Bankruptcy And Divorce Lawyers

Still trying to decide whether you should initiate bankruptcy or divorce first? If you need help deciding whether to file for bankruptcy or divorce first, careful planning can help simplify both processes and save you money.

Divorce can be tough emotionally and financially, and the financial aspect often links divorce and bankruptcy.

Some individuals may have experienced financial difficulties early on, which could have affected the marriage. Others may need help to handle the expensive divorce obligations.

Regardless of the circumstances, bankruptcy offers a solution to eliminate burdensome debts, making it easier for both parties to rebuild their lives.

Whether to file for bankruptcy before or after divorce depends on location, the extent of your assets and debts, and the type of bankruptcy you intend to pursue.


Should You File for Bankruptcy or Divorce First?

 

 

Simultaneously filing for divorce and bankruptcy offers numerous advantages, but evaluating these benefits individually is crucial since everyone’s financial situation is unique.


Filing A Joint Bankruptcy

 

Did you know that simultaneously filing for bankruptcy and divorce can expedite the process? In most cases, the bankruptcy case is given priority over the divorce case. However, both parties can file for a bankruptcy case by filing for bankruptcy before or alongside a divorce.

Submitting a Joint Petition Together

 

Imagine a bankruptcy case as a process that begins when someone, like a person, a married couple, or a business, fills out special paperwork and submits it to the court.

When a married couple decides to file for bankruptcy together, they fill out a “joint petition.” This joint petition includes all the essential financial information of both spouses in one set of documents.

Divorcing couples often file for bankruptcy together because it can be more efficient. There are a couple of benefits to doing this:

First, when the bankruptcy is approved, it helps eliminate (or “wipe out”) the debts both spouses have. There will be fewer issues to decide in the divorce court, making things simpler.

Second, legal fees are usually cheaper to file for bankruptcy together as a married couple than to file separately. As a result, they can save money on the overall process.

So, filing for bankruptcy together before getting a divorce can make things easier and less expensive for the couple.

Bankruptcy Before Divorce

 

 

Sometimes, both spouses may find it easier to qualify for bankruptcy after the divorce process. This could be because their combined income has decreased significantly, making them eligible for certain types of bankruptcy.

In such instances, it might be more advantageous for each spouse to file for personal bankruptcy separately after finalizing the divorce.

Bankruptcy After Divorce

 

 

Sometimes, both spouses may find it easier to qualify for bankruptcy after the divorce. This could be because their combined income has decreased significantly, making them eligible for certain types of bankruptcy.

In such instances, it might be more advantageous for each spouse to file for bankruptcy separately after finalizing the divorce. Then, after the divorce, they can file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most or all of the debts can be wiped out, giving them a fresh start after the marriage ends. This means they won’t have to worry about those debts anymore. However, the divorce judgment can require one of the spouses to remain liable on the debt, so the bankruptcy filing will not discharge that obligation owed on behalf of the ex-spouse.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the unsecured debts (like credit card bills) can be eliminated, just like in Chapter 7. But it also helps them catch up on any secured debts they might be behind on, like a house or a car. Again, they can do this over three to five years, making it more manageable.

To make sure they make the right decisions, it’s crucial to have the help of an attorney who understands their specific situation. This attorney can guide them through the process and help them choose what’s best for them in the long run.


Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Divorce

 

 

A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can offer debt relief and the opportunity for a fresh financial start.

While every situation is different, filing a joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy before initiating divorce proceedings is recommended, as it is a quicker and fairer option. However, it’s important to note that bankruptcy may only sometimes be optimal for reducing or eliminating debt.

Factors such as the nature and amount of the debt, individual financial circumstances, and other legal considerations should be carefully evaluated before deciding on the best course of action.


Discharging Marital Debt In Michigan

 

In Michigan, in a divorce settlement, the division of marital debt follows a principle of equal division. Therefore, any assets, property, medical bills, and debts accumulated during the marriage are typically divided equally between the spouses.

It doesn’t matter if the debt was acquired individually or jointly, as Michigan divorce laws treat all debts incurred during the marriage similarly.

Imagine a married couple who decides to get a divorce. A critical aspect of a divorce is the division of debt. In most cases, the debt is divided evenly between two spouses, meaning each person is responsible for paying approximately half of the total debt. This ensures a fair distribution.

However, there are situations where a judge may determine that an alternative debt division is more appropriate and fair. For example, the judge considers various factors, such as each spouse’s financial situation, earning capacity, and other relevant circumstances. Based on these considerations, the judge may decide to divide the debt in a different manner that is deemed fair to both parties.

It’s important to understand that the ultimate goal is to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of debt, considering the specific circumstances of the couple involved.


Property Division

 

 

 

The goal of the law is to divide a couple’s assets equally in many cases. However, certain factors can lead the court to provide relief to one spouse:

  1. If a spouse has significantly more money than the other, the court may make adjustments to ensure a fair division of assets. This prevents one spouse from being financially disadvantaged after the divorce.
  2. If a spouse is responsible for the divorce, the court may consider this when dividing the assets. The spouse who is not at fault may receive a more favorable distribution to compensate for any negative impact caused by the divorce.
  3. If a spouse receives more property that still requires payments, the court may adjust the division of assets to account for these pending payments. This ensures that both spouses share the financial responsibility for any outstanding obligations.
  4. If a spouse has accumulated significantly higher debt than the other, the court may consider this during asset division. The spouse with more debt may receive a smaller share of the assets to balance the financial burden.

In these situations, the court aims to tailor the division of assets to the specific circumstances and ensure a fair outcome for both parties involved in the divorce.


The Myth That Filing Bankruptcy And Divorce Is A Lot Of Work

 

Contrary to popular belief, the idea that filing for bankruptcy and going through a divorce is an overwhelming and burdensome process is often a misconception. While bankruptcy and divorce involve legal procedures and require careful consideration, they can be managed effectively with the right approach and guidance.

Although each situation is unique, with its complexities and challenges, it’s essential to approach bankruptcy and divorce with a realistic perspective. By seeking the help of experienced professionals such as bankruptcy attorneys and divorce lawyers, individuals can navigate these processes more smoothly.

These legal experts have the knowledge and expertise to guide individuals through the necessary steps, handle paperwork, and ensure compliance with legal requirements. They can simplify complex procedures, provide valuable advice, and advocate for their client’s best interests.

Open communication, cooperation, and understanding between both parties can significantly contribute to streamlining the process. Individuals can find amicable resolutions and minimize unnecessary conflict and stress by working together and maintaining a respectful approach.

It’s important to remember that while filing for bankruptcy and going through a divorce may involve some effort and time, managing both processes efficiently with the proper support and a positive mindset is possible.


How A Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help With Financial Troubles

 

 

 

Whether you are deciding on a repayment plan for your credit card debt while divorcing or deciding what to do with the assets acquired during your marriage with spousal support for the best interest of both of you, whether you know what debt relief options you have in bankruptcy or thinking about invoking bankruptcy protection and filing a divorce simultaneously, hire an attorney to be by your side and help you navigate through these difficult times.

Call a bankruptcy and divorce lawyer today. At Babi Legal Group, we can offer a free consultation with an expert.

Pros and Cons of Different Bankruptcy Chapters

 

If you’re struggling to keep up with your debts, bankruptcy is a legal option that can provide relief. However, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons before deciding whether to file.

On the one hand, bankruptcy can give you a fresh start. But on the other hand, it may hinder your ability to obtain credit in the future.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Filing Bankruptcy?

 

 

 

Being in a financial crisis can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Struggling to pay debts, working to make mortgage payments, or constantly fearing eviction or repossession can make any person feel stuck. However, filing for bankruptcy can be a way out and generally is the cheapest option to obtain relief.

Advantages of Filing for Bankruptcy

 

 

 

Freedom from Creditors 

One of the most significant advantages of filing for bankruptcy is freedom from creditors. This protection is provided by 11 U.S.C. section 362 of the Automatic Stay protection, which is addressed in more detail later. Here are some of the areas of relief:

  • Automatic Stay Protection: Once the bankruptcy is filed, the Automatic Stay provides an immediate stop to all collection activities by creditors, including but not limited to: creditor calls,such as repossessions, wage garnishments, and foreclosures. This means that creditors must stop attempting to collect from you during the bankruptcy proceedings. 
  • Protection from Foreclosure: Filing for bankruptcy can prevent a foreclosure sale, allowing you to keep your home or catch up on missed payments or even give you enough time to seek a loan modification.
  • Protection from Eviction: If you’re facing eviction, filing for bankruptcy can prevent it from happening, providing you with enough time to catch up on overdue rent payments, however, if you have already received a judgment for possession/eviction then the bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay will not be effective.
  • Protection from Car Repossession: Filing for bankruptcy can prevent car repossession, and even if it’s already been repossessed, the Automatic Stay can help you retrieve it and stop the lender from selling it after the repossession.

Elimination of Debt

 

 

Another significant advantage of filing for bankruptcy is the elimination of debt. Depending on the type of debt, some may be eliminated, and some may be reduced. 

  • Dischargeable Debts: Credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans are dischargeable debts that can be canceled entirely, providing significant debt relief.
  • Non-Dischargeable Debts: Some debts, such as taxes, student loans, and child support, may not be eliminated. However, Chapter 13 can help you organize those into a manageable repayment plan.

Creditor Harassment

Filing for bankruptcy stops creditors from contacting you constantly, bringing relief from the constant harassment and the stress it can cause.  If the creditor continues to contact you, then they may be liable for damages including punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

 

Wage Garnishment

Bankruptcy can stop wage garnishments and help you catch up on payments without sacrificing income.  In some cases, your attorney may be able to recover some of the garnished funds taken from you.

Automatic Stay Protection

 

 

Automatic Stay is a significant benefit provided when filing for bankruptcy. It can provide immediate relief, allowing you to breathe easier during bankruptcy. 

Automatic Stay provides a legal barrier preventing creditors from continuing, beginning, or revising collection activities without court approval, allowing you to reorganize your finances without worrying about sudden or unexpected collection activities.

The Benefits of Automatic Stay Protection

Here are several significant advantages that come with the Automatic Stay:

  • Ability to Catch Up on Payments: The Automatic Stay stops collection activities, providing a distraction-free environment to catch up on overdue payments.
  • Protection from Foreclosure or Eviction: As mentioned earlier, the Automatic Stay stops foreclosure sales and eviction proceedings, allowing you to keep your home and catch up on past-due payments.
  • Time to Reorganize Finances: The Automatic Stay can give you some breathing space, allowing you to evaluate your finances fully. It gives you the time to recover and plan your financial future.

Disadvantages of Filing for Bankruptcy

 

 

Personal bankruptcy provides a way for people struggling with their finances to recover. But while bankruptcy has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Knowing these disadvantages is crucial because it can help you decide whether bankruptcy is the best solution.

Credit Damage and Duration

One of the most significant disadvantages of bankruptcy is the damage it can do to your credit. A bankruptcy filing will show up on your credit report for several years, making it difficult to get credit in the future. 

In addition, you will likely have to pay higher interest rates if you get credit. Bankruptcy can also stay on your record for up to 10 years, making it difficult to get a job or rent an apartment.

