If you’re saddled with enormous amounts of debt and looking for a debt relief solution, it’s possible you are weighing the pros and cons of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy versus debt counseling. While the two share many similarities, there are also several differences that you should be aware of that may make the difference in which debt solution you ultimately choose. It’s also important to know how each debt relief option works, how long they both take, and where you can get advice on which is best for your unique financial situation. Whichever you decide, it’s also crucial that you reach out to a debt relief expert that can help you make tough, and often confusing decisions that will impact your long term financial and personal life.
How does Debt Counseling Differ from Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
From the onset, debt counseling and Chapter 13 bankruptcy look quite similar. Both involve developing a plan to pay back your creditors over time. While it’s true that when you enlist the aid of debt counseling, your credit record doesn’t reflect the bankruptcy, it’s also important to note that debt counseling does not give you the legal protection from collection actions that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers. Secondly, when you enroll in a debt counseling program, it’s more likely that you will have to pay back every single penny you owe (and maybe even more in the form of debt counseling fees), whereas, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will typically only pay a small fraction of your unsecured debts. Lastly, another major deference between the two forms of debt relief is that with debt management and debt settlement companies, it’s surprisingly hard to find reputable companies. A quick visit to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website will give you a glimpse into just how many debt relief scams abound today despite continuing efforts to crack down on illegal and predatory practices.
Debt Counseling Buyers Beware
While it’s true that there are many honest debt counseling and credit counseling agencies, there may be just as many, if not more, that are only interested in making money from your fees. With this in mind, make sure you scrutinize all aspects of the agreement before signing up for a debt counseling plan. Never agree to pay up front fees for debt counseling and don’t let any company make you verbal promises that they aren’t willing to put in writing. Many organization and bankruptcy attorneys keep a list of reputable credit counseling agencies that they can share with you to ensure you are dealing with an honest and fair company. Even for those Debt Counseling companies that operate within the legal boundaries of the law, some consumer advocates argue that they face a conflict of interest as the agencies receive much of their operating income from creditors.
Get Chapter 13 Advice from a Bankruptcy Attorney
Because credit counseling has a 47% drop out rate, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, you basically have a 50-50 shot at completing the debt counseling program successfully. A bankruptcy lawyer can look at your financial history and give you an indication of whether a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be better suited for your personal situation. In closing, dealing with a reputable Rocklin bankruptcy attorney is the best way to obtain the reliable debt relief afforded by the Bankruptcy Code of the United States and not taking a chance with an unproven business.
Categorized in: Chapter 13