Gillespie & Murphy, P.A.
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How to deal with debt before filing for bankruptcy

If your phone is ringing nonstop and your wages are in danger of being garnished by creditors, you may wonder what you can do to get them to stop. You are not alone. Many people in the New Bern area are drowning in debt. They may have modest incomes, but there may be circumstances that make it challenging for them to pay their bills.

You may not enjoy the thought of talking to your creditors, but doing so can help put an end to any creditor harassment you may be experiencing. Here are some things you can do to regain your peace of mind and improve your financial situation.

Inform your creditors about your situation

Creditors do not know when you are having trouble paying your bills. Contact them to let them know you are experiencing hardship, and ask them if they can lower your payments. If you have fallen behind on your debts, you should also inquire about ways you can bring those accounts current to keep you from defaulting any further on them. Be sure to get copies of all agreements in writing.

Validate all debts

If you start receiving bills for old debts, you should question their accuracy. Ask your creditors to validate your debts. This keeps you from being held responsible for wrong accounts and forces the collection agencies to prove they have the legal authority to collect payment. They must provide you with that information within a certain length of time.

Consider repayment options

Bills you do not pay do not disappear. Instead, they incur penalties that increase the amount you owe. If you cannot afford your payments, you should ask about other options that may be available to help you settle your debts. Depending on your circumstances, you may benefit from debt consolidation, counseling, interest rate reductions or bankruptcy options.

It may seem like it is the end of the world when you are faced with constant reminders of your inability to pay your bills. Staying on top of the situation and considering your options early on can keep your financial situation from spiraling out of control.

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