Expensive Fees

Bankruptcy can also be expensive. Filing for bankruptcy involves many fees, including filing, credit counseling, and attorney fees. 

These fees can add up quickly, and many people end up paying thousands of dollars to file for bankruptcy.  However, it may still end up being your most affordable option. 

Selling of Luxury Items

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be required to sell some luxury items to pay off your creditors. This can be a complicated process, as it may involve selling items that have sentimental value. You may be able to keep some of your assets, but you will need to work with your bankruptcy attorney to determine which assets are exempt from sale.

Difficulty in Borrowing

Obtaining a credit card or loan can be challenging after declaring bankruptcy. This can affect your ability to acquire a mortgage loan, and the interest rate may be higher if you do.

It’s also possible that you will have to wait a certain period before being eligible for a mortgage loan after filing for bankruptcy.

Different Kinds of Bankruptcy

 

 

If you opt for bankruptcy, you must choose between filing under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13.

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can assist in erasing unsecured debts like credit cards, pausing foreclosures or repossessions, terminating wage garnishments, utility shut-offs, and debt collection attempts.

Both types of bankruptcy require you to cover your court expenses and lawyer fees. Nevertheless, they discharge debts differently.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

 

 

When people are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, they usually have Chapter 7 in mind. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also referred to as “straight bankruptcy.”

For this specific bankruptcy, you must allow a federal appointed trustee to oversee the bankruptcy filing and they have the authority to sell any assets that are not exempted. Exempted assets may include cars, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings.

After selling, the money will be used to pay your exemption amount, pay the trustee’s attorney, pay the trustee and ultimately pay your creditors, and your remaining balance will be cleared when the bankruptcy is discharged. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not cover all types of debts. Debts such as court-ordered alimony, child support, some taxes, and student loans must still be paid.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can bring about serious outcomes. For example, you could lose your property, and the bankruptcy details will reflect on your credit report for ten years starting from the filing date. You will also be restricted from filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 for the next eight years if you get into debt again.

What are the disadvantages of Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy has some downsides to consider. These include the fact that not all unsecured debts will be discharged, there is a risk of losing nonexempt property, and there may be a temporary negative impact on your credit score.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

 

 

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows businesses and individuals with significant debts to restructure their finances and keep operating. The debtor-in-possession retains control of the company but is monitored by the bankruptcy court. To be approved, the debtor must present a plan for reorganizing their finances and business operations that both the court and creditors agree to.

Although Chapter 11 offers various advantages, the process can be complex and costly, often necessitating the assistance of a proficient bankruptcy attorney.

What are the disadvantages of Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

Debtors must provide extensive financial information to file for reorganization under Chapter 11 by submitting detailed documents to the bankruptcy court. The nature of the records required may differ based on the type of debtor. However, this process may result in a loss of privacy for the debtor.

To reorganize their debts and obligations under Chapter 11, debtors must demonstrate that their operation is profitable.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

 

 

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can repay your debt partially or fully and keep your property.

Your attorney will discuss a repayment plan with the bankruptcy court that will last three to five years. The procedure may require you to repay some or all of your debt within that time. Once you have completed the agreed repayment plan, your debt will be discharged, regardless of the amount you repaid – even if it is only a portion of the original debt.

Although all forms of bankruptcy harm your credit score, choosing Chapter 13 might be better. This is because you can keep some of your assets as you repay some or all of your outstanding debt.

Furthermore, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will expire from your credit report within seven years, and it is possible to file again within four years and obtain another discharge.

What are the disadvantages of Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on your credit report for around seven years, but you can use that time to rebuild your credit.

Some types of debts cannot be eliminated through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition, it typically takes 3-5 years to repay your debts entirely.

What’s the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?

Even though both forms of bankruptcy may entail selling assets to pay off debts, specific properties may not need to be sold.

State laws specify what assets are exempt, but typically essential tools for work, a personal car, or a share of the primary residence may be protected.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy relieves your responsibility to pay the debt. It does not cancel the debt for anyone else. If you want to protect a co-signer, Chapter 13 bankruptcy works only because you will repay the debt through your repayment plan.

Which bankruptcy chapter is better?

If you are facing foreclosure or repossession of a vehicle, usually filing for Chapter 13 is the best option. However, if you are struggling with credit card debt and medical bills and do not have a car or own a home, filing for Chapter 7 is often the better choice.

If you have a more complex situation involving a combination of these factors, own a business, owe taxes, or have a high income, it may need to be clarified which chapter to file, and you may need to consider individual Chapter 11.

Seeking professional help is the best course of action. It is recommended to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in person to discuss your situation. It is important to note that providing legal advice over the Internet is not reliable and insufficient, so more information will be needed to answer your question accurately.

The Process of Bankruptcy

 

 

During the bankruptcy proceedings, you must go through these steps.

To file for bankruptcy, you must meet with a credit counselor approved by the government. During this meeting, you will discuss your financial situation, bankruptcy options, and personal budget. Your bankruptcy attorney can recommend a counselor. This meeting must take place within six months before filing.

If you require the services of a bankruptcy lawyer in Michigan, you can confidently reach out to Babi Legal Group. Our team is well-versed in all aspects of bankruptcy and can offer you reliable guidance on navigating the process.

The most complex component in this process is the bankruptcy petition, a detailed document that strictly categorizes and describes all your outstanding debts. Typically, a bankruptcy attorney will generate this document for you by examining your financial papers and asking questions about your financial situation.

The bankruptcy timeline begins when your lawyer gathers the necessary information, prepares the documentation, and files the petition with the bankruptcy court.

To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must undergo a Means Test. This ensures only those who cannot pay their debts can file for bankruptcy. If you fail, your bankruptcy may be dismissed or converted into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

You have to meet with the bankruptcy trustee assigned by the court to represent your creditors. They review your bankruptcy application, sell assets in case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and distribute the money to your creditors. In the case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they will supervise your repayment plan, collect your payments and distribute the funds to the creditors.

After bankruptcy proceedings are finished, the bankruptcy is known as “discharged.” Chapter 7 happens when your assets are sold and used to pay off your creditors. In Chapter 13, it occurs when you’ve finished your repayment plan.

What is a Reaffirmed Account? 

In Chapter 7, bankruptcy, you can keep paying a debt that could be forgiven. This is called “reaffirming the account” and is typically done to maintain ownership of the collateral, like a car, that would otherwise be taken during bankruptcy proceedings.

Types of Debt

When you declare bankruptcy, some debts are discharged and no longer owed. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, secured debt may be partially or fully discharged, while unsecured debt may be completely wiped out.

Secured and Unsecured Debts

Secured debt is a type of debt that is guaranteed by tangible property, like a home or a vehicle, which creditors can seize if you are unable to repay the loan.

On the other hand, unsecured debt is a debt with no tangible collateral, like credit card debt.

Non-forgivable Debt

Bankruptcy doesn’t provide complete relief from all debts, as certain types of unforgivable debts can’t be eliminated. These include most student loan debt (although some members of Congress are trying to change this), court-ordered alimony, court-ordered child support, reaffirmed obligation, federal tax liens for taxes owed to the U.S. government, and government or court fines and penalties.

Can the bankruptcy court send you to jail?

 

 

A bankruptcy court is distinct from other courts as it deals with the distribution of assets in liquidation or restructuring following a bankruptcy filing. While it doesn’t address criminal matters, different courts may hold you accountable for financial misconduct related to your bankruptcy, such as misusing investor funds.  In cases of fraudulent bankruptcy filing, the court can bring in the Department of Justice to criminally investigate you to seek federal criminal charges. .

Alternatives to Bankruptcy

If you’re concerned about losing property or how bankruptcy can affect your career and result in high-interest rates and low credit limits, consider these alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.

Settle your debt

An informal debt settlement is an agreement that you can voluntarily negotiate with your creditors regarding the terms of your debt. You should contact each of your creditors directly and discuss the interest rates, payment amounts, and schedules.

Consolidate your debt

 

 

If you’re finding it challenging to keep up with numerous debts with different interest rates, consider getting a loan that consolidates all your debts into one monthly payment. This payment typically has a lower interest rate.

If your credit score is good and you can afford the monthly payment, debt consolidation might be a good option. Just remember you may need a co-signer to guarantee the loan.

 

 

Bankruptcy is not ideal, but it can be an opportunity to start fresh. By understanding the advantages of filing for bankruptcy, individuals can make informed decisions that can bring significant debt relief and ease the stress and burden of financial crises.

We encourage you to seek professional legal assistance to help guide you through the process and evaluate options that best suit your financial situation. Remember that natural relief requires real solutions.

What Is A Notice Of Acceleration?

If homeowners fail to make their scheduled mortgage payments, they may receive a Notice of Acceleration from the lender. This document is used to inform the borrower that the lender has triggered their acceleration clause, which allows them to demand immediate repayment of all amounts due on the loan.

The loan balance is due immediately instead of the remaining amount over the rest of the term.

The notice of acceleration will demand loan repayment and provide details on how much is owed when it is due, and any other applicable instructions for a refund.

Tip: Read the entire loan document before you sign them!

Including an acceleration clause in a mortgage contract is expected, which permits lenders to take action if borrowers fail to make payments. When purchasing a home, it is crucial to carefully read and comprehend all loan documents, particularly the fine print.

Step One: The Breach Letter

 

 

Acceleration clauses are not typically activated automatically.

Loan acceleration usually happens after the lender sends a breach letter, which is a notice to the borrower warning them about a possible default before the acceleration of the loan.

The courts have different opinions on whether the breach notice activates the acceleration or the end of the cure period stated in the notice if the lender issues the notice before acceleration.

In certain situations, if a borrower misses a payment, the acceleration of the loan may happen automatically. In addition, in some regions, filing a foreclosure complaint can accelerate the loan.

The timing and notice required for acceleration before a foreclosure are subject to state laws or governmental guidelines.

Parts of a Breach Letter

 

 

A breach letter must specify the default and the necessary action to cure the default.

A breach letter needs to include a specific date, typically at least 30 days from when it is given to the borrower, for them to cure the default. It should also indicate that if they fail to do so by the specified date, the debt may be accelerated and the property sold.

The servicer usually sends this letter when the borrower is roughly 90 days behind on payments.

Federal law typically prohibits starting foreclosure proceedings until the borrower is over 120 days delinquent on loan. If the default is not corrected, foreclosure proceedings will be initiated.

The notice often tells the borrower that they can reinstate the loan after it has been accelerated, as well as their right to contest a foreclosure by stating that no default occurred or raising a defense.

Get a Foreclosure Attorney on Your Side

 

 

If you have received a notice of acceleration without the previous breach letter most mortgages must send previously, your lender may have incurred a fault.

Quick action with the help of a real estate lawyer can assist you in navigating through financial hardship while preserving your legal rights.

Conditions That Cause The Acceleration To Occur

 

 

As the mortgage acceleration clause states, lenders may require faster repayment if certain conditions are fulfilled. The following are some of those conditions explained.

Lenders can enforce an acceleration clause if there is an unauthorized property transfer.

For example, if the borrower sells their property without first getting permission from their lender, they violate the loan agreement, and the lender can accelerate the loan.

Canceling homeowners insurance could also trigger the acceleration clause, as it is necessary to have insurance for the entire mortgage duration.

