Category Archives: LegalandFinancialEducationAndProBonoAide

Public Financial Knowledge Infrastructure: Expired vs. Extinguished Debts

This is a topic I’ve written about before, but not in detail, as part of Project Do Better’s Phase I piece, Public Financial Knowledge Infrastructure.

In most states, expired is merely ‘unenforceable’ except that you have to defend by showing the court that the debt is expired. That is why so many suits (around 90%) win by default, as people rarely show up in court to defend, and so that expired debt then gets a loss by default, followed by a money judgement, often on expired, and thus Time-Barred, or, unenforceable or even

unvalidated debts, , past the SoL.

Unfair and injust, but frequent.

Two states do ‘extinguish’ the debts after some years (13 yrs, if I recall correctly, in the case of MS), but an expired debt is not extinguished, just legally unenforceable. The problem with that is the need to defend on the unenforceability. (Note that this should not be confused with the 7-year limit on credit reporting by CRAs…)

I find it incredibly obviously stacking the deck to require a defendant to appear in court just to say that the debt is expired, and so cannot be enforced! That is something that constituents can write to their state legislators about changing, and so I wrote a sample letter a few years ago, which should still be reasonably useful, I hope.


Some states now allow the fact that a debt is expired to be stated in ‘The Reply’ to the summons, btw, so that the case can be dismissed, due to clogged courts, but even in those jurisdictions, people have to know to do this, and most folks don’t know, which is addressed in Phase I’s Public Financial Knowledge Infrastructure section of Project Do Better:

“The Honorable Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
California House of Representatives
1350 Front Street
Suite 6022
San Diego, CA 92101
Tel: 619-338-8090
Fax: 619-338-8099

your name
address,
city, state zip
email
your phone

Dear Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher,

I would like to request a bill which would benefit California residents. The state of Maryland has recently passed a law prohibiting lawsuits on any debts which have passed the Statute of Limitation (https://www.dllr.state.md.us/finance/advisories/advisory-debtcol.pdf ). While California requires notification if a debt is expired, many debtors are not able to use that information. And while debt buyers are prohibited from suing on expired debts in California, original creditors are not. Many creditors, like exploitative landlords and lenders, never sell their debts, waiting years to sue, until details of the situation are less clear. Most lawsuits are won by default, even on invalid debts. The key injustice is that proportionately more poor debtors are sued than well-off debtors (due to the fact that the Statute of Limitation must be explicitly raised as a defense by the debtor in CA). Hence, growing numbers of illegitimate judgments against those who do not have either the time or the ability (due to illness, etc) to defend themselves. Debt, credit reporting, and court action can have a direct bearing on citizens’ abilities to access employment and housing. Disallowing suits on all expired debts could help correct this injustice.

Respectfully,
sig “

Shira

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Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira


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Update: Invisible Children vulnerable to invisible debts: Action Items to help

Update from Project Do Better (Phase I, Financial Self-defense…)

  1.   Identity theft precautions, 
  2.  Validation of a debt to ensure that it was actually contracted by the person being pursued by the collector

(many people receive bills for debts they don’t owe, ignore them, and then end up wrongfully sued and even hit with default judgments because they didn’t reply to the court summons, or demand that the collector validate the debt).

Orphans like Çilek deserve protection, especially if they cannot do magic to protect themselves!

(from free book Invisible Children, KARA:)

“In your Child Protection System is there a volunteer program from a local law school that assigns a volunteer attorney to an abused child? I’ve met some well- meaning and bright attorneys who genuinely care for their clients this way. If not, are there adequate public legal representation for abandoned children?”

Kids who grow up ‘invisible,’ especially those without stable and functional families who protect and give them middle class cultural capital, like dinner table discussion of financial laws and mutual funds, are especially vulnerable to predatory lenders and debt collectors.

Until there are enough pro bono lawyers giving free legal and financial clinics, the rest of us can help in these ways:

1.)  ask local community colleges to offer free legal and financial clinics on your state’s statutes of limitations, contract and debt related laws, and consumer protection laws.

2.)  ask your law-makers to prohibit law suits on expired (aka Time Barred) debts.

3.)   ask your law-makers to lower the Statutes of Limitations on verbal and written contracts, which are often how kids unknowingly get into debt and end up in collections.

4.)  Write your own story (or novel) showing a world where kids get the protection they need, in multiple ways…

Please share your ideas for increasing Legal and Financial Literacy and opportunity for ALL of us!

