2020 Best Invention
Attorney William A. McCarthy

Attorney William A. McCarthy

Tax Attorney (ret.)

William (Bill) started his legal career with a small firm in Southern California where he handled real estate matters, corporate acquisitions, and tax planning. After a few years, he decided on a different career path and took a job with the Office of Chief Counsel, a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department which primarily advises the Internal Revenue Service. In that role, he handled bankruptcy cases, approved tax payment plans (learning a lot about financial hardship), litigated numerous cases, advised agents, managed a team of attorneys, and instructed numerous courses. Throughout his work with the Treasury Department, he had a strong passion for helping others and writing. He received a national mentoring award for training junior attorneys along the way. Throughout his tenure with Treasury, he enjoyed writing papers (briefs, advisory opinions, guidance projects, etc.) with an eye towards simplifying the complex and providing clear and useful guidance. After roughly 30 years with the Treasury Department, his passion for writing and helping others ultimately led him to pursue a second career in legal writing.


All ArticlesConsumer RightsCredit IssuesDebtsEmploymentHousing

Articles written by Attorney William A. McCarthy

How an FHA Loan Can Help You Avoid Foreclosure

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated December 31, 2021

Borrowers who don’t have a 20% down payment or have a low credit score can get a loan backed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). FHA loans are especially good at helping borrowers avoid foreclosure. They provide multiple options to help you keep your home if you default on your payments.

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What Can (and Can’t) Mortgage Servicers Do?

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated November 26, 2021

After borrowers get mortgage loans with a lender, the loans are often transferred or sold to a mortgage servicer who manages the loan. Your servicer is often not the bank that loaned you the money. Mortgage servicers have to follow federal rules relating to payment processing, information requests, late payments, and loss mitigation. These rules help protect borrowers from foreclosure. Sometimes servicers make costly mistakes, so it’s good to know what these rules are and how to find and address errors.

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What Happens if You Don’t Pay a Payday Loan?

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated November 19, 2021

Payday loans are easy to get and don’t usually require a credit check. But they have very high interest charges, which makes them difficult to repay. This can lead to a cycle of more and more debt. If you don’t repay the loans on time, you’ll face aggressive collection methods, additional fees, a potential court judgment, and damage to your credit score.

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Understanding the CAIVRS Federal Database

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated November 17, 2021

If you’ve been delinquent in repaying or defaulted on a federal debt, that information is stored in a database known as CAIVRS. This allows federal agencies to share information about your credit history, and lenders use it to determine your creditworthiness. Six federal agencies report information to the database. If you’ve defaulted with any of these six agencies and they report it, you’ll likely be denied if you apply for another government-backed loan. Not all federal loan defaults are in the database. Sometimes the information in the database isn’t accurate, but you should be able to clean it up.

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Lis Pendens Foreclosure: When Is It Used & How Does It Work?

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated November 11, 2021

Lis pendens is a notice lenders use when they initiate a foreclosure sale. It puts the public on notice that a lawsuit is pending and clouds the title so the property can’t easily be sold. Lenders commonly record a lis pendens when they file a foreclosure lawsuit. You'll need to know how to respond to this notice to save your home from foreclosure.

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Provisions of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated November 9, 2021

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR) helps homeowners who are facing a foreclosure sale and was passed to make sure homeowners know they have alternatives to a forced sale of their home and what those alternatives are. This article describes what the California Homeowner Bill of Rights is and how it can protect you from losing your home.

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Understanding a Bank Levy and What You Can Do About It

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated October 24, 2021

If a creditor can establish that you have an unpaid debt, they may be able to use a collection action called a bank levy. This allows them to seize the funds you owe directly from your bank account. Most creditors will have to jump through some legal hoops to do this, but some government agencies don’t need to go to court before levying your bank account.

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The Pros and Cons of Debt Consolidation

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated October 20, 2021

Debt consolidation is a popular option for fixing your credit problems because it lowers the payment of one large, monthly bill. If your current debt repayment plan isn't working for you, read our pros and cons of debt consolidation to help you decide if this option could be right for you.

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1099 Income & Unemployment

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated October 12, 2021

Self-employed workers include independent contractors, contract workers, freelancers, and gig workers. These workers should receive a Form 1099 for the income they earn. Anyone who files for unemployment benefits needs to report their earnings, including any earnings on a 1099.

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Comparing Recourse and Non-Recourse Mortgage Loans

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated October 6, 2021

Are your assets at risk when you enter into a mortgage to buy a home? If your loan is a recourse loan, the bank can take the collateral used to secure the loan (the real estate, for example) as well as your assets if you default on the loan. If your mortgage is a non-recourse loan, the bank is limited to the collateral used to secure the loan. Each type of loan is unique and understanding the difference can help you find the right loan and save you a lot of money.

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Should You Take A Lower Paying Job While On Unemployment?

Written by Attorney William A. McCarthy
Updated September 22, 2021

If you’re receiving unemployment benefits, you generally need to be actively looking for work and accept “suitable work” when it is offered. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to accept any job offer, such as one paying less than you were making. Each state establishes its own definition regarding which jobs are suitable and must be accepted by a claimant (or they risk losing benefits). This article will discuss some of the factors that state guidelines take into consideration as well as some that might be unique to your situation.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.