If the borrower fails to make the monthly mortgage payments, you may be subjected to an acceleration notice. Missed loan payments typically trigger this clause, although the specific number of delinquent payments required may differ.

Different acceleration clauses have varying requirements for payment delinquency. For example, some may require immediate payoff if one payment is missed, while others may allow for two or three missed payments before demanding full loan payment.

A bankruptcy filing may trigger the acceleration clause in your mortgage agreement because your lender can take action if your default may be impacted. The primary mortgage lender holds a higher priority position than other creditors in real estate.

Bankruptcy is a complicated process that can limit a lender’s ability to recover their money, so they may accelerate payments to safeguard themselves.

Homeowners pay property taxes to avoid a lien and acceleration of the mortgage. Additionally, it’s their responsibility to maintain their property to prevent creating unlivable conditions, which could lead to acceleration.

What Is An Acceleration Clause?

 

 

An acceleration clause in a contract allows a lender to ask a borrower to pay back all of their outstanding monthly payments if they fail to meet specific requirements.

The acceleration clause will specify why the lender can demand the outstanding loan repayment and the amount due.

What happens after the acceleration clause is called upon?

 

 

Activation of acceleration clauses in mortgages is not automatic. However, once triggered, the lender will issue a mortgage acceleration letter indicating the amount due.

The timeline for issuance of the letter varies among lenders, but usually, the letter is sent 90 days after the initial missed payment.

If you’re behind on your mortgage, you can create a plan to catch up with your lender and restore your mortgage.

What does a Mortgage Acceleration Letter mean?

 

 

You will receive a letter from your mortgage company if they activate the acceleration clause.

The letter will contain details such as the reason for your mortgage acceleration, the lender’s contact information, and the mortgage balance with any outstanding interest you need to pay by a specified due date.

What actions should you take if you receive a notice to accelerate?

 

 

It is advised to work immediately with a foreclosure lawyer to understand your rights and options. Then, if a foreclosure is inevitable, the attorney can help you decide on the best action.

 

 

If you received a notice by mistake, contact your mortgage lender or servicer immediately. Ask for a detailed record of your payments to verify their accuracy.

If you need to catch up on payments but can bring your account up to date, do it as soon as possible.

Request a written statement of the amount needed to reinstate your mortgage so you have proof of the arrangement.

 

FAQ

Are acceleration clauses legal?

Acceleration clauses are enforceable under the law. However, they are only activated when a borrower still needs to fulfill their obligations and comply with the terms outlined in a previously signed agreement.

Are lenders required to inform about the acceleration clause?

Suppose you signed a mortgage contract with an acceleration clause. In that case, the lender may not have to explicitly inform you if they initiate a foreclosure process due to borrower default or if you fail to meet certain conditions. To be aware of the acceleration clause, you need to read the entire contract or have a lawyer help you understand what you are signing.

What steps can you take to prevent triggering an acceleration clause?

To prevent having to make accelerated payments, ensure that you keep up with all your mortgage payments, pay your homeownership expenses such as insurance and taxes on time, and maintain your property in good condition. Then, if there are no borrower defaults or missed mortgage payments to your mortgage servicer, you can avoid mortgage acceleration easily.

What Is An Ocwen Foreclosure?

 

In December 2013, a national settlement resulted in mortgage relief for numerous borrowers whose mortgage accounts were serviced by Ocwen. In addition, the settlement granted specific borrowers principal reductions or cash payments.

If you feel that Ocwen is servicing your loan unfairly or illegally, or if they have wrongfully initiated foreclosure proceedings on your property, it is recommended that you consult a foreclosure attorney to explore your options.

If Ocwen has violated any state or federal laws related to mortgage servicing or foreclosure, you may have a defense against foreclosure.

 

History of the Ocwen Settlement

 

 

In 2012, Ocwen, the largest non-bank mortgage servicer in the country, was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “CFPB”, in 49 states, and the District of Columbia for multiple violations of federal and state law related to servicing.

Although Ocwen has paid the fines as per the settlement, it still had to adhere to the servicing standards put forth by the settlement.

Ocwen has been found to violate the law when servicing mortgage loans, even after the multibillion-dollar settlement. This implies that some borrowers may have reasons to claim against Ocwen for unlawful practices connected to their mortgages, including illegal foreclosures. If you’ve encountered such problems, consult your state attorney general’s office and an attorney to see if you have a valid legal claim.

 

 

Despite the multibillion-dollar settlement, Ocwen has persisted in breaking the law while servicing mortgage loans. Consequently, some borrowers may still have grounds to file claims against Ocwen for illicit practices associated with their mortgage loans, such as wrongful foreclosures.

Ocwen Loan in Numbers

 

 

Ocwen Financial Corporation settled a lawsuit for mortgage servicing misconduct in 2013. They paid $291 million, and the lawsuit was initially filed in California.

Ocwen was instructed to pay $2.1 billion, out of which $125 million is to be given to borrowers who lost their homes from 2009 to 2012.

Multiple Legal Violations

 

 

The allegations against Ocwen involved breaking laws related to consumer protection and real estate at both federal and state levels, including regulations such as the Consumer Financial Protection Act and state laws on unfair and deceptive business practices.

After a thorough investigation, Owen was found to have committed several violations by state regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

 

 

The violations consisted of several things: needing to promptly or accurately apply payments made by borrowers, keeping incorrect account statements, giving accurate and timely information to eligible borrowers seeking loss mitigation services, and charging fees related to default and foreclosure without authorization.

Ocwen provided false or misleading information to customers whose loans were transferred from other loan servicers. They misrepresented loss mitigation programs and relief from foreclosure, wrongly denied loan modification relief to eligible borrowers, and gave false or misleading reasons for the denial. Additionally, they still need to follow through with modifications already in process.

Who Has Benefited From The Ocwen Settlement?

 

 

From 2009-2012, individuals who were customers of Ocwen, Litton, and Homeward and owned homes or had borrowed money were eligible to receive payments.

Those who chose to receive payments did not have to give up any legal claims and could still pursue further relief.

Am I Eligible for Relief Provided by the Settlement?

If you had your home foreclosed on between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012, and you are an Ocwen customer, you may be eligible for a portion of the settlement.

Additionally, the property had to be a residential property consisting of 1 to 4 units. Also, the first lien’s outstanding principal balance should not have crossed specific limits based on the property type:

  • $729,750 for one-unit
  • $934,200 for two-unit
  • $1,129,250 for three-unit
  • $1,403,400 for four-unit properties

If it was foreclosed, it means that Ocwen Financial Corporation, Litton Loan Servicing LP, or Homeward was managing your loan. Additionally, you must have made at least three payments toward the loan.

To qualify for the settlement, you must either have lived in the property or have intended to make it your primary residence when the loan was initially taken out. In addition, your claim must also have been deemed valid.

Ocwen Loan Servicing Today

 

 

Although there was a lawsuit and subsequent settlement, Ocwen and its primary successor, PHH Mortgage Corporation, are still providing financing for real estate purchases and servicing mortgages.

This lawsuit remains essential. As part of the settlement, Ocwen has agreed to modify its future mortgage servicing practices, particularly for customers dealing with specific issues.

What Is The Ocwen Newest Settlement?

Although Ocwen reached an $11 million settlement with the State of Florida in October 2020, the company has persisted in mistreating its customers despite the national attention given to the lawsuit and settlement.

The Florida attorney general sued Ocwen, and as a result, they settled. The accusations against Ocwen include not giving customers credit for making on-time mortgage payments, leading to unjust late fees, which were then reported as adverse events to credit bureaus, and failing to apply for payments and calculate loan balances accurately. Additionally, they were accused of intentionally misleading borrowers with false information.

Does Ocwen service my loan?

 

 

The company you pay monthly for your mortgage is called a mortgage servicer.

To know if Ocwen services your mortgage, you can contact them at 800-449-8767.

If you lost your home due to foreclosure between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012, you may be eligible for a Notice Letter and Claim Form. The settlement administrator is responsible for mailing these documents to qualified borrowers. If you decide to receive payments, you will not be required to release any claims.

Loan Modifications by Ocwen

Ocwen has initiated the foreclosure process on multiple homes, and the settlement does not require them to halt this process. Nevertheless, you can check if you are eligible for a loan modification.

If you are behind on your payments or in danger of losing your home and owe more than it’s worth, you might qualify for a loan modification from Ocwen Services. The settlement requires Ocwen to offer $2 billion in principal write-down loan modifications to eligible underwater borrowers.

However, it’s important to note that not all consumers will receive this relief, as the settlement does not specify which individuals are eligible. Therefore, a loan modification is not guaranteed under this settlement.

Talk to a foreclosure defense attorney in your area for loan modification options. They can tell you more about the specific requirements of Ocwen’s loan modification program and help you explore other options if necessary.

Struggling Homeowners That Need A Loan Modification

As per the settlement terms, Ocwen was required to offer write-down loan modifications to eligible homeowners at risk of foreclosure. This aimed to provide $2 billion in principal reductions to help borrowers who owed more than their home’s worth.

A write-down loan modification would have lowered the principal balance, thus reducing the monthly payments.

Here is the Ocwen settlement website for more information.

Seeking a Loan Modification?

Suppose you completed the required modifications under this settlement but still need help making your mortgage payments, and Ocwen is your loan servicer. In that case, you may be eligible for a modification under another program.

To see if you qualify for a Flex Modification or an in-house modification option, contact a foreclosure attorney such as Babi Legal Group to find out if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your loan.

Transferred Ocwen Loans

 

 

If you have moved your mortgage account to Ocwen, there are certain things you should be aware of. First, the company has to offer protections for these transferred loans and review any requests for loss mitigation within 60 days of the transfer.

Ocwen is only allowed to initiate or persist with any foreclosure actions once this review is complete.

Who Enforces the Settlement?

 

 

The settlement has been submitted to the federal court; if approved, the court order will support it. State attorneys general can enforce the settlement in their state courts, and penalties may apply if Ocwen violates the settlement terms. Regulators in each state can also enforce orders within their jurisdiction.

As part of the agreement, an independent monitor with objective standards will supervise Ocwen’s compliance and report to the states and CFPB. This adds another layer of oversight. In addition, a monitoring committee, including state attorneys general and financial regulators, will collaborate with the independent monitor.

 

 

Overall, the Ocwen settlement relieves homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments. It requires that Ocwen offer $2 billion in principal write-down loan modifications and other protections for transferred loans. Through an independent monitor, state attorneys general and financial regulators will also ensure compliance with the settlement terms.

Suppose you are facing foreclosure or having difficulty making your mortgage payments. In that case, it is essential to explore all available options to make informed decisions about how best to protect yourself and your home. Contact us if necessary for more information regarding this settlement and other programs designed to help those in need of assistance when dealing with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Can A Quit Claim Save You From Foreclosure?

The term “quitclaim” refers to formally giving up, abandoning, or surrendering one’s legal right to a piece of property.

In the past, transferring real estate involved a ceremonial act. This act required the person transferring the land to hand over a twig or clod of turf from the ground to the recipient of the land.

Currently, ownership of real property is transferred through a written and signed legal document called a property deed.

The deed transfers property ownership from the previous owner, known as the grantor, to the new owner, known as the grantee.

