Have You Considered Credit Counseling?
Here is something that many other debt relief lawyers will never tell you: If you can find an alternative to filing for bankruptcy, I encourage it. The truth is, bankruptcy will have a negative impact on your credit rating, and it’s not an inexpensive option.
If your income is high enough to pay off your debts outside of bankruptcy, there are often better options, and professional credit counseling services may be the best place to start looking.
I am attorney Peter Scribner, Esq. For more than 30 years, I have been helping individuals and families in Rochester, New York, and throughout upstate New York with all of their bankruptcy and debt relief needs. When you consider filing for bankruptcy, contact me first. Call 585-643-7109 for a free phone consultation.
Avoid Bankruptcy If You Can, But …
If you can avoid bankruptcy, do so; that is my advice as a bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy should be your option when you have no other viable alternative. Legitimate nonprofit consumer credit counseling agencies can be a viable alternative in the right circumstances. This is especially the case when you can pay off your debt in five years or less, with an extended repayment period or a downward adjustment in your interest rates.
When I say “legitimate” consumer credit counseling, I am referring to real nonprofit counseling agencies endorsed by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
If You Live In Western New York, Make Sure To Only Use These Agencies
The following are legitimate, local and genuinely nonprofit agencies:
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Central New York
You can meet with them in person for free and they will review your situation and tell you if they can help. If they can, they will structure a plan where you make one payment to them each month, and they will distribute the money to your creditors.
As a general rule, they do not have the authority to discount or reduce the amount of debt you owe, but they often have the authority to adjust repayment periods and sometimes interest rates.
Bankruptcy Requires Credit Counseling
Before a person can file bankruptcy, consumer credit counseling from an approved agency is required. There is a fee for obtaining a counseling certificate for bankruptcy purposes, which should be no more than $50.
The list of agencies approved by the bankruptcy system is long and, in addition to the three western New York agencies listed above, includes many out-of-state agencies where the counseling is done by phone or online. The idea is to have an independent organization determine if the debtor has a viable nonbankruptcy alternative for dealing with his or her debts.
I Can’t Give Advice On My Website, But I Can When I Meet With You
Don’t confuse credit counseling services with debt negotiation rip-offs. Nonprofit credit counseling services are NOT so-called budget planning debt negotiation businesses. Debt negotiation companies are rip-offs. Period.