If you, and your family, are battling over a huge debt load, it can overtake all the other financial priorities in your life and make you miserable. There is good news though in that there are many valid and legal Massachusetts debt relief programs that can provide real and tangible help in overcoming overwhelming debt.

You are not alone, this problem is of global proportions and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even worse. Due to the current economic condition, many families are searching for ways to decrease, eliminate or mitigate their debt.

You may already have been contacted by “debt relief” companies making promises of eliminating your debt.Remember, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”! These “debt settlement companies” hardly ever deliver on their promises regarding your debt, but they do take your money. Unfortunately, many debt settlement companies are a scam, and any debt relief company that charges you before they help settle or reduce your debt is in direct violation of the Federal Trade Commission.

There are numerous legal Massachusetts programs in place that your Plymouth or Hyannis debt relief lawyer can guide you through, and help you get out of the financial hole you are in.

For example, credit card companies, mortgage firms, and other lenders usually offer options for you to skip payments, cancel late fees, provide lower interest rates, and do much more that will help you get through a tough financial time. Other state and government agencies are also offering expanded programs that help provide you with financial assistance as well.

Most importantly, consult legal and ethical professional help, and reach out to a debt collection attorney group that will help you determine what programs are right for your situation, and set up a legal and effective debt management plan.

How Do I Know If I Qualify for Debt Relief in Massachusetts?

The common rule is that consumers who have at least $7,500 and up to $100,000 in unsecured debt resulting from credit card use, other personal loans or lines of credit, medical bills, business debts, or private student loan debt would qualify.

There are definite warning signs that indicate your debt might be building to a financial crisis that will harm you and your family.

Such as:

  • You’re making minimum payments on all, or most, of your balances.
  • Even your minimum monthly payments are too large for you to handle.
  • You’re getting calls and letters from debt collectors.
  • You’re using balance transfers and other forms of “high interest” refinancing to just stay afloat.
  • You’re relying on cash advances.
  • You’re being denied new credit cards or loans.
  • Your savings are not increasing or being depleted.
  • You’re unaware of the seriousness of your debt problem.
  • You’re getting “over-limit” warnings or being declined at the point of sale.
  • Your debt issues are affecting your mental health and your relationship with your family and others.

If you’re even asking yourself this question, probably 2 or even more of the above financial signs are true for you. Get the professional help you need and consult with a Massachusetts debt relief lawyer to thoroughly discuss your problem, and possible solutions immediately.

How Can a Massachusetts Debt Relief Program Affect My Credit?

Usually, debt relief or settlement will affect your credit score but only about half as much as a bankruptcy. Asking for a settlement on your own usually won’t hurt your credit score, and you may succeed. Skipping payments, however, or taking the advice of most “settlement companies” almost always will hurt your credit much more than a well-thought-out and negotiated legal plan.

If the creditor has already reported you to the credit bureaus, your strategy must be altered a bit. Ignoring collection agencies could hurt your score less over many years, but it will take a full seven years for your credit score to be free of these marks. Even paying a collection agency may do financial damage, especially if the collection is a year or two old.

If, however, your debt collection lawyer deals with your problem, they usually will find a way of doing so that will affect your credit least negatively. This is not a simple issue, as your situation is unique and so must be the solution.

What are Some Legal and Valid Debt Relief Programs?

Keep in mind, that no two individuals or family’s finances are the same. So, a real debt relief program that works for you, needs to be “tailored made” to give you the best possible results.

Some examples of these programs are:

  • Debt consolidation – Allows you one payment, that you can budget to fit your needs.
  • Debt management plans – You and your lawyer manage and organize your finances to develop a debt payoff plan that you (and your creditors) can rely on.
  • Balance credit cards – This works only if a large chunk of your debt is made up of credit card debt, then a balance transfer may be your answer to credit debt relief.
  • Bankruptcy – This may be what you are trying to avoid but might have to be in the discussion.

Debt relief may not always work, and bankruptcy may be your best option. It will not only eliminate your debt but allow you to start over with a clean slate.

Only by discussing all your options with your debt relief lawyer, will you get to the program that works for you, and your family.

If I Am Considering a Debt Relief Program, What Should I Do First?

Whatever plan you, and your family, decide on, be sure you know all the stipulations, facts, details, and ramifications moving forward. At Benner & Weinkauf, P.C., you will get the professional, and empathetic help you need. This is a mammoth decision for you to make alone, don’t make that mistake and end up paying for it for years to come.