About Quitclaim Deeds

 

 

A quitclaim deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of a property from one person to another. However, it provides limited buyer protection.

In other words, a quitclaim deed is a convenient way to modify or transfer real estate property ownership.

The transfer of ownership happens without any changes or additions to the title.

If you and your two siblings inherit your parents’ property and you transfer your property ownership to someone else through quitclaim, the recipient will receive only the share you had, which is 33%.

You cannot transfer your siblings’ property ownership to a third party without their consent, as they also own the property.

Grantor And Grantee

The person giving away the property is the grantor. This person gives the existing property deed to the person receiving the property, a grantee.

Each transfer requires two parties who trust each other. Each state provides specific real property transfer rules that must be adhered to for the transferring deed to be fixed.

Yet Beware…

Quitclaim deeds offer a different level of assurance and commitment than other types of deeds for real estate.

Quit claims should be reserved for limited situations, and you should consult with an attorney or title specialist before simply transferring or purchasing someone’s real property interests.

An example would be a parent transferring ownership to their child.

Only accept a quitclaim deed from grantors whom you know and trust, and even then, it’s crucial to conduct your due diligence to ensure that you are getting the benefit of your bargain.

Deeds For Transferring Property Ownership

 

 

Transferring property ownership requires a specific type of deed.  Each state generally has different names for deeds with the same legal components. If you’re not careful, it may result in a cloud or title defect, making it easier to sell the property.

Grant Deeds

A grant deed is a legal document that transfers property ownership to a new owner. It contains a clause known as the granting clause.

The grant deed provides two essential assurances to the buyer. Firstly, it assures that the seller has yet to sell the property to someone else.

Furthermore, the seller ensures the buyer that no undisclosed title issues, such as liens or restrictions, are referred to as “implied warranties,” and are not usually explicitly written in the deed.

Although not mandatory, most grant deeds are generally recorded in the county’s public records where the property is situated.

Warranty Deeds

A warranty deed is a standard method to transfer ownership that provides more protection to buyers and sellers. A special warranty deed is frequently used in sale and purchase transactions.

A warranty deed transfer is a lengthier and more formal process than a quitclaim transfer.

A general warranty deed involves payment and includes legal provisions safeguarding the purchaser from potential title problems or liens.

A warranty deed assures that the property is not owned by anyone else. It is similar to a grant deed in many other respects.

A warranty deed ensures no hidden liens or encumbrances on the property being sold. It also guarantees that the seller (grantor) will defend the title against any claims and protect the buyer from them.

What Is the Difference Between a Quitclaim Deed and a Warranty Deed?

A warranty deed assures the buyer that the seller has undisputed ownership of the property, which legally is known as fee simple ownership.

In contrast, a quitclaim deed transfers any right that the seller may have to the buyer without making any promises.

Quitclaim Deeds

Quitclaim deeds are frequently used when transferring real estate to a family member or after a property tax sale auction. This is done to avoid expenses associated with title insurance or hiring an attorney.

They are often used when transferring property to and from a trust, such as when refinancing a bank loan.

Other Uses For Quit Claim Deeds

A quitclaim deed can be helpful in various situations.

A quitclaim deed in marriage enables you to conveniently add the other spouse to the title of your property.

On the contrary, a quitclaim can be used during a divorce settlement to transfer the title to you or your ex-spouse.

A quitclaim can fix errors in your property’s title or title defects if it needs to be updated.

A quitclaim is also used in a will when someone has transferred a property title to a friend or relative and subsequently passes away.

If you have given someone a gift of your property and are looking for a simple and affordable way to transfer the title, a quitclaim is an excellent option.

Finally, you can sign a quitclaim to transfer ownership of your home to the bank and cancel the mortgage.

Quit Claims And Foreclosure

Executing a quit claim deed only transfers interest in the property and does NOT release the person from mortgage obligations.

A quit claim deed will not solve foreclosure issues or stop any pending foreclosure sale.

A quit claim deed allows you to transfer your ownership interest in your home. However, it does not relieve you of the mortgage obligation.

If you’re unable to make payments, the lender will take back the home through a foreclosure process.

Transferring the property to someone else won’t prevent foreclosure, but you can sign the house back to the bank through a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

 

In the State of Michigan, you can also sell what’s known as your “redemption interest” after a foreclosure sale. However, once your redemption interest expires, so will any interest you had in the property. 

What Does A Foreclosure Process Entail?

If you stop making mortgage payments for a while, the bank will tell you and others that your house is up for foreclosure. Depending on state requirements, the bank might also advertise in the newspaper or file something with a court.  The state of Michigan allows foreclosure sales through sale by advertisement.

If you don’t pay back your loan, the bank will sell your house at an auction called a sheriff’s sale. The money from the sale will go to the lender who lent you the money. Usually, it is your bank that buys the house.

After the sheriff’s sale, you can still stay in your house for a while, depending on the state-specific redemption rights afforded. It gives you time to pay off the entire loan and get it back or sell the interest you have during that time.

Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure

To speed up the foreclosure process, opting for a deed in lieu of foreclosure may be beneficial. The bank and their attorney will then prepare the deed in lieu.  

By opting for a deed in lieu of foreclosure, the borrower can stop a foreclosure from being listed on their credit report.

What are HOA dues?

A Homeowners Association (HOA) fee is a monthly amount paid by specific residential property owners to their homeowners’ associations (HOAs). Collecting these fees is to aid the association in property maintenance and improvement.

 

A quit claim deed is a way to transfer property. But it’s important to know that this type of deed doesn’t offer guarantees. Instead, it means that the homeowner could transfer any liens attached to the property, such as HOA, judgment, and mortgage liens.

While a quitclaim deed cannot solely prevent foreclosure, it may offer some assistance in specific situations where foreclosure is pending.

Before signing any documents, discussing the potential impact on your credit is essential if you complete a deed instead of foreclosure. The best thing is to consult a foreclosure attorney, such as an attorney with the Babi Legal Group.

Disadvantages of Signing a Quitclaim Deed

If someone uses a quitclaim deed and transfers ownership to avoid foreclosure, they should be aware that it will only stop the foreclosure sale.

  • The quitclaim provides no assurance, implying that the purchaser might encounter complications such as liens or discover that the seller had no legal ownership of the said property.
  • Although a quitclaim deed is a way to transfer property ownership, it doesn’t ensure that the seller or buyer has a valid claim to the property. While buying a house using a quitclaim deed is technically possible, most buyers prefer the safety and assurance of obtaining a warranty deed.
  • If you’re using a quitclaim deed, it’s vital to get a title search done by a title insurance company, which can cost anywhere from $150 to $400 (or more, depending on the property). 
  • The quitclaim deed only impacts ownership and the name on the deed, not the name on the mortgage. 

Mortgaging Options After Property Transfer

 

 

To transfer your existing home loan, which includes its current interest rate and terms, to another person, is called a mortgage transfer. By doing this, the other person can assume responsibility for the home and the lender’s lien on it without having to apply for a new mortgage. However, the mortgage company would have to provide final approval for this to take effect.

Transferring a mortgage to someone else may be required in certain situations, such as a divorce or the demise of a loved one. But it may be challenging to qualify for a transfer without particular circumstances.

The lender will assess the financial status of the grantee to determine if they are eligible for either taking over the original loan or refinancing the house. If approved, the grantee will assume full responsibility for the mortgage, releasing the grantor from any obligations or liabilities related to the property and loan payments.

When taking over a loan, such as an assumable loan, the new borrower must still meet the lender’s requirements, which may include a credit and income check.

Eligibility criteria can vary by lender and are designed to ensure that the new borrower is financially responsible and able to repay the loan.

Using a quitclaim deed can be an effective way to transfer property ownership, but it is essential to understand the potential risks and consequences before doing so. Be sure to consult a foreclosure attorney or title insurance company specializing in Michigan law for guidance on how this type of transaction may impact your property title and financial obligations.

 

FAQ

Does a quitclaim deed remove me from the mortgage?

A quitclaim deed does not affect a mortgage. It only transfers the title of the property and does not transfer any mortgage the grantor has. It could cause the mortgage company to declare the mortgage in default for the transfer if the mortgage company did not approve it.

Does a spouse have the right to property after signing a quit claim deed?

A quitclaim deed legally transfers ownership from joint or community property to separate property. By signing the deed, the transferring spouse gives up their married couple’s rights to the property.

Can A Bank Foreclose On A House In Probate?

Can a bank foreclose on a house in probate? During probate, the bank can still foreclose on the home if the decedent’s estate does not pay the overdue mortgage amounts.

The purpose of the probate process is to ensure that an inheritance, referred to as a “probate estate,” is distributed correctly.

The law requires probate if someone in Michigan has passed away and their assets were not placed in an estate planning trust. However, if two people jointly owned the assets, had a designated beneficiary through the deed, or were held in a living trust, then probate is typically unnecessary.

If there is confusion about the rightful recipient of the deceased person’s assets or disagreement among the heirs or beneficiaries, it is crucial to seek assistance from a lawyer.


The Importance Of Leaving A Will

 

If the person who passed away had a valid will, their estate would be handled by an executor or personal representative during probate proceedings.

The probate court is responsible for ensuring that a will is executed correctly when available. Without a valid will, the court will distribute the deceased’s assets based on the state’s laws.

If someone passes away without leaving a will, the court will choose an administrator to be the personal representative and manage the proceedings. The administrator, typically a close family member, serves as the executor.


Estate Administration

 

After someone passes away, estate administration collects their assets, settles debts, and pays final expenses. Additionally, estate administration may include distributing any remaining assets.

If a person passes away without a will, their property may be inherited by their closest family member. However, it’s important to note that the property may still have an outstanding debt that needs to be managed during the estate administration process.

It is recommended to hire a lawyer for assistance throughout the process, as the property remains subject to any conditions outlined in prior documents.


The Probate Process

 

When someone dies, it can be hard to feel happy again. Things are complicated if the people related to them must agree on how to divide their belongings. Sometimes distribution needs to be more explicit, so it needs to be decided in court.

The probate process will occur when a court decides how to share the property of someone who has died. Even if the person did not leave behind a will, the court would ensure, as best as it can, their wishes are followed.


Essential Documents To Handle The Deceased’s Estate

 

As soon as possible after a homeowner passes away, search for and hand over the listed items to the individual in charge of carrying out the deceased person’s final arrangements. This person can be the decedent’s executor or a lawyer.

Funeral arrangements (including burial contracts) are the first thing to be found and handled.

Then the executor should also collect the following documents: will, premarital agreement, death certificate, last tax return, bank statements, vehicle titles, insurance policies, and the deeds of real estate.


In What Situations Is Probate Necessary?

 

Not every time a property owner passes away, you must go through probate.

You may not require the probate legal process in these three cases:

  • Joint ownership: When two people own something together, it is called joint ownership. If one dies, the real estate property passes automatically to the other person.
  • Named beneficiary: After the custodian receives a legitimate claim, they will give property like life insurance, pension benefits, pay-on-death bank accounts, and IRAs to the named beneficiary.
  • Trust: If a person transfers their property to a trust before they die, probate will not be required.


Assets Not Subject to Probate

 

Although probate assists with organizing everything, some assets do not go through probate.

