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debt consolidation loanWhen a person files taxes in which he or she has paid a greater amount of taxes than his or her tax liability requires, he or she can receive a tax return. In some situations, a person may have taken the steps to consolidate student loans and may look for other ways to save. Some possible ways to smartly use these funds include:

Pay Off Student Loans

Consolidating student loans does not mean that the loans are gone. They have simply been combined together to offer one payment and one interest rate. Student loans are often not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Additionally, consolidating student loans may eliminate payment alternatives such as a deferment or forbearance, so if you get into financial trouble, you may have fewer options when paying your student loans. You can take the extra funds from your tax return to completely pay off a portion of your student loans.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_debitor-creditor-bakruptcy-mlnariklaw.jpgCreditor-debtor rights disputes can place a small business in a precarious situation.

When the small business is in the position of the creditor, disputes with debtors can mean that the business is not able to obtain payment from the individuals and entities that owe the business money. When the small business is in the position of the debtor, the actions of creditors can deprive the small business of its monetary and other assets.

In either scenario, the small business owner may find it difficult – or impossible – to continue on with business operations. Small business owners can greatly benefit from knowing the rights they possess as creditors and debtors, and when a California small business attorney’s assistance is necessary.

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14

b2ap3_thumbnail_mlnarik-law-identity-theft.jpgYour identity is under constant assault. It could be by low-tech means such as stealing your mail or digging personal documents out of your trash. It could be by the more publicized means of cyber-attacks on your personal devices or the storage networks of people with whom you exchange your personal information. Either way, your personal information – your identity – is perpetually at risk. There are some defenses you can implement to slow or deter the attack, but unfortunately, today’s reality is that it isn’t so much a matter of if someone steals your identity, but when. Here are a few tips to help you deter the would-be imposters and what you can do once it inevitably happens to you.

Identity theft can destroy the socio-economic marvel you have worked so hard to become. With just a few pieces of your personal information, identity thieves can do any of the following:

  • Generate loans in your name that they have no intent of ever paying back because you are on the hook for default of repayment.
  • Transact money from your accounts or create new accounts in your name through which thieves filter money from other types of scams.
  • Become a defendant in a criminal or civil case in which they had used your identity to perpetrate a crime or fraud.
  • Max out and never make payments on credit cards issued to them based on your identity, leaving you on the hook for default payments and destroying your credit score.
  • Conduct electronic business as if they were you.

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to remain aware. Awareness is the key to all of your defenses:

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20

b2ap3_thumbnail_CFPB-building.jpgNavient, formerly party of Sallie Mae, Inc., has been sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). For years, Navient created obstacles to repayment by providing bad information, processing payments incorrectly, and failing to act when borrowers filed complaints. Because of their shortcuts and deception, the company also illegally cheated many struggling borrowers out of their rights to lower payments, which caused many borrowers to pay much more than required for their loans. The CFPB seeks to recover significant relief for the borrowers harmed by these illegal servicing failures. The lawsuit was filed on January 18, 2017.

Navient is the largest student loan servicer in the United States. It services the loans of more than 12 million borrowers, about half of which are serviced under Navient’s contract with the Department of Education. Altogether, it services more than $300 billion in federal and private student loans.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Navient failed to correctly apply borrower payments to their accounts; steered struggling borrowers toward paying more than they have to on loans; obscured information consumers needed to maintain their lower payments; deceived private student loan borrowers about requirements to release their co-signer from the loan; and harmed the credit of disabled borrowers, including severely injured borrowers.

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18

b2ap3_thumbnail_bankruptcy-button.jpgDebt collection companies are often given a specific protocol to follow when collecting debts. Their owners may set out specific rules for these transactions. Additionally, federal and state laws often impose additional requirements regarding the collection of debt.

Common Collection Procedure

When a debtor is delinquent on his or her account, the original creditor will attempt to collect the debt on its own. However, if the attempts go unanswered and the debtor does not respond by paying the bill in full, the creditor may submit the debt to a third party debt collector. When a creditor refers a debt to a third party collector, it usually does so by selling the debt to the third party collector for cents on the dollar. The debt collector becomes the new owner of the debt and receives the rights of the original creditor to the balance owed. In other situations, the original creditor remains the creditor and pays the debt collection company a portion of the amounts collected on delinquent accounts.

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9

Usually when someone receives dozens of phone calls at all hours of the day, all by the
 same person who also troubles the victim's family, friends and neighbors, we have a word for it: STALKER! And stalkers, as we all know, are criminals.

But suppose the same scenario applies with just one difference: the "stalker" is a debt collector. Most people would be much less likely to think of the behavior as criminal. But in a sense, it is. Maybe it's not as scary (except to your pocketbook), and maybe it's not as creepy (although often extremely creepy tactics ARE used), but it's every bit as illegal -- in that the debt collector can be hauled into court and face stiff penalties. However, it's not the police who do the job: If you're the victim, it's YOU. You can take action against the debt collector and, if you're successful, you can collect as much as $1,000.00 in fines and you can recover your attorney's fees and court costs -- all thanks to something called the FDCPA (here) and its cousin, the Rosenthal Act.

The list of debt collector no-no's is much too long to post here, but we can briefly mention the most typical abuses. If you notify them in writing to "cease further communication," their phone calls have to stop; the same goes if you tell them your attorney's name and that doesn't even have to be in writing!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_2012-New-Years-Resolution-150x150.jpgCelebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next is a blast!  I enjoy celebrating everything that has been accomplished and look forward to what lies ahead.  This year the top ten New Year resolutions look to be the same as last year's, and I can’t help but ponder a hypothesis.

As we compete to get ahead, people compromise what is most important to them in order to survive; and as the economy declines the sacrifices made become deeper as competition grows.  As the unemployment rate increases those who remain employed find themselves, paradoxically, sacrificing time with their families in order to support them; and sacrificing their own physical and psychological health in order to support themselves.

With 2012 an election year, we look to our leaders for guidance and ask what they will do to turn things around and put Americans back to work.  But without looking to our leaders for guidance, I focus on the people I see every day and change what I can and let go of what I can’t.

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