to seek financial counseling or speak to someone who has helped others find viable solutions to similar problems.

Are you an older individual dealing with debt? You have options

Facing overwhelming debt is frustrating, especially when that means that a person is also dealing with phone calls from creditors, collection letters, the threat of repossession and more. For older people, having a lot of debt is particularly concerning because many do not have the ability to earn more money or pay down their balances. Many elderly individuals in Wisconsin and throughout the United States are choosing to file for bankruptcy. 

When an older person is faced with an unmanageable debt burden, his or her options may be more limited. For example, it may not be possible to get a loan refinanced or get a job to pay off debt. In many cases, health problems all but ensure that the bills will keep adding up and they will keep falling behind.

Is your business in a downward financial spiral? You have options

As a Wisconsin business owner, you understand that your company's financial status is going to fluctuate alongside national, local and global economies. You may have a few consecutive stellar years, then a financial crisis hits you. If you have a strong support team in place, you may be able to make a few adjustments, implement creative ideas and bounce back without any far-reaching, long-term negative consequences.

It's not always that easy, however; in fact, sometimes you must explore additional options to find a solution that allows you to get your financial train back on track without hanging a "closed permanently" sign on your storefront (whether you have a brick and mortar facility or are primarily e-commerce based). The good news is that there are several types of bankruptcy that may help you wipe the slate clean and start afresh without ever closing your doors.

Have the holidays left you with more debt than you can handle?

The holidays are often a time where caution is thrown to the wind and money is spent to ensure happy memories. If you are anything like the average American family, you likely spent somewhere between $500-$1,500 on gifts this holiday season. Now that the holidays are over and the particles of wrapping paper dust have settled on the receipts, it's time to get serious about your plan to dig out of debt.

Most Americans carry several thousand dollars of credit card debt- not considering mortgage, student loan or vehicle debt. Experts say if only the minimum payments are made, it would take the average American 23 years to pay off their credit cards.

A bankruptcy trustee helps keep your case in line

Bankruptcy is a legal process that can help qualifying individuals find relief from their overwhelming debt. As you consider this option, you may come to realize that it is a very involved process. Before becoming intimidated, however, you may want to gain more information on specific aspects of bankruptcy proceedings.

An important aspect to look into relates to the individuals involved in your case. Certainly, you and your legal counsel will play important parts, as will a judge. Someone you may not have considered as having a vital role in your case is a bankruptcy trustee.

Your bankruptcy circumstances could affect the automatic stay

If you have been struggling with your finances -- in particular with substantial debt -- for some time, you may feel as if you have exhausted your options for getting back on track on your own. Though you may have made payments, cut spending and taken other routes, your efforts may not have been enough to make a significant dent in your outstanding balances. You may even now face actions from creditors, like garnishment or repossession.

Due to your circumstances, you may believe that now is the time to consider filing for bankruptcy. You know that it is a major step, but you also know that it has many benefits. In particular, you may have heard that an automatic stay can stop creditor actions.

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