When someone who has passed away selects a recipient to inherit a possession after their death, it is referred to as a non-probate asset. This type of asset may not necessitate any estate administration or court procedures.

Assets classified as non-probate pay directly to the named beneficiary, bypassing the deceased person’s will. Examples include life insurance, 401(k) plans, IRAs, and annuities.

Joint Bank Accounts and Businesses

If one of the two bank account owners passes away, the co-signer can inherit it without involving the court. Similarly, if a deceased person owned a business, the legal documents may allow another person to take over the ownership without requiring a court order.

Furthermore, if the deceased held any assets in a trust, those assets would likely be exempt from probate court proceedings, as we mentioned before.


What Happens to a Mortgage After the Death of a Homeowner?

 

How assets are transferred to beneficiaries is determined by the decedent’s will and the state’s laws that apply. When someone dies, their property usually goes to their beneficiaries without any extra steps.

However, if the property still has debt associated with it – such as a home with an outstanding mortgage – the transfer of ownership does not erase that debt.

Tip For Communicating With The Mortgage Lender

When receiving a property in debt as an inheritance, it is recommended to communicate with the lender in writing, as it will create documentation of your conversations and simplify the resolution of any potential problems.


What Happens If You Inherit a Property in Foreclosure?

 

If the homeowner has passed away, the bank can still complete a foreclosure process on a property undergoing probate. However, the mortgage contract remains in effect, and it is the responsibility of the deceased person’s estate to continue making the mortgage payments if they wish to stay off a future foreclosure.  If you seek to keep the home and the current mortgage, then you will need to ask the mortgage company whether they will allow you to take over the loan and become responsible for the current mortgage.

Also, if a property owner has passed away and a probate court is deciding its ownership, the property may be foreclosed.

During the probate process, if the decedent’s estate fails to pay the past due amounts on the mortgage, the bank is authorized to foreclose on the house.


How To Handle A Foreclosure Process During Probate

 

Even if a property is in probate and the estate cannot pay the overdue mortgage, banks or lenders may still foreclose on the house if there is an outstanding mortgage amount.

To stop the foreclosure, a state court lawsuit seeking an injunction or a bankruptcy filing may be required. However, seeking an injunction to prevent foreclosure is rare.

The personal representative of the probate estate is usually responsible for using assets from the estate to pay the mortgage and keep the property ownership current until it is sold or transferred to a new owner.

Generally, banks do not want to own any property and will work with the family to help preserve the family ownership until they can sell the property, and the mortgage is paid off.

The bank will need proof of ownership before beginning foreclosure proceedings. It is also possible for a family member to take on the mortgage payments.


Getting Help If Transferring Real Estate Facing a Foreclosure Sale

 

If you are facing foreclosure in a decedent’s mortgage, if you are the personal representative of the probate estate, then you can handle foreclosure by selling the real property.

If you don’t want to keep the property, and it’s worth less than the mortgage, you can negotiate a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure instead of going through a foreclosure.

 


How To Sell A House in Foreclosure

 

In Michigan, the court’s authorization is required for the estate executor to sell a home undergoing probate. The probate court will grant or deny the estate representative’s request to sell the property.

 It is only possible to transfer the property with approval from the court. The court will ensure that the price you are selling the mortgaged property means enough money.

After getting proper notice from the court, the probate attorney can allow the personal representative to sell the home by setting a price and seeking potential buyers in the real estate market. Hiring an appraiser to determine the property’s fair market value is recommended.

If the amount owed on the mortgage is higher than the house’s current value, check with the lender if they agree to a short sale.

If there is any extra money left over after selling the house and paying off the mortgage, then the excess funds will be placed in the probate estate to pay estate fees and costs and also repaying known creditors.

Whatever money is left over can also be given to the people who inherit the deceased person’s possessions and assets.

Hiring a skilled real estate attorney can help you navigate through the loan documents and the state laws so you fulfill your loved one’s last wishes and still take care of your money.


What Happens If The Property Is In Foreclosure When The Homeowner Dies?

 

Suppose the house you inherit has an outstanding mortgage, and the original owner has passed away. In that case, you are not legally responsible for paying off the total amount, interest, and other fees, but failure to do so will ultimately result in the mortgage company foreclosing on the property. Therefore, selling the house and using the proceeds to pay the mortgage is one of your best options.

A lender can foreclose on a property inherited by a deceased family member. If the borrower dies and the home is already in the foreclosure process, the lender can proceed with the sale without notifying the beneficiaries. It may lead to the property being sold at a sheriff’s sale.

Mortgage Default

Is it possible for an estate to default on a mortgage during the probate process? Yes, it may happen if the estate’s only asset is the decedent’s home or if there needs to be more funds or property in the estate to pay off the outstanding mortgage payments.

Avoid Foreclosure

In certain states, if a homeowner dies while their property is being foreclosed upon, it is legally required for the mortgage lender to modify the foreclosure proceedings to involve the beneficiaries, executors, and administrators of the homeowner’s estate.

 

 Is a Lender Allowed to Foreclose Once the Homeowner Dies?

Sometimes, if the original borrower of a property dies while it is in foreclosure, the mortgage lender may continue to foreclose without notifying the heir(s). It could lead to the home being sold in a sheriff’s sale.

It is common for heirs to discover foreclosure at a later stage, which leaves them struggling to take control of the situation.


Can I Get A Loan Modification On a Mortgaged Property I Inherited?

 

You may request that the mortgage company transfer the loan to the heir and they may accomplish this through a loan modification.  However, if a loan modification is not approved, then it is necessary to pay off the outstanding loan of your deceased family member first to obtain a new mortgage. Approval of the mortgage application will depend on factors such as your assets, debts, credit score, and income.

One possibility is for the estate beneficiaries to make payments towards the estate upfront and later ask for reimbursement once the estate is sold. Another option is selling estate assets or borrowing funds to pay off the debt.

If you experience mortgage issues, it’s advisable to consult a foreclosure defense attorney to defend you against foreclosure. The lender may decline loan modification applications, and even if approved, they may not notify you.


Can You Freeze Assets During Probate?

 

You can request an injunction to allow more time to sell assets that do not have a readily available market.

The probate court can issue temporary injunctions that freeze assets claimed to be a part of a deceased person’s estate, even if there is a dispute about who ultimately owns those assets.

The temporary injunction is meant to preserve the asset while the ownership dispute is resolved. This aligns with the personal representative’s obligation to gather and safeguard the estate’s assets for future distribution.

An injunction may be granted if there is a risk of immediate and irreparable harm or if the person seeking the injunction has a clear legal right to it. Additionally, an injunction may be granted if there is no alternative legal remedy or if it would not harm the public interest.


Probate in Michigan

 

Whether supervised or unsupervised, probate in Michigan usually takes approximately seven months.

The probate period may be longer in some situations, such as:

  • when it takes time to find the will
  • if are contests over the will
  • when the estate is large
  • when there are conflicts with creditors

 

In conclusion, the probate process can be confusing and complicated. Seeking the assistance of a lawyer during the probate process can help to ensure that the decedent’s assets are distributed correctly and any outstanding debts are managed.

It is also crucial to have vital documents such as a will, premarital agreement, and insurance policies in place, as they will help to streamline the probate process. 

Understanding the circumstances where probate may not be necessary, such as joint ownership, named beneficiaries, and trusts, can also be helpful.

Overall, being well-informed and seeking expert advice can make navigating the complex probate process more manageable during a difficult time.

What Is A Partial Claim Mortgage?

What Is A Partial Claim Mortgage?

Since the onset of the pandemic, the US economy has been on a path to recovery. This has allowed many borrowers to reap benefits from their forbearance plans in response to COVID-19, which have been an effective tool for risk mitigation.

An overwhelming majority of people defaulting on their loan agreements choose to defer payments (where missed payments get added on after the loan), while the remaining borrowers need a modification.

Unfortunately, for some borrowers, the pandemic has cost them their jobs permanently, and others are facing a significant drop in pay. This renders current mortgage payment reductions insufficient to help those in need of assistance – many of whom have equity, unlike during the COVID crisis.


First things first, what is HUD?

 

 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is devoted to producing equitable, inclusive neighborhoods with quality, affordable homes available for all.

HUD is actively creating initiatives and programs to bring fairness to the housing industry, an essential element for any community’s growth and success. Housing provides us with a stable foundation to build our lives.


F
HA Loans

 

 

Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the FHA offers FHA-insured mortgages. This mortgage insurance covers various properties, including:

  • single-family homes
  • multifamily properties
  • residential care facilities
  • hospitals


FHA Insured Mortgages

 

 

FHA mortgage insurance protects lenders if a property owner defaults on their mortgage. If this happens, FHA will claim the unpaid balance from the lender. This helps lenders take on less risk and provide more mortgage options to homebuyers.

FHA primarily funds its operations through self-generated income by collecting mortgage insurance premiums from borrowers through lenders.

This income is used to run mortgage insurance programs for the betterment of homebuyers, renters, and communities.


HUD Programs To Avoid Foreclosure

 

 

Several programs are available to help homeowners facing foreclosure and experiencing difficulty paying their monthly mortgage payments.

All borrowers in default or about to default, including non-occupant borrowers, can now access COVID-19 Recovery Options offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The reason for bankruptcy is not a factor in eligibility.


Standard Loss Mitigation Programs

 

 

FHA offers loss mitigation programs to help homeowners who are struggling financially. Here is a list of available programs.

 

 

  • Informal or Formal Forbearance Plan: A forbearance plan allows borrowers to reduce or pause their monthly mortgage payments temporarily.
  • Special Forbearance (SFB)-Unemployment: If borrowers become unemployed, they may be eligible for SFB. A permanent Loss Mitigation Option may be available to a borrower who is gainfully employed, and the SFB-Unemployment Agreement expires.
  • Pre-Foreclosure Sale (PFS): The standard mortgage repayment plan has been temporarily suspended until October 30, 2024, and HUD must offer a new payment plan to borrowers that meet specific qualifications.
  • Deed-in-Lieu (DIL) of Foreclosure: The program is currently on hold and will resume on October 30, 2024. If the borrower cannot fulfill a PFS transaction, they can return the property to HUD by offering a deed.
  • FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP): Temporarily suspended until October 30, 2024, the FHA-HAMP program allows borrowers to avoid foreclosure by establishing an affordable monthly mortgage payment.


HAMP Options To Avoid Foreclosure

 

 

HAMP offers three options to help borrowers with their existing monthly mortgage payments:

 

  • The Standalone Loan Modification adds any missed mortgage payments to the principal loan balance and extends the mortgage term to 360 months at a fixed interest rate. This resolves any outstanding arrears on the mortgage.
  • With the Standalone Partial Claim option, you can add any missed mortgage payments to a separate lien on the property with no interest charged. This amount only needs to be paid once the final mortgage payment is made, the property is sold, or the loan is refinanced, whichever comes first.
  • The FHA-HAMP Combination Loan Modification and Partial Claim can help you achieve an affordable monthly payment plan, settle any missed mortgage payments, and permanently modify your first mortgage’s monthly payment.


Standalone Partial Claim

 

 

A standalone partial claim refers to a COVID forbearance transition-specific partial claim that is not a part of any modification process.

