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Leaving country. Need help on settlement plan for $130k

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Have $130k divided between BOA $25k, Chase $28k, Wells Fargo$9k, Fifth Third $11k, Barclay $7k, Cap one $5k, Amex $30k, student $20k


Leaving country in a couple months, can't afford living in US unless I convert my primary to a rental, makes more sense to leave to stay with family and friends in Europe. I'm still current but will stop paying in about 6 months. I have assets, 3 houses. One if I could sell now, probably about $50k in pocket. The other 2 are worth nothing because I bought them over past 2 years, would lose money on sale. Will continue to collect rent while out of country, but otherwise have no job. Will be staying in cheap countries to live off the rental income and be able to save about $1k a month to use towards settlements later. In the middle of FMLA retaliation lawsuit, hoping for $50-100k settlement and will also use that for settling these cards. That won't be done for another year probably.


Right now all debt is 0% APR, so it's affordable, that's why I will stop paying in 6 months. They'll balloon by then and I simply just won't be able to pay the monthly minimums.


What do I do? Change my address on all my accounts and let them know I'm out of country?


When I stop paying do I stop all communication? Do I tell them I can't afford it or just say nothing until settlements come in? Do I tell them I couldn't afford it anymore so left the country? 


Does being out of the country affect the timeline of anything. Will they wait longer before suing? Do they completely pause things? Or will they sue sooner? Should I tell them I lost my job and am in a lawsuit?


My goal is to just settle for as low as possible, which would mean dragging it out as long as possible without getting sued. I don't plan to wait out the SOL, as I think my balances are too high and I would prefer to pay what I can to get them out of the way. I won't need credit again, I don't foresee. So fine with ruining credit, I already have 3 houses.

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Adding a couple specific questions onto this.


  1. How long would an attorney be able to drag out having to go to a court date once I get sued? The idea here being to get more time to stockpile more money to offer settlements and to buy time until my lawsuit settles. I've read excusable neglect of something like, travelling, you'd have 6 months to overturn even a default judgement.

  2. Is a lien awarded on the court date for the suit? If not, when is the lien placed. Is a lien put on my property with equity or all properties? Do they only get to choose one property?

  3. Do creditors force selling of home as soon as they get a lien if there is positive equity? Would they typically let it sit with someone in my situation?

  4. When there is a lien on a property and the creditor would decide to force sale, how long does it take to force sale of the home?

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1. Leaving the country would "toll" the SoL. That means the clock stops until you return to the US (if you ever do). At least in your new country you would be re-establishing credit under that nation's credit system, though you might find it tough sledding with banks with worldwide services such as Barclays and American Express.


2. So you're saying in this "hot" real estate market, you're underwater on two of three properties? How would you collect rent and manage tenants while out of the country?


3. Are you planning to return to the US for the hearings on your FMLA lawsuit? Remember attorneys are skilled at looking for information. If you tell creditors you're absconding and leaving your bills behind that's an invitation for a lawsuit against you. Since you do own real estate, a lawsuit and judgement would lead to a debtor's exam - and they'll find out about your rental income. Guess what? The creditors will lien those properties and if they find it worth their time they can take action to secure their position - including foreclosing on the properties.

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Yes I did lose my job, about a year ago. That's why the debts have gone up and savings down. I've been searching for a year and no luck. Niche industry with non-transferable skills.


To clarify some points IndyPoolPlayer.


  1. I'm not looking to run out the SOL. I'm not looking to get out of the debts entirely either. I want to settle them and use the money from my lawsuit to also help with that. Even if I were to get another job that paid the same, it would take me several years to get out of that much CC debt. But at this point in time it makes more sense to get out before things get worse if I can't get a job.
  2. I'm not underwater, I'm even but the sellers fees would sell for a loss. I literally bought the houses right before I lost my job and 1 year before that, so they've only been appreciating for 1 year and 2 years and I only had 3.5% down on them. Yes, I overextended myself.
  3. My lawyer said I don't have to be at the trial if it gets to that and he can be there. Speaking to your other points, I did add more questions but they weren't approved until after you posted your reply. I'm aware of the liens and what not. I wasn't sure the best approach to drag things out until I can save enough money from stopping the monthly payments and getting my lawsuit settlement. I'm not sure how a creditor would react to me telling them "So I'm about to not be able to pay, but I should be getting a settlement soon." If that means automatic lawsuit or they would want to work with that.
Edited by ziasquinn
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I'm going to talk to an estate attorney this coming week and see what they say. There might be some way to protect the houses in a company, from what I've read. If that's possible it would delay the lawsuits since I wouldn't have assets anymore and then I can settle on a slower path. I've of course already talked to a few bankruptcy attorneys and bankruptcy isn't an option yet.


Would still love to hear any input.

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You're not the first person to leave the jurisdiction of the USA and leave debts behind. So don't be surprised once creditors find out you've left or are leaving the country to get antsy. Creditors will see you as just another debtor who skipped the country to avoid their debts. Its just business after all.


