In some cases, it is a better option for the client to contact various creditors to negotiate a settlement of your debts. Please keep in mind, however, that when you "settle" a debt outside of bankruptcy, the debt is "forgiven," and the creditor can file a 1099 which tells the IRS that the "forgiven" debt is earned income which must be included as gross income on your tax return.
There are some cases where your debt was purchased by an individual or a business that is engaged in buying "bad debts." When a debt buyer proceeds to collect on the debt, you have several available defenses which should be investigated. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides a federal statutory scheme which third party collectors are required to follow when they attempt to collect a debt.
FDCPA.LINK Under the F.D.C.P.A., you have the right to demand proof of the debt from the collector. If you have retained an attorney, the collector is legally prohibited from contacting you.
In many cases, a debt collector will file a civil action to collect a debt. When this occurs, the Debtor may defend against the claim where the collector has not provided sufficient evidence to establish the existence of a contract. Even if the collector presents old credit card statements and a ledger of payments made by the debtor, this still does not prove the applicable interest rate, the establishment of late fees, forgiveness terms, credits, and other features which are usually in existence on a standard credit agreement. This means that the collector or creditor may not be able to prove the actual balance due on the account, and therefore may not meet its legal burden to prove the debt by a "preponderance of the evidence." AL-COURT.INFO
It is important to discuss the settlement of a debt, and your legal rights, with a qualified attorney. Settlement of a debt can be a tricky process. An attorney should be able to draft a settlement and release agreement which will ensure that the claim will not later be sold off or collected upon again. Imagine paying a collector a settlement amount of several hundred, or several thousand, dollars, only to find out one or two years later that the debt was not properly released.
Attorney Kevin Ryan has the knowledge and experience to initiate the negotiation of a debt settlement so that the client obtains the maximum reduction in the settlement amount. Settlement and Release Agreements at Ryan Legal Services, Inc. are drafted specifically for each case. We do not settle cases using "boilerplate" settlement agreements. Settlement and release agreements are drafted and tailored to each client's particular circumstances. We utilize WestlawNext, the most respected legal research software in the industry. You can negotiate a settlement of your debts with our firm knowing that it complies with all applicable current legal standards.
The best option in some cases may be a bankruptcy filing. Some creditors or debt buyers are not willing to settle debts on reasonable terms. If you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the creditor is no longer legally able to proceed with their collection of the account without Bankruptcy Court permission. More importantly, debt which is discharged in a bankruptcy case is not subject to being considered taxable income. A "discharged" debt is not considered a "forgiven" debt under the United States Tax Code. See Internal Revenue Service Form 982 here:
Please feel free to contact Attorney Kevin Ryan if you would like to discuss your options with respect to a collection matter, a lawsuit where you were named as a defendant, a wage garnishment, post-judgment collection matter, judgment lien matter, IRS or other tax collection matter. Kevin Ryan is admitted to practice before all Alabama state courts. He is a member of the Alabama State Bar. https://www.alabar.org