 

 

Eligible borrowers for this option must fulfill these requirements:

  • This is the perfect opportunity if you are 4-12 months delinquent on your mortgage payment.
  • You need to have sufficient income to make your typical mortgage payments monthly.
  • You must occupy the property as a residence.

 

 

The FHA COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim is designed for borrowers who can afford pre-COVID-19 payments. It uses a second lien/partial claim to transfer outstanding payments (such as forborne principal, interest, taxes, and insurance or PITI) to the end of the loan. The goal is to help borrowers catch up with their payments.


How is a Standalone Partial Claim used in a loan modification?

 

 

The Standalone Partial Claim scheme enables placing mortgage payment arrearages in a subordinate lien against the property at a zero interest rate.

The payment for the Partial Claim is only necessary once the last mortgage payment is made, the loan is refinanced, or the property is sold – whichever comes first.


Standalone Partial Claim And Forbearance 101

 

 

This is a difficult-to-understand mortgage relief. So here we will explain it again.

If you agreed to not make payments for a while because of COVID-19 but now want to start making regular payments again, you can apply for a particular type of payment called a standalone partial claim.

If you have not paid your bills during forbearance, FHA will combine them into one big payment. This payment is called a partial claim, including all the money you need to pay back.

When you ask for money from your mortgage company, it will be recorded as an extra loan on the title of your home. You have to repay this loan when you are done paying your regular mortgage.

Pay your mortgage as you did before COVID. Then, everything will remain the same with your regular monthly mortgage payments.

When your mortgage loan ends, you must repay the money you borrowed.


Get Help To Understand Your Mortgage Current Situation

 

 

 

If you are still overwhelmed with the information on mortgage relief programs and don’t know where to start, it is crucial to get professional help.

A qualified real estate attorney can review your situation and guide you on the best option.


FHA-HAMP Combination Loan Modification and Partial Claim

 

 

 

The Partial Claim Mortgage is a convenient and advantageous option that only needs to be repaid once the property is sold or the initial mortgage has been paid off in full.

If you meet the requirements, you can get the Partial Claim with the loan modification, a subordinate lien with zero interest. It covers a portion of the amount you need to resolve and provides a principal deferment.

When you include the second lien/partial claim, the forborne PITI is due at the maturity of your loan. Without the second lien, this amount will be added to your loan balance and then modified – with or without arrearages included.

The remaining amount is added to your first mortgage’s principal loan balance and extends the term to 30 years (360 months) with a fixed interest rate.


Please Explain Again the Loan Modification and Partial Claim

 

 

If you get a loan modification, the FHA can help with a partial claim loan. They will add your missed payments to the end of the loan. This way, you do not have to pay for everything simultaneously.

After your FHA-HAMP Combination Loan Modification and Partial Claim are approved, you will get papers that show the changes made to your loan.

The documents will have information about the loan. This includes:

  • how much money is owed
  • what is the interest rate is
  • how much do you need to pay each month
  • when it needs to be paid off

 

 

FHA may send you documents asking for some or all of the mortgage payments you missed. This is called the partial claim, which will be attached to your home.

Your loan documents show when you need to pay back the partial claim. It gets more expensive once it is due on the new date.

Sometimes, a partial claim can include more money than the missed mortgage payments. This extra money may come from the FHA and be part of your loan balance that gets put off for a while.


Settling a Partial Claim with Payment

 

 

 

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will place a lien on the borrower’s property in the name of the amount owed. 

Therefore, any sale or refinancing activity this person makes must include settling their partial claim before they can take any such actions.


Is a partial claim a second mortgage?

 

 

If you execute a partial claim, it gets recorded as a subordinate lien on the title, separate from your first mortgage.

It will appear on your title report underneath your first mortgage in the amount listed in your partial claim documents.

Because the partial claim does not collect interest and often gets recorded as part of a loan modification or a forbearance transition, it’s slightly different from a traditional 2nd mortgage. For refinancing or selling, though, it gets viewed as a subordinate lien on the title, just like a 2nd mortgage.


Can you refinance if you have a partial claim?

 

 

After your partial claim is executed and you are back on track with your regular monthly mortgage payments, you can complete a refinance of your loan with a new lender (if you qualify).

The new lender will likely give you a new loan with one balance that includes the partial claim amount.

If you’ve been offered a partial claim, it is always good to have an attorney review the documents to fully explain what you’re looking at (and how it will impact your mortgage).

Many borrowers need to realize that the partial claim debt should not be included as part of their principal balance on their first mortgage and is treated separately. As a result, it can become a lien on the property without making extra monthly payments to reduce this amount unless you receive a separate payoff statement. 


COVID-19 Loss Mitigation Waterfall

 

 

At the beginning of 2023, the FHA introduced changes to their options for helping homeowners facing financial difficulties, also known as a “waterfall” method. These changes simplify and update the existing options, reduce the amount of documentation required, and offer more payment reduction choices for eligible homeowners.

The expected end date for the Covid-19 emergency declaration is May 11. However, the FHA is requesting a more gradual ending rather than an abrupt one.

Therefore, the FHA stopped the FHA-Home Affordable Modification (FHA-HAMP) program for a while. They did this to make figuring out how much money people should get back easier.

Mortgage companies have to help people with FHA loans if they cannot make payments. Therefore, it does not matter why the person needs to catch up on their payments.


Changes To The FHA Waterfall Process And Partial Claims

 

 

The loss mitigation toolkit was changed by the FHA as well. The FHA raised the maximum partial claim amount from 25% of the mortgage’s unpaid principal balance to reach the 30% allowed.

So, a partial claim will then become an interest-free loan. Eligible borrowers can use partial claims to bring their mortgage up to date.

When you finish paying off all the mortgage payments, you will get your money back. Or if you refinance or sell the house, you will also get your money back.

Starting April 30th, you can utilize the HUD partial claim to settle any missed payments from homeowners affected by Covid-19 recovery modifications. Note that the partial claim cap for this option will remain at 30%.


Benefits to HUD Partial Claims

 

 

  • More people who cannot pay their loan servicer can now get help. They will be able to pay 25% less, even if the interest rates have increased.
  • People who qualified for or used Homeowners Assistance Funds (HAF) can use unique options to help them avoid defaulting on their home loans. This will help them keep their house.
  • The loan servicer can get money when they help people with Covid-19 problems. This money was available after this.

FAQ

Once your partial claim payment is fulfilled and you have resumed making monthly mortgage payments on time, refinancing to a new lender (assuming you qualify) can be the next step. This will give you access to a more recent loan that consolidates your prior balance with the partial claim amount for one unified balance.

To receive a payoff statement, include the FHA Case number, property address, and names of the parties on the mortgage. If you are not authorized to request this information, kindly submit a third-party authorization form. If your partial claim relates to COVID-19, attach your promissory note. A promissory message is a legally binding agreement detailing an individual’s debt repayment commitment.

Consult With a Foreclosure Defense Attorney

 

 

If you are facing foreclosure or need help understanding the FHA Partial Claim process, a qualified foreclosure defense attorney can provide advice and guidance. In addition, they can review your loan documents for discrepancies and ensure all legal procedures are met, giving you greater peace of mind.

Are you still determining if an FHA Partial Claim suits your circumstances? A qualified foreclosure attorney can assess not only the programs of the FHA modification but also evaluate your situation to determine eligibility and answer questions like: What are partial claims signing? or Does a partial claim hurt my credit?

Historical Performance and Trends

Partial claim mortgages have proven to be very beneficial to borrowers. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, for instance, estimated in its early 2023 report that in 95% of cases, the partial claim is sufficient to help the borrower.

HUD also estimated that more than 1 million borrowers obtained a loss mitigation home retention option to help them avoid foreclosure. The agency also says that the program has significantly reduced the delinquency rate of FHA loans, down to only 4.79% as of November 2022. 

The serious delinquency rate of the FHA a year before that was 7.83%. And at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, in November 2020, that rate was 11.90%.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the availability of these types of loss mitigation programs, and the usage of them, has increased, as more and more families have struggled to keep up.

Other Federal Programs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) provides guidance to homeowners who may be struggling to pay their mortgage. The agency doesn’t offer direct assistance to borrowers, landlords or renters, but rather connects them with resources that might help them.

People who have mortgages that are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must first reach out to their loan servicer to see their options for financial relief. If all those options fail, you might qualify for the new Veterans Affairs Servicing Purchase program, or VASP, which launches May 31, 2024.

Through this program, the VA will buy the modified loan through the loan servicer. This can help reduce payments.

Legal Rights and Obligations

The partial claim will be used as a subordinate lien on the property. Any borrower that meets the requirements, the remaining amount will be added to the principal balance of the loan for the first mortgage, while extending it for 30 years at a new fixed rate.

The first mortgage is paid off first, and then the partial claim must be repaid. However, if a homeowner refinances or sells a property, the partial claim must be repaid. 

With a partial claim in place, the borrower is protected from foreclosure, as long as they pay their monthly repayment on the first mortgage. In other words, the lender may only pursue foreclosure if the borrower doesn’t repay what’s left on the first mortgage. This can often extend the foreclosure process significantly, as the borrower receives financial relief.

If you’re still having challenges after a partial claim is in place, there might be some options to have a HUD partial claim forgiven.

State-Specific Programs

There are some other federal programs that provided financial assistance to homeowners on a state-by-state basis. For instance, the Homeowner Assistance Fund gave out almost $10 billion in funds to help people who were behind on their mortgages and related expenses. 

Individual states administer the program, though the U.S. Treasury Department oversees it. More than 500,000 homeowners took advantage of the program as of the end of 2023, with $6.6 billion in assistance granted.

While all states were given an allocation, only 17 still have funds remaining. All the others have either closed their programs or suspended them. Michigan is one of the states where the program is closed.

The Application Process

If you are interested in a partial claim, you must first contact your lender. This conversation will help you determine what options are available to you. 

Your lender will be responsible for looking at your situation to determine what programs you might qualify for. Then, the lender will apply directly to the HUD to complete the process.

You will obviously be involved in the process as well, reviewing and signing documents, but it originates with your lender — and not between the borrower and HUD directly.

One of the most important things you can do as a borrower is to always communicate with your lender and HUD. By staying in contact with them, returning any documents or paperwork in a timely fashion, you will be showing that you care and that you’re deserving of the relief.

Can I Sue My Mortgage Company For Stress?

Although you can technically take legal action against someone for many reasons so long as they have merit, the fact remains that it requires a significant investment to pursue any litigation. Therefore, while suing your mortgage lender is an option, you should weigh it thoughtfully before being pursued.

Even though stress is not a legitimate basis for filing a lawsuit, read on to learn how you can potentially sue your mortgage company over errors that may be worth quite a bit of money

 

What is RESPA?

 

It’s no wonder customers often seek legal action against lenders and servicers for not correctly conforming to the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act when mortgage servicers make blatant mistakes managing a homeowner’s loan account.

If you feel that an error has been made when managing your mortgage payments, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) serves as a legal avenue to fix it. In addition to this service, RESPA provides access to detailed data concerning your account.


Suing Your Mortgage Company

 

Suppose you are a homeowner who suspects that the mortgage company is directly violating RESPA regulations and is facing a foreclosure sale. In that case, you can file suit against them as an individual or on behalf of your business.

