If your bills and debts are becoming overwhelming, you may be tempted by advertisements from debt-settlement companies claiming that they can talk your creditors into settling your unsecured debts for pennies on the dollar. This could be a big mistake. While debt settlement may work, debt-settlement companies are in business to make money, not to help you out. If you are not careful, you could actually worsen your situation and wind up owing more due to added fees and interest charges.
It makes much more sense to speak to a debt settlement attorney in Ohio who can examine your individual circumstances. If you decide on debt settlement, your attorney can negotiate the best deal possible, but there may be other debt-relief options that make more sense.
The skilled and seasoned Ohio consumer debt lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to even the most well-intentioned people. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation – your income, your debts and your goals — and find which solutions are right for you.
We offer a free consultation, so contact us online or call our offices today.
How Debt Settlement Works
Debt settlement is a way to reduce your debts with unsecured creditors, such as those holding medical bills and credit card bills. These creditors may agree to a settlement if you can come up with a lump sum of 40 to 60 percent of your debt, or they may agree to a payment plan for a lesser amount than you are currently paying. Creditors do this because they prefer to settle your debt for less than you owe rather than have you file for bankruptcy, in which case they might not get anything.
Getting the best debt settlement possible involves negotiating with your creditors,
which an experienced Ohio consumer debt attorney can do for you.
Why You Need A Debt Settlement Attorney in Ohio
The settlement process is complex and involves complicated laws. Most people are not expert negotiators and rarely get the best deal from their creditors. Debt-settlement companies charge fees, and if you stop making your payments, the total amount you owe will increase due to various added fees and interest charges. They often charge a set-up fee and a contingency fee — a percentage based on the amount you save. If negotiations fail, you will owe the upfront fees in addition to still being in debt.
It is in your best interest to hire an attorney to help you decide whether debt settlement is the right choice for you, and, if it is, to negotiate the best deal possible and assist you with all the steps involved.
The following are some reasons why it pays to hire an debt settlement attorney in Ohio:
- Attorneys know the laws and can make sure your rights are not being violated. For example, Section 4710 of the Ohio Revised Code limits what debt-settlement companies can charge for their services.
- Attorneys know how to negotiate. They have a good idea about what creditors will accept, know what to offer, and can come up with the best payment plans.
- Attorneys can defend you if necessary. Creditors do not have to accept lesser amounts, and if they decide to file a lawsuit against you, your attorney can fight it.
- Attorneys understand tax consequences. Debt settlement can increase your tax liability, depending on factors such as your tax bracket and whether the canceled amount is more than $600.
- Attorneys know the effect on your credit score. Not paying the full amount of a debt counts against your credit score for seven years, and your attorney will be able to explain how this affects you.
- Attorneys can assess all your options before deciding on debt settlement. There are other debt-relief possibilities such as debt consolidation — combining all your outstanding debts into one payment — or bankruptcy that may make more sense in your situation.
- When looking for an attorney, be aware that some debt-settlement companies employ lawyers to make their services appear more reputable. These individuals are working for the benefit of the debt-settlement companies and will not defend you if you get sued. Make sure you choose a legitimate local Ohio consumer debt attorney.
Is Bankruptcy a Better Option?
In some situations, filing for bankruptcy can be a better option than debt settlement. Bankruptcy allows you to eliminate or restructure certain debts while under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court. Ohio has an automatic stay that prohibits most creditors from collection activity such as harassing phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures.
Your attorney can explain the different types of bankruptcy and how they apply to your situation.
Contact Us and Get Help from an Ohio Consumer Debt Lawyer
The experienced and compassionate Ohio consumer debt lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know what it is like to struggle with debt and will help you find the right solution. We offer a free initial consultation where we will evaluate your entire financial situation and determine whether debt settlement or another debt-relief plan is the best fit for you. We will make sure you are aware of all your options and will walk you through the process.
Delaying can only make things worse, so contact us online or call for your free consultation today so we can determine what debt-relief solutions will work best for you.