Review Student Loan Contract

If you have been sued on a student loan debt make sure you review your student loan contract before assuming the bank is right. A client recently came to me who was sued on a student loan debt she co-signed for an ex-husband. She believed she was responsible for the debt and really just wanted me to settle it for her and make it go away. However, when we took a look at the student loan contract some problems with the bank’s claim were apparent:

 

  1. A student loan debt is a consumer debt requiring notice to the consumer when it is assigned to a new creditor. This notice never happened and without it the lender did not have standing to sue my client;
  2. The terms of the “Application/Agreement” the client signed believing she was responsible for the debt were not identical to the terms of the ultimate loan; raising the argument that no contract was formed as their could have been no meeting of the minds;
  3. An assignment of a student loan must have be in writing and, in this case, it was not attached to the Complaint. Without the assignment the bank could not sustain its claim;
  4. The Complaint did not specify when the last payment on the loan was made invoking a potential statute of limitations defense.

While the case was dismissed voluntarily by the bank prior to our Motion to Dismiss being heard and before trial, we were able to create enough concern that the bank did not think it was worth the fight. Instead of negotiating with the bank to pay the loan my client paid nothing; simply because she came in and had an attorney review the contract. If you are faced with a lawsuit to collect on a student loan or any other debt do not assume the bank or lender has what it takes to win the case. Assess your chances of winning early on make a plan. Jacksonville’s debt relief law firm, Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. is here to assist you and answer any questions you may have. We are no further away than your telephone or computer. Please contact us today.

Student Loans After Death

Will your family be responsible for your student loans after death in Florida? The answer this questions is generally NO, your family will not be responsible for your loans but it is a bit more complicated than that.

Federal Student Loans

All federal student loans subsidized by the federal government are forgiven at death. This means that your spouse, your family and your probate estate will not be responsible for your federal student loan debt upon your death.

Private Student Loans

If you are have private student loans not backed by the federal government your loan agreement or lender’s policy may not automatically forgive the debt upon your death. This means that your student loan lender may, make a claim against your estate to satisfy the debt. The good news is with proper estate planning all or most of your assets will pass to your spouse or your family outside of your probate estate and the student loan lender will be left with nothing to collect. If you have a life insurance policy that pays out upon your death your named beneficiary on the policy will receive the proceeds outside of your probate and will not be subject to a lender’s claim. In Florida, as long as your spouse is not a co-signer on student loan debt they will not be personally responsible for the debt.

Co-Signers

If you are or have co-signers on your student loans they will remain liable after your death. One way to avoid this risk is to obtain life insurance on yourself, and the co-signer if you choose, to pay off the debt upon their death. Term life insurance policies are generally affordable, costing $100 or so a month, and may give your co-signer peace of mind should you die before paying off you student loans.

If you have questions regarding your student loan debt or structuring your estate to protect your love ones should you pass prematurely, please contact Jacksonville’s debt relief lawyer, Matthew C. Bothwell, Esq. We are here to help.