The Need-to-Knows of Debt Collection
Q & A:
How can the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protect my rights?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is an act designed to stop debt collectors from using any abusive, disruptive, and deceptive debt collection practices against you to collect an outstanding debt. The FDCPA places limitations on when and how many times debt collectors can call, what they can and cannot say to you, and how they may pursue a debt against you. The FDCPA also provides protections to consumers, including allowing you to require debt collectors to valid any debt against you or have your attorneys’ fees paid for by the debtor in a lawsuit in you are successful.
What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act and how can it protect me?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is another federal act which regulates how consumer reporting agencies can collect, use, and disseminate your information. It is particularly designed to restrict who has access to your sensitive credit information and ultimately how that sensitive information can be used. The FCRA also allows you to report inaccuracies and get that information corrected or deleted.
What does the Fair Credit Billing Act do and why is it important?
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is actually an amendment to the Truth in Lending Act. It is designed to protect consumers from unfair billing practices and provides ways for consumers to correct errors in the billing of credit accounts, such as credit cards. It also regulates the conduct of creditors by setting forth timetables for issuing billing statements, handling delinquent payments, and prohibiting bank conduct from using your money deposited there to satisfy delinquent credit payment.
Do the laws differ from state to state in the United States?
The FDCPA, FCRA, and FCBA are all federal laws which apply throughout the United States. Additionally, Oklahoma and Texas have enacted their own consumer rights and protection laws. Other states which have their own debt collection laws include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington D.C.
Useful Links and Websites:
Relevant Cases and Statutes
The Need-to-Knows of Estate Planning
Q & A:
What happens if someone dies without a will?
State law uses a default plan of distribution for anyone who dies without a will. Assets will be divided and distributed to heirs, as they are determined by state law. It is important to note that the “heirs” may not be the same people that the family considers to be the deceased's heirs. Rather, the Probate Code lays out a very specific method for determining the identity of heirs and also the shares of the estate that each heir is entitled to share. Typically, the spouse and children of the person who died inherit the property. If there is no spouse and no children, the decedent’s parents take the property, followed by siblings, grandparents, and children of the grandparents. If no relative can be found, the property eventually belongs to the state.
Are family members liable for the debts of someone who has passed away?
When someone dies, any creditors that he may have at the time of death are entitled to recover their debt only against the assets owned by the deceased at the time of his death. Other family members are not liable to have to pay any debts of the deceased. If his assets are insufficient to pay all of the debts, any unpaid debts will be cancelled by the creditor.
Does Oklahoma collect an estate or inheritance tax?
No, currently Oklahoma does not collect an estate or inheritance tax at the state level. (There is a Federal estate tax for estates valued over a certain amount). The Oklahoma estate tax system has been permanently repealed for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2010.
Does Texas collect an estate or inheritance tax?
No, Texas does not collect an estate or inheritance tax but there is a federal estate tax for estates valued over a certain amount.
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Advance Directives and Advance Medical Care Planning