Where Do I Start?
We are living through a pandemic unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. The ongoing health and economic devastation that COVID-19 is leaving in its wake is incomprehensible. First, our heartfelt prayers go out to anyone who is sick or had their health compromised due to this disease. The number one priority for all of us is to remain safe and do everything we can to remain as calm as humanly possible, which is very difficult to do in this current climate. Fear is crippling to the immune system and often causes the potential for worse harm then the actual underlying disease. Getting past the health impact, the next immediate concern is the financial destruction and how to navigate through it, now that there has already been over $1 Trillion Dollars in economic damage in the past few months alone.
We have been contacted by countless of the over 6,000 clients we have helped get out of debt over the past 12 years, and people are trying to wade through the plethora of information that has been going around regarding what kind of debt, mortgage, or financial relief is available. While there are several programs that are being offered at the Federal, State, and Private Sectors, there is plenty of misinformation that is going around. While this e-mail isn’t a complete guide on what to do, we hope that it will offer you a starting point on how to navigate through your various options.
First Step: Make A Plan
As obvious as it may seem, when panic and worry set in sometimes we forget to start with creating a plan. Make a list of all your debts and then rank them in order of importance. When money is tight and you are struggling to figure out what bills to pay you want to look at the most important debts first. First, separate your needs from your wants. Needs are the essential things that must be paid to keep us safe and healthy. Always put your health related bills (insurance, medication, etc.) at the top. Then focus on your shelter, whether its your mortgage (and homeowners dues if you have them) or your rent. Your transportation would come next. Your unsecured debts are always the least of importance. Credit cards, especially those for non-essential matters, should be paid last.
Second Step: Reach Out to Your Creditors for Assistance
There are several deferment and forbearance programs that may be available to you from your mortgage company, student loans, or credit card companies. Many creditors are offering assistance, but PLEASE be aware that they may not always be looking out for your best interests. Therefore it is essential that if you are speaking to your bank or credit card company and they are offering to help by postponing your payments get clarity on exactly what they are planning to do with the amount you owe when the deferment period ends. We have countless clients that have had horror stories from their banks or credit card companies during the last Great Recession in 2008 and even as recently as Hurricane Irma in 2017. Banks and credit card companies made promises that they would forgive what was owed or re-amortize their loans and add it to the back end, and instead after the deferment period was over they told them they had to pay back the entire amount deferred within 30 days or they were put into foreclosure or had lawsuits filed against them. Thus we recommend that you get everything in writing. We cannot stress this enough, do not rely on their verbal assurances. Ask them to send you a written confirmation of exactly what the terms of the repayment will be. Also we highly suggest that you follow up all conversations with a certified letter detailing and confirming the conversation and what was agreed on. It is essential to protect yourself in these situations.
Third Step: Watch Out for Scams
Unfortunately when people are the most vulnerable, the scammers see opportunities to take financial advantage of them. Please make sure you are on heightened alert and awareness during these difficult times. This especially pertains to emails, mail, or social media posts trying to sell you services related to the Coronavirus. We literally had someone calling us crying last week that they hired a non-lawyer “mortgage rescue” company to help them out. The company somehow convinced them to pay their mortgage payments directly to the company, who in was supposed to forward them to their mortgage servicer for the reduced negotiated mortgage amount. Well you can imagine how that worked out. As a general rule don’t ever hire non-lawyer related debt consolidation, negotiation, or mortgage relief services. These companies often request that payments should be directed to them, as opposed to your actual creditors. This is especially relevant in our current financial time of need.
For more information regarding Coronavirus scams please visit the Federal Trade Comission’s website where they have a detailed article with more information. CLICK HERE
One Last Thing
As always, we are here to help. if you or someone you care about is facing the uncertainty of debt, foreclosure, or a lawsuit trust the experienced total debt solution law firm with a proven track record of success, so you can have peace of mind and get a good night’s sleep. Loan Lawyers has helped over 6,000 people get out of debt, eliminated over $100 million dollars in consumer debt and mortgage principal, saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, and recovered over $20 million dollars for our clients due to bank and debt collector violations. To see how we can help call us anytime to set up a free virtual consultation with one of our attorneys at (954) 523-HELP (4357), or visit us online by CLICKING HERE.