This post is dedicated to my Great Great grandparents Wayne Anthony, murdered for succeeding, and his wife Maude Eleanor West Manzilla, who never gave up her legal suit to clear his name of the suicide charge by the life insurance company, and worked valiantly to keep her family together. Their descendants continue their work.

Quotes for a related post came from a recent ProPublica article co-published with The New Yorker.

Let’s #EndPoverty, and #EndHomelessness,  starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

originally posted in September, 12020 HE

Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

B5, HakanMuhafiz/The ProtectorSihirli Annem, Lupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

           or Long Range Nonfiction, or Historical Fiction Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira


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Public Financial Knowledge Infrastructure: Is Your Debt Time-barred?

   This basic post is meant to be useful for anyone wishing to give a 5-minute seminar at the Metro/Trolley/Bus stop.
Please share widely.
Now that we know what a Statute of Limitations
is,  statutes-of-limitations and how to get the  information  on your debt, if it is Valid, you have the information that a legal expert needs to figure out if your debt is still enforceable in your state (or DC).
You should also look at your credit report, since debts are often listed by type there, as well.
1.  revolving  or open, is credit card;
2.  written contract is an apartment lease, for example;
3.  verbal contract;
4.  promissory notes.
        Again, many web sites list the various SoLs by state, but be sure to compare the SoL in your state with the online legal code of your state, and be sure that it is up to date (ask a law student if you are not sure, at a free legal clinic).
    Now that you have all of the dates from your last payment, check your state law to see how soon after that the SoL for that type of debt kicks in, and count the years.  If it is too old, then the debt is not enforceable, but you need to tell them that.  In writing.  There is a lot of advice online about this, but you probably want to get a Pro-Bono lawyer or law school student to help you, just to be sure.
   Remember to always respond to a letter about debt, after checking with a legal person.
Don’t wait  until_debt_tear_us_apart_28unsplash29
      More on getting our state legislators to change this situation in a couple of weeks.

Shira

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Shira

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Public Financial Knowledge Infrastructure: What is Validating a Debt?

    Here is another very basic post, meant to be useful for anyone wishing to give a 5-minute seminar at the Metro/Trolley/Bus stop.  Please feel free to print, handout, repost, and share widely.
statutes-of-limitations
   Last week, we defined the phrase Statute of Limitations for four types of debt.
    We mentioned that a crucial point to remember is that in most states, the clock can restart on an old debt if you promise to pay, or make even a token payment on an old or expired debt, which is why it is very important to be careful in dealing with debt collectors of any type, even if the debt has  been validated.
   Validated?
     Validating a debt is the process of sending you certain required information that proves you to be the person owing a certain debt.
    Federal law requires certain information, so be careful to get all of the details:  this site, for instance (unless I missed it in the fine print), neglects to mention the ‘tear-off’ that collectors must send you, right?
      Details matter.
     So, if you know someone being called by debt collectors, let that person know that they should ask, preferably in writing,  that the collector Validate the Alleged Debt.  Lots of sample debt validation letters are available online.
   Please share widely, and we’d love links here to some great sample letters you find or write!
      Using this information now, if your debt is valid, you can get help finding out if it is Time-barred, yet.  printable_yearly_2020_calendar
      More, after that, on how to help change this by mailing your state legislators in another week or so.

Shira

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Shira

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Public Financial Knowledge Infrastructure: What is an SoL?

    Since no one seems to be jumping up and down to get this part of the Project started, I am beginning with a very basic post, meant to be useful for anyone wishing to give a 5-minute seminar at the Metro/Trolley/Bus stop.
   SoL  ==  Statute of Limitations
   Statutes of Limitations are time limits on the enforcement of laws, basically.  The kinds of SoLs that Project Do Better focuses on, in Phase I, are those related to debt.  Every state has a different set of SoLs for each of the 4 kinds of debts:
  1.   revolving  or open, is credit card;
  2.   written contract;
  3.   verbal contract;
  4.   promissory notes
        Many web sites list the various SoLs by state, but be sure to compare the SoL in your state with the online legal code of your state.
  statutes-of-limitations
    Another crucial point to remember is that in most states, the clock can restart on an old debt if you promise to pay, or make even a token payment on an old or expired debt.  That is why it is very important to be careful in dealing with debt collectors of any type, even if the debt has  been validated.
  until_debt_tear_us_apart_28unsplash29
 And
a week or so after that…
  printable_yearly_2020_calendar
  And then, you can determine whether that debt, if valid, is time-barred.

