Debt Settlement Lawyers in Seattle, Washington
What is Debt Settlement?
Debt settlement is an alternative to filing for bankruptcy or for consumers looking for an immediate plan of action that will eliminate debt in a structured plan without court involvement. Debt settlement can work for a single debt or several debts owed to several creditors that are accounted for in one plan of action. If you decide that debt settlement makes the most sense for your situation, a debt settlement lawyer with Symmes Law Group, PLLC will negotiate with your creditors and attempt to settle your unsecured debts for between 20%-60% less than what your current balance is. It is helpful if you have funds available in which to settle with your creditors as lump sum settlements are often preferred and allows for your attorney to negotiate the best settlement for the least amount of money. If a lump sum amount is not available a plan can be created so that you can save up for a lump sum or you can decide to settle your debt by making payment arraignment with your creditor which may result in you paying more over the term of your settlement.
There are several debt relief programs available to consumers, many of which advertise nationally and don’t understand the Washington State local market and state rules which could be a big disadvantage or cause the national company to run into issues with the state Attorney General for not being properly licensed and charging consumers excessive fees. These companies often ask for money up front and may be scams, so it is best to consult with a local attorney or debt counselor before deciding how best to manage your debt. When you settle your debt it will appear on your credit report as “settled” however any previous delinquent history will remain on your credit report. If you are being hounded by creditors and retain our services, you may refer any creditors to Symmes Law Group, and from that point on they must deal only with us.
Going the debt settlement route does not make sense for everybody. Generally a creditor will not negotiate with a debtor unless they are behind on payments or are attempting to get a judgment in court. Creditors are willing to negotiate with consumers for a fraction of the money owed because if a consumer files bankruptcy, the creditors will get nothing in return. It is possible that some creditors will not allow for a payment plan and will offer a lump sum payment settlement of up to 80% off the original debt. This makes sense for some clients, for instance if a debtor is not eligible for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor has non-exempt equity in personal property which they can sell or cash out to pay off the debt, or the debtor is being sued and they want to avoid getting a default judgment against them. It should also be noted that any consumer who is settling a debt may be liable for paying taxes on any debt that is forgiven over $600. The IRS usually counts the forgiven debt as earned income on your tax return.
Should You Hire A Debt Settlement Lawyer?
Unsecured debt can be rather easy to deal with or, in some cases, can be an absolute disaster when you can’t pay it off in full every month. We buy things on credit cards with the idea that we’ll simply pay it back later, but sometimes our plans don’t work out that way and we wind up with accumulated debt that we don’t know how to handle. Even when we had the best of intentions and sometimes even the income to pay off the card at the end of the month, times change and things happen and the credit card debt begins to build when we want nothing more than for it to go away completely. Revolving credit card debt can get out of control very fast, with interest rates in some cases exceeding 20%. This can cause consumers to feel helpless in attempting to climb out of a money pit. Continuing to make minimum payments on debts can cause consumers to remain in debt for years since most of the payments are not going towards the principle balance but rather the interest that is accruing on the debt. In most cases, consumers are better off saving up for a lump sum settlement payment or filing for bankruptcy which will eliminate the debt or lock in a payment plan that will not incur further interest.
You may have already tried to get rid of the debt by paying it and when that didn’t work, consolidating it – but maybe your income wasn’t low enough to do so. Finding debt relief is difficult in some cases, and when you’ve considered other options such as counseling and bankruptcy, turning to an experienced and professional settlement attorney may be the choice you have to make for yourself. If this option is on the table for you and your family, learning a little more about what you should be looking for and what kind of attorney you need can help you determine whether debt settlement through another company is right for you.
Can You Use a Debt Settlement Attorney?
Is a debt settlement attorney right for you? Like all attorneys, debt settlement lawyers can obtain power of attorney to negotiate on your behalf with your creditors. Debt settlement attorneys should work incredibly hard on your behalf, fighting to improve your financial situation when it is otherwise quite poor. Services offered by debt settlement attorneys include renegotiating interest rates as well as amounts owed on your credit cards and other unsecured debts. A debt settlement attorney can also work with secured debt such as mortgage loans or student loans, department store debt and almost any credit card you could have possibly opened in your name. Medical bills and debts with credit unions on the other hand can usually drive a hard bargain in terms of attempting to settle a debt for less than the full balance. In these cases it may be possible to drop the interest rate and penalties that were assessed, but a full settlement for less than the principle balance may be hard to come by.
As an added bonus a debt settlement attorney can represent you in a debt collection lawsuit, something other professionals who are not local attorneys licensed in Washington State cannot do. During the representation on the debt collection lawsuit, your debt settlement attorney can negotiate a settlement with your creditor while also advising you on the Federal debt collection laws and Washington State laws. Additionally a debt settlement attorney can prepare an answer to your complaint which will provide you with extra time to save up for a settlement or force the debt collection attorneys to provide evidence that you owe a particular debt. This answer can either be filed by your debt settlement attorney or be prepared “pro se”, which means you are representing yourself in the litigation. Either way, filing an answer will no doubt by you time, which is what most consumers need after they have been sued on a debt and if bankruptcy is not an option.
What to Look for in Debt Settlement Lawyers
When choosing a debt settlement attorney, make sure you choose one that’s worth hiring. Start with qualifications any attorney should have. Are they licensed, and if they are, are they licensed in your state? Do they have the proper certifications that are needed to fight for you?
You should also consider their experience and how they’ve done in the past. The only real way to check this out, however, is to ask them, and they don’t necessarily have to be honest – but it’s better to ask at all than to just assume they’ve done good for other people before. Symmes Law Group has been assisting consumers since 2009 in debt settlement matters and has built a reputation in Washington state for obtaining favorable settlements on behalf of consumers involving all types of debt including consumer debts, 2nd mortgages, or student loans.
Please also consider accessibility when choosing an attorney. You probably have a busy life but you should be able to have an attorney that can always be at your service when you need them, which means your attorney should have more than one method of contact so you can keep up on what’s going on and they can inform you multiple ways if something changes in your case. At Symmes Law Group your attorney will always be available by phone, fax or e-mail and will respond to your questions and updates in a timely fashion and usually on the same day.
Symmes Law Group has an established relationship with many creditors which can lead to us settling your debts quicker and at a more favorable rate. Our fees are based on the total amount debt to be negotiated or in some cases on a flat fee basis. If a payment plan is requested, the fee will be collected from you on a monthly basis along with payments that will be made into a new trust account that we will set up for settlement purposes. When you come in for a free consultation a debt settlement lawyer will advise you of your options and what the best way to proceed is. Call us today at 206-682-7975 for your free consultation.