 

Reasons to File a Lawsuit Against Your Mortgage Company

 

Unpaid mortgage payments can ultimately result in the foreclosure process, but unfortunately, the lender only sometimes acts appropriately. Errors such as inaccurate processing of payments or miscalculations on what has been paid are just a few causes that lead to wrongful foreclosures.

At times, modifications of agreements between parties can be vague and confusing – this includes failure to inform customers about changes promptly. For example, suppose your mortgage company needs to advise you correctly regarding any alterations that affect your contract or withhold necessary information. In that case, you may have the right to dispute their actions and even file a lawsuit against them.

When you’re confronted with foreclosure, and your mortgage lender charges exorbitant fees, you also have the right to begin a legal proceeding. A lawyer expert in foreclosure law can answer if you have this kind of opportunity while facing foreclosure.

When mortgage lenders fail to pay property taxes while their customers expect them to, you can take a legal process against the lender.

A lawsuit against mortgage companies may also be due to their purported improper calculation of interest or taxes and unlawful credit practices.


Notices of Error Under RESPA

 

What if your mortgage company has made a mistake that leads to a direct violation against homeowners?

If you think your mortgage servicer has erred, sending a letter is the most successful way to challenge it. Furthermore, this approach may provide more protection than other forms of communication.

 

To qualify as a notice of error that a lawyer can use, a written request must clearly state that there is an issue with servicing one’s mortgage loan.

When mortgage companies review borrowers’ letters, they must determine if each meets the requirements for a notice of error. Here is where an experienced lawyer can ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently.

Free Consultation

Remember that most lawyers offer free consultations, giving you the perfect opportunity to explain your situation and show any relevant documentation. In this way, they can tell you if they can help with your case.


Common Types of Servicer Errors

 

There are many kinds of mortgage company servicer errors. For example, incidents of lenders imposing late fees on payments made promptly or implementing unexpected default property management charge for borrowers who are not delinquent have occurred quite often.

Many forbearance attorneys know the potential legal battles that can arise from mortgage companies charging for force-placed insurance in unauthorized circumstances.

 

Deadline to Acknowledge a Notice of Error

 

Within five days of a servicer receiving notification from the borrower about an error (excluding national legal holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays), they must provide written acknowledgment to confirm receipt.

 

Discrimination From a Mortgage Company

 

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) safeguards fairness and equity in financial transactions by enforcing the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This law prohibits lenders from discriminating against potential borrowers based on race, gender, religion, or other aspects of identity. 

If consumers feel they have received unfair treatment while applying for credit or a loan, they can file a complaint with the CFPB to investigate possible unlawful actions.


How To Sue Your Mortgage Lenders

 

 

Regarding legal matters, the most prudent way of proceeding is consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer from your region specializing in mortgage company disputes. Contacting such an attorney is essential for ensuring that you are navigating the issue appropriately and efficiently.

Serve Notice To Your Mortgage Company

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, servicers are mandated to observe all regulations once they have received a written notice from the borrower that alleges an error.

To be considered authentic, such notices must include the following:

  1. The borrower’s full name
  2. Your account number
  3. Mistakes you think have occurred

Internet Forms Can Serve Notice?

A mortgage lender can choose to create a process for receiving notices of error through email, web forms, or other online methods. This should be an additional step and not replace any existing email-based processes.

Loan Documents

 

 

Make sure to collect all the pertinent documents associated with your mortgage and home purchase. Do not forget:

  • All contracts (sales and mortgage)
  • Any communications between real estate agents, brokers, the purchaser, and the lender
  • Any other essential documents related to the house and its transactions.

Once you have obtained all applicable documents and thoroughly evaluated your initial mortgage agreement, reach out to the lender and determine if they can address any conflict that may be present.

Keep it handy!

Your initial mortgage agreement holds pertinent details, including your responsibilities and rights per the contract and those of the lender.

Request information

As a borrower, you have the right to request specific information from your mortgage lender.

Within fifteen days of receiving a borrower’s request, the servicer must provide free copies of any documents or information supporting their determination that no error had occurred. This timeframe excludes public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Nevertheless, the mortgage lender is exempt from sharing confidential, proprietary, or privileged documents.

Once again, a mortgage lawyer is a person you must contact to understand how requesting information works.

If an error occurred

Once you are working with the right lawyer, an expert in their practice area, they will begin by requesting information. They will also help you create the perfect letter for notice of error.

The lawsuit process can be complicated but remember you do not have to navigate it alone. The law is there to help consumer interest so that you can bring legal action against the mortgage company.

The right attorney will assist you throughout the process, giving you support.

Worried About Attorney’s Fees?

If your financial circumstances make you unable to pay a lawyer, you can consider legal aid. You also can receive assistance through creative payment arrangements such as deferred or contingent fee contracts.

If you walk in the right direction regarding this legal issue, the lawsuit can also cover attorney’s fees.


Obligations Towards Your Mortgage Lender

 

 

Finally, remember you acquired certain obligations when you borrowed money through a mortgage that you must respect. If you fear that you cannot keep up with them, ask your lender for the options to modify or refinance your loan.

A knowledgeable foreclosure lawyer can help you understand these services further and if you hold a chance against your mortgage lender because of their error.

 

Today is the day to take a stand against mortgage lenders and protect your rights as a homeowner. Speak with a foreclosure defense attorney about filing legal action for any mistreatment you have experienced at the hands of your mortgage company.

Consult with a Foreclosure Defense Attorney here.

What Happens To Escrow During Forbearance?

With forbearance, creditors have an invaluable way of providing debtors with some much-needed financial reprieve, allowing them to sigh in relief. Instead of pushing a property into foreclosure, forbearance allows your lender or creditor to temporarily postpone or reduce mortgage payments. Forbearance does not cancel the amount owed on your mortgage. You must pay missed payments back at some point.

Forbearance won’t appear on your credit report as a harmful activity, either. Your lender or servicer will continue to indicate that you are up-to-date on payments, even if they have been paused.

 

Updates on CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance

 

 

The CARES Act offered economic relief due to financial hardship. The provision of the CARES Act allowing for mortgage payment forbearance is in effect from March 27, 2020, to the end of the COVID-19 emergency.

Borrowers with federally-backed loans experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency can request forbearance, regardless of their delinquency status.  The CARES Act required the federally backed loans to offer a forbearance to the borrower and forbid the lender from charging penalties and late fees against the borrower during the forbearance period.

 

What types of loans are covered under the CARES Act?

 

 

Types of forbearance available vary by loan type and apply to FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans. In addition, the Act includes the Paycheck Protection Program, expanded unemployment assistance, emergency loan funding, and a waiver of student loan interest payments.

The CARES Act provides mortgage payment forbearance of up to twelve months for borrowers suffering from the financial repercussions of COVID-19. In addition, loan servicers may offer forbearance or deferment options for non-government-backed or private loans; however, these options may differ.

 

Why You Should Mind Regulation X

 

Regulation X, implemented as part of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, protects credit secured domestically and abroad.

Suppose you are a borrower governed by Regulation X. In that case, you are responsible for ensuring that the credit obtained abides by Federal Reserve Regulations T (regarding brokers and dealers) and U (for banks and lenders).

Under the earlier version of the legislation, servicers were expected to allocate or provide capital for escrow items promptly during any forbearance period; however, they did not include this stipulation in the finalized CARES Act text.

However, Regulation X–which administers the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)–still delineates how servicers should manage associated escrow accounts.

 

What Is Escrow?

 

 

For certain mortgage loans, the borrower must pay a predetermined monthly sum for property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. If you have to pay this amount, it is cited as “escrow items.”

When completing an escrow transaction, you must cover the title and deed costs and any applicable homeowners’ association dues or private mortgage insurance premiums. Your regular mortgage payment incorporates the four primary components: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI).

Do you know how your mortgage payments are structured? PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance) is the amount that encompasses all of these factors. This funds an escrow account for taxes and insurance. After your payment, your servicer puts the applicable taxes and insurance into an impound or escrow account.

Escrow Accounts

To ensure taxes and insurance payments are taken care of, your mortgage company will arrange for the sums to be put into a separate account known as an “escrow account” or “impound account.” Establishing an escrow account safeguards that your taxes, insurance premiums, and other payments are paid promptly in full.

By depositing money into an escrow account, you effectively give the servicer a no-interest loan, as most of the time (except in some states), funds in this type of account do not accrue interest.

How Much Is Escrow?

The borrower typically pays approximately one-twelfth of their estimated annual taxes and monthly insurance costs. To prepare for any unforeseen increases in expenses, most services collect an extra cushion, usually equating to two months’ worth of escrow payments.

 

During a CARES Act Forbearance, Who is Responsible for the Portion of Mortgage Payments set Aside in Escrow?

 

 

Although unclear in the CARES Act, an earlier version of the law instructed mortgage servicers to pay or advance funds for escrow items promptly during any forbearance period.

Here is where we need help interpreting Regulation X and why it can affect our mortgage. A lawyer can stand on our side on the borrower’s behalf to help you and your family understand the best way to access forbearance programs on time and without losing economic security.

Suppose your mortgage payments are overdue, and you have established an escrow account from which the servicer pays for insurance bills. In that case, they must keep the existing policy in place–even if funds need to be advanced into your escrow account.

Moreover, property tax liens precede other forms – even mortgage liens. Therefore, the servicer typically makes a monetary contribution to ward off any potential tax sale and satisfy the taxes due.

It is now accepted that numerous servicers believe the CARES Act requires them to honor forbearance on the escrow portion of borrowers’ monthly payments, in addition to principal and interest.

 

Forbearance Perils

 

 

When a forbearance is granted, it might go unnoticed by third parties, such as escrow and title companies. Therefore, you could be charged an unexpectedly high payoff amount, which could prevent the closing of your property if they are not informed of this agreement.

Your deferred PITI mortgage payments will have to be paid back eventually. If an escrow burdens you with taxes and insurance, your servicer will continue to pay them during the forbearance period. But since monthly payments are temporarily suspended, it may lead to a deficiency in your escrow account when evaluated annually.

So, who is accountable for the bill? Unfortunately, the CARES Act does not guide handling mortgage payments, including escrow items. However, it initially specified that servicers must promptly disburse or advance money during the forbearance period.

Despite the U.S. government’s support for a loan servicer to enable them to make up their missed payments on principal and interest conveniently following a forbearance, they have yet to offer any timeline or advice concerning lenders recouping escrowed taxes incurred during this time frame.

To ensure that all debts are accurately accounted for, it is critical to include any missed payments, fees, and interests accrued during a forbearance in the calculation. Furthermore, an advanced warning must be given beforehand to guarantee a smooth closing process between agents, escrow personnel, and lenders when taking out a forbearance on the property.

You are responsible for paying off your loan debt. You may choose to pay in one large sum. However, none of these loans require a lump-sum payment.

Property Taxes Liens

 

 

State governments passed executive orders or legislation that barred evictions and foreclosures and modified tax sale dates from supporting homeowners further and bolstering the CARES Act relief.

Even if the servicer needs to provide funds to the borrower’s escrow account, they can still pay for insurance directly from it. Moreover, property tax liens take precedence over all other liens, including mortgage ones.