Shira

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Shira

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Learning Empathy, on Day 23/67?

      My thoughts on  Day 23 of my 67 night-school class set of lesson plans for GED/HiSet learners, turn to wondering how to help build a kinder world, as Project Do Better works to do.
Featured Image -- 18378
    How, or what ideas do you have on this, could we help build more empathy into our society?
    Sorry, I am still really tired.
Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/Protector & Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Learning Kindness, on Day 22/67?

      My thoughts on  Day 22 of my 67 night-school class set of lesson plans for GED/HiSet learners, turn ton wondering how to help build a kinder world.
    How, or what ideas do you have on this, could we help build a kinder society?
    Sorry, I am so tired.
Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/Protector & Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira

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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Breaking Big Into Smaller, & Apples vs. Oranges on Day 20/67

      Three thoughts on  Day 20 of my 67 night-school class set of lesson plans for GED/HiSet learners.
1.)  Numbers matter, and numeracy matters:  understanding pattern and counting is part of understanding how to break down large numbers into smaller factors, and with it, large tasks into component tasks, while,
2.)  Breaking down a problem into it’s lower level items is also part of figuring out how to schedule a solution, like that of solving a problem of how to reply to a court summons by a debt collector…
3.)   Creating usable chunks also requires knowing how big each chunk really is, which in turn requires understanding how to see equivalent units, or how to convert

conversion chart
Eight different forms to express the equivalent quantity

every chunk into a comparable unit.

   With regard to the scheduling spreadsheet in the above Day 20 lesson of my plan set, that was only one way of ‘chunking down’ a large scale task.  I used my Hubris and Hemlock xls sheet because that was what came immediately to hand at the time, but any other large scale task will do.  I was surprised at how my students in DC liked it, so I used it again when I taught in California.

    I hope that the way I used my novel planning spreadsheet made sense.  I thought it might be a good follow-up to the ‘chunking’ instructions in the lesson plan.  I never felt like I had enough time to spend on creating the lessons to be able to cover all 5 GED/HiSET subject areas plus the test-taking skills we were required to teach, let alone my individual diploma equivalency student assignments, so it was frustrating trying to work in the life-skills that I felt were just as important to teach: there was so little time.

     The lack of time spent in school on crucial life-skills, like scheduling, budgeting, and learning where to find legal codes by state, is a serious problem for our society. That’s part of why I emphasize both ‘traditional’ education and the Adulthood Service Rite of Passage, as a form of an initiation that could help ensure that Serving Adults have those skills.

     I’m sure there are other ways that these goals could be achieved, if we wanted to, if we all put our minds to it in an empathetic way. So I’m hoping that what I am putting out here will both gel for some people, if it resonates with them, and also help produce compatible but different ideas, or ways to achieve the same goal. There are so many ways we could build a better world. I’d be happy for us to be working on any or all of them, as long as it was with genuine compassionate empathy and understanding.

    I look forward to your impressions, Thoughtful Readers.
Shira

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Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan: Muhafiz/Protector & Sihirli AnnemLupin, or La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Reviews

Holistic College Algebra & GED/High School Lesson Plans,

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about #ProjectDoBetter.

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS

Shira

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French Empathy Fridays, Connâitre ses Droits et éviter les Proces… Know Your Rights & Avoid Trial…

How can empathy help avoid trial?  By helping to make sure that everyone knows the basics of the legal system, their rights, and local facts about Pre-Trial Interventions/Diversions, for starters.

The common good, or the general welfare, is also tied up with Lupin (!), and with on-going legal & financial pro-bono education (aka Adulting Education), which must become more fully inclusive for all of us.

Click here for English…

“ -C’est quoi ça?
-Votre côte sur le marché de l’art: 11.000 euros”

Mais si Driss n’avait-t-il pas d’argent ? Et s’ils lui avaient arrêtaient dans la misère ? Aux États-Unis il y à une moyen d’éviter les procès mais qui coute cher, selon l’état dans on aura le procès. C’est mon espoir qu’on peut avoir des changements de cette politique, avec l’aide des citoyens Américains, et aussi ce de nos amis.

“ -What’s this?
-That’s what you’re worth on the art market: 11,000 Euros.”

But what about before Driss had that money? What if he’d been arrested utterly poor?

