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 Legalease Your Own Question

Legalease
Legalease, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 14573
Experience:  14 years experience corps, LLC's and partnerships; preparation, negotiation of complex contracts and business agreements
20355756
Type Your Business Law Question Here...
Legalease is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have had an account with american express and paid the balance

Resolved Question:

I have had an account with american express and paid the balance in full each month for about 7 years. My husband had major heath issues, and in 2007 he was placed on disability. We lost all of our income except for his disability check which is $1,900. a month. We got 3 month behind on our account with AX, which was then turned over to American Recovery Services. I agreed to pay $300. a month, about 2 years ago, which was taken out of my checking account.I never missed a payment during that time. My husband now is suffering with heart problems and we moved from one city to another to be close to his doctors all staying within the state of Louisiana. I closed my checking account in which the AX payment was being made as a debt each month. Not intentional. When I realized i was 3 months behind i promptly sent a check to the collection agency, explaining the situation. I sent them a check for $1,000. in which they promptly cashed. At the time the check was cashed, in April, I received a letter from The Edward Bukaty Law Firm saying they had taken over the account, I needed to get in touch with them & I owed them the past due amount of $954. I ignored this letter, knowing the collection company received the payment, cashed the check & assumed my account was still with them, now in good standing. I believed the Law Firm letter crossed in the mail about the time the collection agency received my payment & cashed the check. On Friday, I received a Citation from a sheriff from the law firm stating I need to reply to them and the debt must be paid in 30 days. Clearly, I do not have the funds. I do want to continue making the payments of $300. until paid in full. Because of a financial hardship, and records of medical history along with hospital reports, should i hire an attorney to represent us?? Also, because the collection agency took the $1,000. check, when it was suppose to be turned over to the law firm, can i dispute that my account was paid and was brought up to current status with the collection agency, therefore the law firm can not take over the account?? As of today, when the citation was served, my account with the collection agency was paid in full. My next payment is due with the agency on May 15th. I owe AX about $22,000. The law firm has added on $8,000. to handle my account which now puts me at $30,000. What is my legal options?? Since the collection agency took my money, can I claim they still own my account??? I want to pay my bill each month. I do not have $30,000. sitting around. I do have documents of my husbands illness, and medical condition and confirmation he is on disability. I do not want a fight, I do not want out of paying my bill in full. I want to be responsible, but need advice on who owns the account, can it be transferd in mid stream, & if then law firm is involved, can I ask to continue my $300.00 payment to them??? Please advise me on how to handle this in a responsible way and one in which all involved will feel satisfied. Do I have any legal grounds with the collection agency since they cashed the check & my account is current, if so I would hire an attorney to represent me and make that request to keep it out of the Law Firms hands and save me $8,000. in their legal fees. That is what I would like to do if Louisiana law allows??? Your help is greatly appreciated. I feel I have been thrown in to the lion's den. Thank you Terri
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello there Teri -

-

Once an account is in default it is completely up to the creditor whether or not they want to permit you to make payments or if they want to turn it over to a law firm to try to place a lien on any property that you have and/or take the matter to court to see if the court can assist them to recover any assets that they believe you may have. There are no laws in LA or any other state that force the creditor to leave the case with the collection agency no matter how much you pay to them or when you pay it to them/ However, if your only income is disability payments each month and they come from social security or VA benefits, then even a court cannot attach those benefits and make you and your husband pay anything towards the bill. Under your circumstances it will not really give you any advantage to hire an attorney and will most likely just add to your expenses at this time. While a court can order you to make payments, if you receive SS or VA benefits the court cannot order any attachments and the most that the court can do is to order you to make a small payment every month within your means. Unfortunately, by the time it is finished because you agreed to pay court and attorney fees in your original agreement and the creditor chose that route of collection, the court will have no choice but to add that amount to the overall bill. My overall suggestion to you is to speak to a bankruptcy attorney in your area as soon as possible -- if your income is low enough (and it sounds to me like it is low enough) and you do not have significant assets, the bankruptcy court can completely wipe out all of your unsecured debts (which are generally credit card debts) and any outstanding medical bills that you may have. To locate a bankruptcy attorney you should contact your local Parish bar association -- they all have referral services and they will put you in contact with a few bankruptcy lawyers in your area and then you can speak to a few of them and go from there.

-

Please let me know if you have further questions.

-

MARY

-

Please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below. Pressing a positive rating below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It is true our monthly income is $1,900 in SS disability. However, we own our home in full and still own shares of Regions Financial. The shares are worth about $195,000. at $8.00 a share. Currently they pay .1c a dividend. Can the law firm take that money from us?? That is all we have if we needed to cash it out for emergency medical bills?? Would I have to disclose that?? Do I have to show that money, or can I request monthly payments??

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Terri -

-

A bankruptcy court would make you cash it out and pay all of your creditors. The only way you will get a chance at monthly payments is if you negotiate with the law firm and try not to disclose all of the assets -- so under those circumstances you may want to speak with a general practice attorney who handles creditors claims and see if the attorney can get them to agree to monthly payments without going to court. The assets in your case make all of the difference and in a regular court proceeding (if they sue you) or in a bankruptcy proceeding either court will make you disclose the assets and the regular court may make you cash it out to pay the creditor or at least a downpayment to the creditor -- but the bankruptcy court will definitely make you cash it out to pay all of your creditors. In your case, hiring an attorney may avoid all of this if you are able to keep it out of court. I wish I had better news for you on that and I do understand that it is unfair to make you cash these things out when you are willing to make payments -- but if they get any knowledge that you have any assets at all they can pursue the matter into court and make you cash out the assets to pay them before the assets are gone.

-

Please let me know if you have further questions

-

MARY

-

Please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below. Pressing a positive rating below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

Legalease, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 14573
Experience: 14 years experience corps, LLC's and partnerships; preparation, negotiation of complex contracts and business agreements
Legalease and 5 other Business 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:

 
 
 
  • Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1426
    20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1426
    20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DC/DCraneEsq/2012-8-14_14436_DCrane.64x64.jpg MShore Law's Avatar

    MShore Law

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1233
    Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1162
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1142
    Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ohioatty/2009-1-22_185545_me.jpg J.Hazelbaker's Avatar

    J.Hazelbaker

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    393
    Experienced and trained in the area of business law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg RGMacEsq's Avatar

    RGMacEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    393
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    301
    13 years practicing attorney, MBA
 
 
 

Related Business Law Questions