How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask HCLegal Your Own Question

HCLegal
HCLegal, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 423
Experience:  I have filed over a thousand bankruptcy cases.
64148031
Type Your Bankruptcy Law Question Here...
HCLegal is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Not really a bankruptcy question but I think you would know

Resolved Question:

Not really a bankruptcy question but I think you would know best about this. I have a friend, she is a single mother of two. Leads a very wholesome life and really excels as a parent. She maintains a clean home and provides very well for her children. She doesn't waste money, nor does she spend it on herself. She makes $8 an hour and has no other income. You can imagine how much extra money she would have. She cannot afford medical insurance for herself and has accrued some unpaid medical bills. I am currently trying to help her financially and help her budget. She will be receiving a tax refund in a few days. I suggested we attempt to at least pay some of those bills with the money, although she has other things she needs, tires for her car, etc. So, my question is which bills to pay. For example, one bill was for an emergency physician group. The date of service was 7/7/2010 in the amount of $539.00 and she received a Final Notice - Settlement Offer from an attorney on 3/10/2011 where they offered to reduce the payoff amount of $377.30. What this appears like to me is they may have bought the debt from the physician?? She has not received anything else from them. So, would this be the first or the last you would pay. To make it clear, they are all legitimate bills that should be paid, the truth is, they will not all get paid anytime soon. She has already been faced with one medical group refusing service until she paid an old debt to them. It took her 9 months to come up with the money but she did get them paid so she could get the necessary medical attention. So, that kind of bill, we want to pay off first. If we do not pay the first mentioned bill now, what can come of it in the future if they had bought the debt from the physician? Is it likely or unlikely this bill will show up again in the future or is it an indicator that they have basically given up on that one? There are a couple more from SLN collections for medical. Everything she has that is past due is medical. She doesn't charge up credit cards for unnecessary items like video games, etc. Everything she has that is past due is unexpected medical bills. Or, is it possible that we may contact all of them and see if they would settle for less if we paid them a lump sum? And is that smart or dumb to try that? Is there any risk in trying that?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  HCLegal replied 2 years ago.

HCLegal :

Hello and thank you for your question here on Just Answer.

HCLegal :

It seems like you are a great friend! I'm sure it cant be easy a single mother of 2 with that kind of income.

HCLegal :

Generally, medical bills are not going to file a lawsuit for something that small.

HCLegal :

They are debts that she should pay if she can.

HCLegal :

As far as if she should pay them now, that is a hard question to answer.

HCLegal :

I dont know how much her tax refund is going to be, nor do I know what other medical debts she has outstanding.

HCLegal :

Also, I do not know if she needs any of the tax refund money to pay her regular monthly living expenses.

HCLegal :

So I am going to make some assumptions, if you want to fill in some of the gaps that we can discuss how that would change what I am about to tell you.

HCLegal :

First, she needs to make sure that her and her kids basic living expenses are taken care of, if she is able to do that on her regular income then she can use the tax refund money to resolve some of the unpaid medical debts.

HCLegal :

Also, she should put aside an emergency fund of at least $1,000, this is in case something unexpected comes up and she needs the money, again its for EMERGENCIES.

HCLegal :

If she still has money left over after the setting aside money for her emergency fund the what I would do is take what ever money is left over and try to settle all of the past due medical debts with that money.

HCLegal :

For example.... if she has $2,000 left over from the tax refund and she has $10,000 in medical debts, if she split that money evenly among all the medical debts, each one would get 20% of the outstanding balance. I would then contact each medical debt creditor and offer then 20% as a lump sum settlement to settle the debt in full.

HCLegal :

Explain to them your friends situation, her income, single mom with 2 kids etc. If the creditor agrees then make sure they send you a letter stating they will take $XX.XX to settle the debt in full.

HCLegal :

Once you have the settlement letter, send them a cashiers check or money order along with a copy of the letter, be sure to send it overnight mail or some way that you can track and prove when they received it. Also make sure to keep a copy of the letter and payment for ever just in case someone tries to come back and make you pay more.

HCLegal :

A great resource for dealing with debts in general is Dave Ramsey. Just goole him and you will find him.

HCLegal :

Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification on any part of my answer.

HCLegal :

Thank you!

HCLegal :

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please do not forget to click ACCEPT, this is the only way that I will get credit for assisting you– I receive no credit for helping you unless you actually press ACCEPT, even if you already have a subscription. By pressing the ACCEPT you will not be charged any more money. If you need more information, please use the REPLY button and I’d be more than happy to answer to your satisfaction. There is no fee for follow up questions before or after accepting, if we continue the conversation.


 


If you feel that I went an extra step to help you, a bonus in the form of another accept or an “add on” (available after you accept) is truly appreciated.


 


Also if you could take a minute and leave feedback that is also greatly appreciated. If you would like to ask me a question in the future you can put “For HCLegal” at the beginning of your question and I will be alerted and will answer your question the next time I am online.


 

Customer:

She needs some things now, like tires, which are slick and unsafe but risking it. She does not make enough to save right now. I help her a little to keep her floating but I can't do much. I understand your response perfectly and I am debt free. I spend less than I make. The difference is, I don't have 2 small children anymore, mine are grown. There is little choice for her sometimes, she only spends on clothes, food, car, house, etc. I will take your advice on offering them a reduced amount. The only question I have is, will any of that debt disappear or will it all, always come up in the future? It seems to me the one bill mentioned, they have not contacted her in over a year, could it be they have given up or written it off? Or will every debt always haunt you in the future? Or is there any way to check that?

HCLegal :

If she needs the money for other things to survive then I would be hard to recommend settling with them.

HCLegal :

The statute of limitations in NC is 3 years.

HCLegal :

so if they do not sue her within 3 years they cannot legally do so and at that point there is nothing they can do to force her to pay anything.

HCLegal :

I would get new tires and take care of my survival first.

Customer:

Ok, I understand. There is a little money left after she buys tires. We still want to at least attempt to pay some. How will she know the difference in a collection letter and when she is actually being sued?

HCLegal :

You will know. When you are served someone will come and personally hand her a copy of the lawsuit and it will have instructions on it as to what to do.

HCLegal :

Sorry, when you are SUED someone will come...

HCLegal :

when they hand you a copy of the lawsuit, that is called being "served"

Customer:

Ok, thank you so much for your help. If we had a 20% settlement on everything, she would be very close to paying them all off with just what she has left after tires.

HCLegal, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 423
Experience: I have filed over a thousand bankruptcy cases.
HCLegal and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3203
    Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3203
    Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TL/tleeders/2012-6-13_204815_TSL1.64x64.jpg Terry L.'s Avatar

    Terry L.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2204
    Better Business Bur 15yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    950
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/cortrightlaw/2011-12-5_4117_Kevin.64x64.JPG cortrightlaw's Avatar

    cortrightlaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    490
    Attorney practicing Bankruptcy Law including Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/Jay1968/2006-12-03_004423_JoeRossPhoto.jpg JoeLawyer's Avatar

    JoeLawyer

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    376
    Attorney in the practice of Bankruptcy Law since 1996
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DY/Dylatess/2012-9-11_1968_BHBTemplePhoto.64x64.jpg dylatess's Avatar

    dylatess

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    370
    35 plus years of experience specializing in bankruptcy law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/US/USLawAnswers/2012-9-20_23143_20090105211638Headshot3b.64x64.jpg Brent Blanchard's Avatar

    Brent Blanchard

    Bankruptcy Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    315
    Twelve years experience in all aspects of debtor & creditor BK.