Servicers often allocate money to pay property taxes to avert a tax sale. In addition, many servicers interpret the CARES Act as necessitating forbearance of the principal and interest portions of borrowers’ monthly payments and any escrowed funds.

To avoid a tax sale, servicers often advance money to pay property taxes. In addition, the CARES Act mandates that lenders provide forbearance for both principal and interest payments and any amounts held in escrow by borrowers each month.

 

Protecting Your Tax Lien Can Require A Forbearance Lawyer

 

 

Many municipalities have taken measures to provide much-needed economic relief to local communities. Some of those measures include temporarily ending property tax collection endeavors, imposing eviction and foreclosure breaks, and altering redemption periods and deadlines for taxes paid late or not at all.

Some state governments have even transitioned to online sales of delinquent properties instead of the traditional methods – with payment due dates being pushed back.

Therefore, the CARES Act and state-level relief efforts have wholly changed the previously reliable procedures for tax sales, bringing uncertainty to an ordinarily predictable process.

The problem is multiple states or even locations within a single state have different tax sales and process laws.

A forbearance lawyer is well-versed in all the regulations that protect your rights. In addition, he can guide you through how relief programs targeted at aiding people with financial instability have impacted tax sales and to what extent these changes affect you as a homeowner.

Reach out if you’d like to know more.

 

COVID-19 Mortgage Forbearance Repayment

 

 

After your forbearance period has elapsed, taking steps to repay those missed payments is essential. Your mortgage servicer will assist you in finding the best repayment plan that fits your financial needs and helps you get back on track.

 

What Other COVID-19 Mortgage Relief Options Do Borrowers Have?

Here are some other programs you might want to know about for mortgage payment relief.

  1. A loan modification process enables you to make your loan payments more affordable. By altering the terms of your current loan, such as changing its rate, term, or principal balance, and including past-due installments in this new arrangement – you can get back on track with few financial challenges ahead.
  2. Your overdue balance will be included in your regular payments for around three to six months until the loan is updated.
  3. Consider deferring or partially claiming your past-due balance to pay it off later. This deferred amount is due when you settle your mortgage, sell the house, or obtain refinancing; no extra interest will be charged on this sum.
  4. You can pay the due amount in one lump sum if it’s within your means.

Mortgage Repayment Tip

You must explore all your loan possibilities to make the best financial decision. If you need assistance along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact your servicer—you can find their info on the monthly statement that arrives in your mailbox.

Forbearance and CARES Act FAQ

What are the requirements necessary to obtain CARES mortgage forbearance?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect, which is why qualification for forbearance related to the virus is exceptionally straightforward. All you have to do after submitting your request is verify that you are suffering from financial distress caused by the virus.

How do you make your mortgage payment go to escrow only?

If you want to ensure that your mortgage payment goes towards escrow only, mailing a check along with its accompanying statement stub is the safest way. Ensure that you write ‘ESCROW ONLY’ on it to avoid confusion. As an extra precaution, take a photo or scan of everything before sending it out via post office – this can serve as evidence in case anything happens.

How To Fight A Writ Of Possession

 

A writ of possession (also known as a writ of restitution) is a court order issued to a landlord or property owner allowing them to regain control of their property from an occupant. It is commonly used in eviction proceedings after a judgment for possession has been ordered and requires the occupants to leave within a specific time, usually 24-72 hours.

The writ can be enforced by law enforcement or other authorized personnel if necessary, and failure to comply could result in criminal charges being brought against the occupants.

Understanding your rights when facing eviction through a writ of possession is essential as it provides options on how best to proceed with challenging it and avoiding having to vacate your home.

 

Reasons for Evictions in Michigan

 

 

If your landlord is considering eviction, this could be due to a few possible causes. For example, you may have failed to pay rent on time, failed to pay required utilities, taxes, insurance if required or your lease has already expired, and you still need to vacate the property.

Not adhering to the terms of your lease agreementis not the only cause for eviction. Intentionally damaging or putting others’ health in danger can be a reason, too, as well as running illegal drug activities onsite.

Furthermore, your landlord may believe that there are sufficient grounds for evicting you from either a mobile home park or federally subsidized housing – both of which follow predetermined rules and regulations.

 

Know Your Rights As A Tenant

 

 

When signing a rental contract, tenants must understand their rights and responsibilities. For you to find this information helpful, we have outlined some of Michigan tenants’ rights here.

Non-Discrimination Rental

It is a fundamental human right to be able to find appropriate housing that meets one’s needs. Fortunately, laws have been established to protect tenants from illegal discrimination based on various characteristics like religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial or marital status, and disability.

These legal protections ensure tenants of all backgrounds can look for housing without fear of prejudice or mistreatment and enjoy a more just and fair renting process.  It also protects occupants in their current tenancy to ensure compliance with the law.

Safe Secure Rental Home

As a tenant, you have the right to inhabit a secure abode that is fit for habitation. The property must be well-maintained and safe, from your house to the outdoor area, such as the backyard or courtyard.

Additionally, any shared communal spaces should remain in excellent condition and suitable for their usual purpose.

Repairs In A Michigan Rental Home

Take repairs seriously to ensure your rental unit meets the necessary standards. Promptly notify your landlord of any problems or required repairs. Your landlord should then address the issues promptly.

 

Landlords Legal Obligations

 

 

Under Michigan law, landlords must provide you with a reasonably safe home and address any necessary repairs or maintenance requests. They are obligated to do this before evicting you and must follow the legal procedures outlined in the state’s eviction laws.

Tenants have the right to live on a property free from coercion and force. Therefore, landlords are prohibited from using physical force or intimidation to make tenants leave or enter their houses except during an emergency.

Landlords must respect tenants’ privacy and security, upholding their right to the sanctity of their homes. Therefore, they are forbidden from causing any disruption or damaging property, such as noisy disturbances, unpleasant smells, tampering with door locks, or utility shutdowns.

The law always respects a tenant’s right to privacy and security, which forbids landlords from carelessly discarding personal items.

 

Escrow Account For Rental Home Repairs

 

 

In Michigan, if your landlord refuses to deal with necessary repairs, you can hold the rent money in an escrow account or pay for them yourself and subtract a certain amount from the following rent due.

To ensure that you are protected when putting your rent in escrow bank accounts, ensure it is a different bank account with only its specified funds. Again, it’s best to formally notify your landlord via written notice of this decision.

Furthermore, if you must do any repairs or maintenance due to the issue, keep accurate records displaying how much money has been spent so that you can recoup the costs effectively.

 

What To Do If You Face Eviction In Michigan

 

 

Eviction is the judicial process of requiring a tenant to vacate rental housing. In Michigan, these legal proceedings are pursued in a summary proceeding, which are quicker and more straightforward than usual due to expedited court access and prompt resolution of eviction cases.

If your landlord files a writ against you, there is still hope. But, first, you may file a Motion to Vacate to set-aside the writ of possession.

If you have already repaid the delinquentrent or the landlord hasn’t served an appropriate eviction summons, then filing a Motion to Dismiss can effectively terminate an eviction process.

 

What is a Writ of Possession?

 

 

A writ of possession is a particular order from the court which makes this order if it decides that a landlord should have control of their property.

If a tenant refuses to vacate the premises after being given notice, they are acting in defiance of what was ordered by the court; if this occurs, the landlord may take legal action.

If individuals remain on a property against a court-mandated order, the county sheriff will visit to guarantee their removal. This ensures that everybody present is cleared out who shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Reasons for a Writ of Possession

Your landlord can only legally evict you if you receive an eviction order from the court. Moreover, they are disallowed to forcibly remove you and also to deny entry into your home unless a valid court-ordered eviction has been issued.

 

Suppose a tenant is delinquent of rent, damaging the property, posing a health hazard, or engaging in illegal activities such as drug use on the premises. In that case, their landlord can issue a demand for possession also known as a notice to terminate tenancy. However, before initiating an eviction case against them, the landlord must give this formal notice to advise the tenant that it’s time to vacate.

It is strictly prohibited for a landlord to expel you from your home without initially going through the proper legal channels and obtaining an eviction order. Without such an order, there should be no attempt made on their part that would limit or revoke your access to your residence.

Providing ample notice is essential before one can begin the eviction process, and thus must be given adequate time before filing with a court of law.

 

What Does A Writ of Possession Mean for Tenants?

 

A writ of possession is a court-issued document that allows landlords to reclaim a residential or commercial property if they prevail in an eviction lawsuit. This legal mechanism ensures the landlord’s right to reclaim possession of the disputed premises.

 

Stopping Your Eviction

If you’re determined to combat a possession judgment and prevent an eviction from occurring, filing a Motion for a Stay of the Writ of Restitution is your best bet.

This is your request to stop the eviction from moving forward. As part of this motion, you must ask for an emergency hearing for the court to hear your argument about why the displacement should not go ahead.

 

Fill Out The Motion For Dismissal

 

 

Tenants can submit a Motion for Dismissal to throw out an eviction proceeding if their landlord has failed to follow the proper legal process. 

For the most successful outcome, file your motion before the deadline specified on the summons. For example, if you find that your landlord has neglected to provide appropriate notice before demanding you vacate their property, a Motion to Dismiss may be in order.

If the landlord still needs to serve you with the Summons and Complaint correctly, or if you’ve already paid all rent owed, submit your Answer to  the Court in a timely manner. By abiding by these steps, a judge can rule in your favor.

If the judge fails to issue a decision quickly or denies your Motion to Dismiss, it is still necessary for you to submit your Answer on time and prepare yourself for court attendance at the trial date. Take this chance to highlight why you believe the case should be entirely dismissed.

 

Court Hearing and Court Date

Upon reading the Motion, the judge finds a valid legal argument in favor of suspending eviction proceedings. In that case, they will grant it without holding an immediate court date and will schedule one later.

 

Hire Legal Help

 

You can hire a lawyer to represent you and assist with your eviction proceedings. You need to seek legal advice as soon as possible, so the lawyer has enough time to prepare your case and review all the documentation.

After the writ of possession is issued, a tenant or their lawyer may submit a motion to hold off eviction. This motion asks that the judge puts an end to proceeding with the execution of possession.

Having an attorney at the eviction hearing will also give you an edge when presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and exploring other strategies necessary for your defense.

Understanding the legal steps of an eviction and knowing your rights is essential. Filing a Motion to Dismiss can help you reverse the process. Contact a lawyer to protect your rights as a tenant.

 

FAQ

 

Can I avoid eviction by paying all my debt to the landlord after a judgment is made?

If your landlord has only taken legal action against you due to unpaid rent, paying what you owe should be enough to halt the eviction procedure.

How do I get a stay of the writ of restitution?

If a resident or their lawyer wishes to prevent the sheriff from executing the Writ of Possession and displacing them, they can do so by filing a Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession. This document is also called a stay writ. The writ may be typed or handwritten, depending on which is more convenient for both parties.

How much time do I have until I’m evicted?

After an order for possession is issued, the court may only grant you 10 days by law to move out of the rental unit.  If you have not moved out by that time, then the Landlord may come back to court and file the writ of restitution, which will only give you a few more days until a county sheriff is knocking on your door to physically remove you and all your belongings if necessary.