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Author: Kathleen Michon

Credit Reporting Agencies Agree to Better Consumer Protections

Credit Reporting Agencies Agree to Better Consumer Protections

This month, the three nationwide credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) agreed to significant changes in their credit reporting practices and the way they handle consumer disputes. These voluntary changes, which resulted from a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are set forth in what the credit reporting industry is calling The National Consumer Assistance Plan. (Learn what a credit report is and what is contains in Credit Report Basics.) Here are the highlights of these new…

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Can You Keep Horses and Other Pets in Bankruptcy?

Can You Keep Horses and Other Pets in Bankruptcy?

ASK LEON  Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions. Dear Leon,  I am considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy and am wondering what will happen to my two pet horses if I file? They are not worth much; I probably couldn’t even give them away. But I don’t want to file bankruptcy if I have to give them up. Alysia  Dear Alysia, There are a few issues that arise when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have horses or other household…

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Can I Refinance a Mortgage That Was Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Can I Refinance a Mortgage That Was Discharged in Bankruptcy?

ASK LEON  Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions. Dear Leon,  I filed bankruptcy in 2009. One of the debts discharged in the bankruptcy was a mortgage with Wells Fargo. Upon the advice of my lawyer, I did not reaffirm the mortgage in the bankruptcy. I kept my house, and I have stayed current on my mortgage. I just asked Wells Fargo to refinance my mortgage at a lower rate. It told me that it cannot refinance the mortgage because…

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10th Circuit Rules: No Tax Discharge in Bankruptcy If You File a Late Return

10th Circuit Rules: No Tax Discharge in Bankruptcy If You File a Late Return

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that if a bankruptcy debtor files a “late” income tax return, the underlying income tax debt cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy even if the debtor meets the other criteria for discharging tax debt in bankruptcy. The Criteria for Discharging Income Taxes in Bankruptcy Although many income tax debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, you can discharge a tax debt if it meets the following criteria: The tax debt is for…

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New Protections for New Yorkers Against Debt Collection Abuses

New Protections for New Yorkers Against Debt Collection Abuses

The New York Department of Financial Services recently released new regulations that will better protect New Yorkers from the debt collection industry’s rampant abuses. Once the majority of the regulations go into effect on March 3, 2015 (a few of the regulations will begin in August), New York will have some of the strongest laws in the country when it comes to debt collection. The Scope of the Problem: Debt Collectors Gone Wild According to Governor Cuomo, in 2014 New…

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