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Many people who are struggling financially to pay their mortgage, vehicle payments, medical bills and/or credit card debt also end up getting very behind in their utility payments. Disconnect notices from the electric, water, gas and telephone companies fill the mailbox and even payment arrangements become impossible to keep.

Filing for bankruptcy protection is usually a last resort for people in financial crisis, but if shutoff of utilities is an imminent threat, filing for Chapter 7 or 13 is an option. As soon as your bankruptcy is filed, utility companies are prohibited from terminating your service. This is referred to as an automatic stay. It's the same legal protection that stops the bank from foreclosing or any other lawsuit or legal action because of debts you owe.

Once you file for bankruptcy, you have twenty days to show to the utility company that you will pay future bills. This is referred to legally as “adequate assurance.” If you don't, then the utility company can shut off your service, so it's important to act quickly. Forms of adequate assurance can be a deposit on your account or a co-signer. If the utility will not accept your adequate assurance, you can request the court issue an order that they accept.

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As a society we have become accustomed to labeling different generations with short and catchy nicknames. Currently we have Generation X for those born from 1965 through 1979; Generation Y for those born from 1980 through 2000; and lastly we have Generation Z for those born from 2001 through the present. Generations X and Z may already be settled into a lifestyle or only dreaming of what they want to be when they grow up, but Generation Y, at 70 million strong, is applying their own ideals as they enter the workforce, according to USA Today.

Generation Y often described as smart, brash, tech savvy and ready to challenge the multigenerational workforce as they carve out their professional niche. Work and life balance is just not a theory for Generation Y but a mantra.

When it comes to finances, they are on top of the situation. Thirty-seven percent of Gen Yers expect to start saving for retirement before reaching the age of 25 with 70 percent already contributing to a 401(k) plan.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a difficult decision to make but sometimes it is the only option. If you having a difficult time paying your bills on time or at all, then bankruptcy should be a real consideration. But before you file any paperwork to begin the process, try these other options first.

One option is to you is to negotiate to settle your debts. Convincing your creditors to take smaller payments may be difficult but they may work with you if they feel that they will get their money. The alternative to a settlement might be a Chapter Seven or liquidation bankruptcy which can result in less of your bills being paid off. If you can restructure your own debts to a more manageable payment it may allow you to keep your property.

Another option is to take a proactive step before a bankruptcy trustee can by selling your stuff. This will allow you to dictate the property that is sold which can help to pay bills and may stop you from needing to file. It is slightly counter-intuitive because you are selling your property to not have your property sold but it might be beneficial.

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Deciding to file bankruptcy is a pivotal, life-changing decision that many people make once, sometimes even twice, in their lives. Alternatively, did you ever wonder what would happen if you didn't file bankruptcy, even though you could no longer pay your bills? Some financially distressed individuals may choose to take no action, which means creditors can file lawsuits and obtain judgments that involve garnishing wages or seizing property. However, when debtors have no wages or assets due to unemployment or retirement, this could put them in a “judgment proof” category since any legal action would be negligible. As long as you can prove you have little or no income, deciding to forego bankruptcy filing may result in no change to your situation.

For those Cook County residents who do have an income, remaining “judgment proof” is not an option. Choosing a bankruptcy alternative to get out of debt could be risky and ultimately, more detrimental to your financial condition than filing bankruptcy in the first place. Debtors can attempt to establish a stringent budget which allows them to slowly start paying debts. They can also try to negotiate with creditors by asking for reduced payments. Another bankruptcy alternative is debt consolidation, which involves borrowing enough money from one financial institution to pay off all debts. This action results in having only one payment per month instead of several. However, for people who owe more than $10,000 in credit card bills and personal loans, debt consolidation may not be feasible. Requiring such a large loan may necessitate a co-signer, which may be hard to find considering your financial situation.

The stress of drowning in debt can be emotionally and psychologically damaging. For some, considering bankruptcy alternatives needlessly prolongs the stress of dealing with harassing creditors and piles of bills laying around that you cannot pay. Contacting a professional Cook County bankruptcy attorney today to discuss a fresh start regarding your financial situation.

It's common for those end up filing for bankruptcy to endure months (or years) of calls and letters from debt collectors prior to making the decision to file for bankruptcy. While lenders are allowed to partake in legal debt collection efforts, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act establishes rules which must be followed by debt collectors. For instance, debt collectors shouldn't engage in threatening or intimidating behavior, and if the borrower asks for written proof of their debt, it must be provided.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), debt collection scams are becoming a serious problem across the nation. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that one fraudulent agency managed to obtain $5 million in unsubstantiated payments from over 10,000 U.S. residents. These individuals reported that the callers often had their personal information, and FTC officials believe they may have obtained this from online payday loan applications.

Adhere to the following guidelines to decrease your risk of falling victim to a debt collection scam:

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