The attorneys at Emerson Law Firm are consumer lawyers and members of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a dedicated organization of more than 1500 consumer advocates representing consumers, including those victimized by fraudulent, abusive, and/or predatory business practices. The lawyers of the firm generally practice in the areas of foreclosure defense and loss mitigation, consumer bankruptcy, and residential real estate and are able to assist clients in matters involving consumer fraud, fair debt collection practice issues, credit card defense, and general debt defense. Our combined experience on "the other side" (as former debt collection and mortgage servicing attorneys) provides us with a unique understanding of the industry that has proven to be invaluable to our clients.
Foreclosure/Mortgage Servicing Abuses
There are many reasons for foreclosure. Perhaps your family has experienced a job loss, salary reduction, or injury. You may be unable to refinance because you now have negative equity in your home. You've lost tenants. Or perhaps your loan servicer wrongfully foreclosed on you because of accounting errors (trust us, it happens!). We've seen it all.
We will help you determine your loss mitigation options -- such as a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, consent foreclosure, loan workout or modification -- and guide you through the process while simultaneously defending your foreclosure. Our office has substantial experience in chancery cases, including foreclosure. And yes, we even do commercial foreclosures and appeals.
Real Estate Closings
Why do you need a real estate lawyer? The answer is simple: the purchase or sale of your home is probably the biggest financial transaction you will ever undertake. A qualified real estate attorney can explain the contract and other legal documents, negotiate terms, prepare necessary transfer documents, and ensure that you do not have title issues that survive the closing.
Moreover, we know from personal experience that mortgage or title company issues can have a significant impact on your rights. For example, some homeowners do not realize that they can defend their unmortgaged property interest in a foreclosure, or that in a short sale situtation, they can request a waiver of the remaining balance due on the home. (Important Note: there is no guarantee of such, and there may be tax consequences.)
Our firm has practiced real estate since 1999, and in fact, attorney Sandra M. Emerson is a former real estate broker. Our office has successfully completed countless real estate transactions, including short sales, condominium conversion projects, commercial properties, FSBO (for sale by owner) transactions, and first-time home purchases. Trust us to assist you with your real estate needs.
The term "loss mitigation" refers to the mitigation or reduction of the loss to the lender that would result from a foreclosure. Loss mitigation comes in many forms, the most common being loan modifications, loan workouts, forbearance agreements, short sales, or deeds in lieu of foreclosure. As real estate attorneys, our lawyers are well-versed in the various loss mitigation options that may be available to you, and may be able to assist you in applying for and obtaining loss mitigation from your lender in order to save your home or business property.
Bankruptcy Discharge Violations
If your debts were discharged in bankruptcy and your creditors are still attempting to collect them, you may have a claim for a violation of your discharge order, as well as other consumer claims.
Mortgage servicing abuses in Chapter 13 cases are also quite common. It is not unusual to find the addition of unauthorized fees and charges during or after a Chapter 13. Luckily, the 2005 Bankruptcy Code amendments added 11 U.S.C. sec. 524(i), which allows individuals to enforce the discharge provisions against mortgage companies who have violated the provisions of a confirmed plan.
If you are being pursued by a creditor post-bankruptcy and you feel that there has been an error, please contact our office so that we can fight for your rights! Although we do charge a consultation fee for your visit, our firm generally handles discharge violations on a contingency fee basis, which means that we do not get paid unless you do.
Estate planning is an important facet of your overall financial health. What will happen to your family if you become disabled or die? Just about everyone can benefit from the development of an estate plan - not just the wealthy.
Your estate plan can define how you want your assets to be owned, managed and preserved not only during your lifetime, but also how you'd like them distributed after your death. Moreover, an estate plan can reduce the taxes and expenses of an estate (such as probate) for your heirs.
Sometimes, despite every effort, it is necessary to file for bankruptcy protection. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation proceeding available to people, corporations, and partnerships. In most consumer cases, the debtor's assets are exempt and are retained by the debtor.
Many people are surprised to learn how quickly their credit improves following a bankruptcy. In fact, because you can only receive a Chapter 7 discharge once every eight years, you may find that creditors are more willing to take a chance on you after your discharge. For some debtors, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the only option. Either way, we can help. And we proudly recommend Dave Ramsey's Debtor Education and tools for our clients, so you'll able to get back into financial shape in no time.
Debt Collection Defense & Abusive Debt Practices
If you have been on the receiving end of aggressive and abusive debt collection tactics, you are not alone -- and you may be entitled to money damages.
For example, if you have discharged a debt in bankruptcy, you should NEVER be required to pay that debt. Creditors who try to collect on discharged debt may be liable to you for damages. Some unscrupulous creditors even sell discharged debts to debt buyers, who may pursue you for the discharged balances. These practices are violations of the discharge injunction, and are very serious matters.
Also, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. A "debt collector" is defined as someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them. In some cases, your mortgage loan servicer may qualify as a "debt collector." If you are concerned about illegal practices, don't try to navigate these waters alone -- call us for help.