Your mortgage company would have the say on how the properties are titled. There's always an option to put the real estate into trusts but mortgage companies tend to not like that. Your real estate attorney would be a good resource on options for that.

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So IndyPoolPlayer, you're saying that being out of the country will not help me settle more easily? You say antsy, but is that a good or bad antsy? I imagine if I'm leaving country they would be more willing to settle for less since they couldn't do anything to me (if they can't lien the properties of course)


Well Hegemony, bankruptcy now does a few things to the best of my knowledge. I lose a primary source of income and my house with equity in it. I would be better off selling the house myself using the lump of money to live on and dealing with creditors as they come if I can even average 50 cents on the dollar, which is way higher than I am hoping for (or maybe they won't settle because of my 2 other houses, even though there is no equity on them?? I don't know) OR even using the lump money from the sale to continue paying the debts as normal until I get a job or my medical lawsuit pays out. Bankruptcy now also means the trustee will try to settle my medical lawsuit for much much less to try and get my debtor's paid, this is what my employment and bankruptcy lawyers said. and to top it all off, if I do come back to America I'm opening myself to other liabilities. I have a heart attack or get in a car wreck and get sued? Now I'm stuck with a ton of debt I can't bankrupt out of. I also have student loans I cannot bankrupt out of. So to me it makes sense to hold off on bankruptcy. I'm still in my 20's, it makes sense to try and do what I can even if it's riskier, I can always go bankrupt later.


Bankruptcy now basically does not give me a fresh start since I lose income and keep my student debt as well as since I won't have another job and I don't know when that will happen. It puts me back into another bad spot since I will no longer have money to pay for my living expenses until I get a job (even living in a poor country)

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Could you elaborate on what protections would make sense for me in my circumstances? I'm having a hard time seeing the advantages compared to other avenues. Thank you!


My thought is absolute worse case scenario, if I can keep my properties and get the settlement I can still settle my debts in full if I can just wait it out for a couple years or if even that doesn't pan out I can BK later too. I talked with an estate attorney today and they said even with a judgement lien, creditors don't really force foreclosure in this state at least.

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even if you sell the house that has equity you're no where near paying off your credit card debt.


put all liabilities on one side of a ledger, assets on the other... without a real income you are BK already.


and the this rate of "save about $1k a month to use towards settlements later" will take years for you to accumulate enough to settle the debts.


BK protects you from creditors in a very specific way regarding the unsecured debts. For the secured liabilities, talk to a BK atty from your state. Do you really want to keep these three properties? if so, why?



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Not right now, no. But in a year or two with the savings from stop paying and my lawsuit settlement and current existing cash I should be able to hit a fair amount of the settlements (even if I don't take into account my incoming settlement, I can still hit all the debt if I sell mortgage #1). If I sell and am able to settle for 50% on all the debts, I'll be in the clear and can afford it. This is why my initial question asked about dragging things out.


Only secured liability is my student loan and bankruptcy attorney said it would stay.


I want to keep the properties because they are good income earners not to mention initial investment. Boarding houses, so income is way higher. mortgage 3 only gets $1400 because of 2 current roommates. Have to wait till I move to fill the other 2 rooms to bring up to $2800. Maybe I'm being narrow sighted or trying to hold onto them too hard, but it makes sense to keep, no? Leftover money is $2150 and $1535 of that goes towards CC leaving me with $600 to live with a month. Soon as my APR's are up it adds another $1800 onto it which is when I'm in the red. Even factoring taxes and repairs, seems like not a good idea to throw away that passive income if possible even if I get lien'd on. 


name income name expenses
    Lawn 1 100
    Lawn 2 100
    utilities 1,500
mortgage 1 3,135 mortgage 1 2,100
mortgage 2 4,050 mortgage 2 2,200
mortgage 3 2800 mortgage 3 1,900


From what I understand tho it seems like you think I won't be able to negotiate on my debts at all or that I will get sued as soon as it's CO'd? From there does it really matter tho if they don't force foreclosure? The lien will just sit while I continue to build equity and the passive income and be able to pay the lien off later when I get into a better situation. Of course I could be wrong, I am going off assumptions and I don't know how it works having so many different debtors. Maybe they try to foreclose on me as soon as it's CO'd, I'm not sure that's why I'm here trying to see how I might be wrong. Thank you for your response, I look forward to your thoughts on this information.

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On 11/18/2019 at 9:12 AM, ziasquinn said:

So IndyPoolPlayer, you're saying that being out of the country will not help me settle more easily? You say antsy, but is that a good or bad antsy?

No. And its a bad antsy from your point of view. As I previously stated, creditors will see you as just another debtor who skipped the country to avoid their debts. Your real estate holdings are at risk in this scenario if you are hit with a judgement for the liabilities. Short of a BK, that's exactly what will happen whether you're here or not - and once they catch wind of you packing up you'll get served.

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