Austin Legal Blog

How Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are different from each other

One of the most common questions that gets asked about the topic of bankruptcy in general is: what is the difference between a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing? These are the two most common forms of personal bankruptcy, with nearly three-quarters of bankruptcy cases are Chapter 7 and the remainder are Chapter 13.

The major difference between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that Chapter 7 is simpler and has a lower income requirement than Chapter 13. Chapter 13, on the other hand, has a higher income threshold to qualify but also offers the filer a repayment plan that can give them time to recover their financial footing.

A looming student loan crisis?

Many financial experts see similarities between the 2008 subprime housing crisis and today’s $108 billion private student loan market. A decade ago, billions in subprime mortgage loans were ruled uncollectable by courts over missing or fraudulent documents.

For a variety of reasons, mostly involving financial challenges and credit scores, borrowers turn to private student lenders. Unlike federal programs, these loans usually carry higher interest rates and reduced consumer protections.

Will new credit reporting rules boost accuracy and reduce errors?

For those who wage an ongoing battle with bad credit, help may be on the way. If you are dealing with unpaid taxes, doctor bills and judgments, you may not only receive much needed protections, but also a significant boost in your overall credit score.

Equifax, Experian and Transunion’s joint National Consumer Assistance Plan is the result of a 2015 settlement between the three major credit bureaus and 31 state attorneys general. The objective is to improve accuracy of credit reporting and provide consumers with much-needed transparency.

Thanks to new owners, Texans can continue to drive 85

Any shred of doubt Texans have over the future of fast driving from Mustang Ridge to Sequin has disappeared. Any concerns over being forced to take on the never-ending congestion on I-35 are over.

Texans traveling on a portion of State Highway 130 can still drive 85.

Debt obligations may not end after your car is repossessed

Car repossession is an unsettling moment, whether you discover the vehicle missing or you see the tow truck take it away. For Yvette Harris, that “moment” has lasted more than ten years. She continues to pay for a 1997 Mitsubishi, a now twenty-year-old, “vintage” car she no longer owns.

Like many Americans with less than stellar credit, the single mother turned to a subprime auto lender with high interest rates and fees. What was not on the fine print of the loan documents she and others have signed is the continuing “relationship” that goes on after a car is repossessed.

How an inherited property's environmental issues can hinder heirs

If you have lived a relatively simple life, putting your affairs in order can be pretty straightforward. You probably want to leave a little something to charity, and you hope your children can get a nice price for your house and land. However, that hope may have been significantly diminished when you discovered that your property has environmental issues.

If you have been putting off planning your estate because you suspect a toxic substance pollutes your property, you may be leaving a time bomb for your heirs.

The story behind national and individual state foreclosure rates

The Great Recession created unprecedented levels of economic havoc. Foreclosures throughout the country reached history highs. In 2009 alone, one in approximately 45 American households was in the process of foreclosure of their homes.

Fast forward to today. Home prices have returned to pre-recession levels and, in some cases, much higher than eight years ago. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the foreclosure rate in 2016 reveals that one in every 142 American citizens is in danger of losing their homes.

The risk of credit card rewards programs

The growth in credit card debt at its peak since the Great Recession of 2008 has created a burgeoning cottage industry: rewards programs attached to the accounts. The promise of earning money or travel points from purchases is difficult for consumers to resist.

“What’s in your wallet” may be paying off dividends now, but the debt associated with it could lead to problems in the future.

What happens if you die without a will?

Do you have a will? If you do not, you may want to consider the many practical and financial benefits of taking this important step. Many avoid estate planning because they believe it is something only necessary for the wealthy, but, in reality, it is a smart move for anyone who wishes to control what happens to their stuff and hard-earned assets in the future.

Writing a will is more than just outlining how you want your property and assets divided after your death. It also allows you to have a direct say in certain matters, including guardianship of your children. If you die without a will, the chances are high that your beneficiaries could lose money and may not receive their portion of your estate until after an extensive legal process.