In many states, programs exist to help first time offenders avoid trial and charges. But, Pre-trial Diversion or Intervention programs, as they are known, are often unfair to the poor, as in MD and many other states: perpetrating the cruelty of charging money that some people simply do not have in order to avoid jail. My emphatic immediate-term policy recommendation is that all States emulate “Cook County … in Chicago, where defendants are not charged a fee ” for Pre-Trial service programs. And my long-term policy recommendation is that we strengthen our freely available legal services and Pro-Bono Legal Aide availability drastically, perhaps requiring ALL lawyers and law firms to offer 20% of their time or services free to lower income people, and that states and counties offer free continuing education in financial and consumer education, including the all too rarely taught rights in each state regarding debt, housing, health care and also criminal law. Both short-term and long-term approaches are needed, immediately.

Toward “…justice for all.”

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest
11 April, 12018 HE (Holocene/Human Era)

So, it turns out that knowing what bits of legal information change from state to state is also important, as is knowing that one must actively defend against an expired medical or other type of debt, even if it is time-barred (or past the SoL), illogical as that may seem…

Action Items:

1.) Share two different sources giving the different Statutes of Limitations (SoL) for your state, or District,

2.) Share your thoughts on how changing those SoLs might help, or hinder,  allowing people to climb out of debt,

3.) Write a book, story, blog post or tweet that uses that information and your thoughts. If you write a book, once published, please consider donating to your local public library.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind?

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B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector,  Lupin, or La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) reviews

Holistic High School Lessons,

           or Long Range Nonfiction, or Historical Fiction

Thoughtful Readers, if you are on Twitter, please consider following   #Project Do Better  on Twitter.

Shira

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Weeks, Forged Family, Aladdin, and Elisha?

    This is an update, for tonight’s holiday, my favorite, of studying overnight, with a link to the class I taught on it some years ago.  I forgot to mention that we read the Megillah of Ruth on this holiday, as well, with the famous story of Ruth and Naomi  becoming family, used by the Rabbis for the conversion process, and the idea of Na’aseh ve Nishmah by all of those who would ever accept the task of wrestling with the divine, and of Tikkun Olam, before the mountain, this day.

       As we come up to the holiday of שָׁבוּעוֹת Shavuot, shavuot_papercut_2  for the seven weeks, or 50 days counted down between Passover and Shavuot, we naturally think of the pleasures of staying up all night long to study languages, er, em, that is, to study Torah, in our Biblical languages of Hebrew and sometimes also Aramaic, with the occasional reference to another Semitic language like old Arabic, or Ugaritic, etc, for difficult words.

Great, so where do the loans come in, and what could the thief Aladdin and the prophet Elisha possibly have in common, apart from having spoken sister languages, you say.

Thank you! I am so glad you asked. It turns out that Aladdin and Elisha had quite a bit in common, being literary figures, young men of action, and you could even say financiers: they both gave Free Financial Assistance in their communities!

We know who and how Aladdin helped in stealing to survive, and in solidarity with other poor souls living in the streets. We also know how the prophet Elisha helped the widow by multiplying her oil and telling her to sell it, saving her and her sons from enslavement by their creditors. But how much better could it have been for both Aladdin, Elisha, and their communities , if crushing long-term debt didn’t exist in the first place? Isn’t that why we were commanded to release debts (and slaves) every seven years, and return property to original owners every 50 years?

This is where the Pro-bono legal aid, free debt and financial consumer education piece of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure is crucial. Knowing your rights and obligations is the first step toward taking responsibility for your own house, and then toward contributing to your community. Our financial and economic infrastructure must help create ways to rectify the structural biases inherent in our system, and encourage both individuals and communities to do the same. One tool for accomplishing this is debt-forgiveness, in circumstances of structural or personal inequity. Another tool is locally created currencies, such as Ithaca Hours or Time Banks. These are most effective when encouraged by local government as a supplement, or a means of complementing the existing federal currency. While local or community issued currencies are useful, they can be more useful in a society that has more fully included all of the population in the economic life of the community. For this reason, local currencies are more fully discussed in conjunction with Phase III of Project Do Better. These tools provide some short and long term solutions to problems that inhibit our democracy from building to full potential. Such solutions can further our ability to encourage every human being to live, contribute, and create to the fullest potential possible.

original version posted in May, 12020 HE

updated just a wee bit Erev Shavuot, 5782/12022 HE

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Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The ProtectorLupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic College Algebra & GED/HiSET Night School Lesson Plans,

           or My Nonfiction  & Historical Fiction Serial Writing

Thoughtful Readers, please consider reading about   #ProjectDoBetter

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil


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