Seniors and Bankruptcy

As people enter their senior years there are often physical, mental, and financial changes which accompany aging and their circumstances.  Often seniors are faced with costly and unexpected medical expenses such as long-term care, which they find difficult to pay for from their limited incomes.  These expenses combined with the other bills of their household can leave many seniors in the position of being unable to get out from under increasing debt.  For those seniors in this situation, bankruptcy can offer relief from debt and the possibility of a new beginning for their retirement years.

Seniors who are in the position of considering bankruptcy are often those that have incurred unexpected medical bills.  Very few people are prepared for the medical complications which often accompany aging.  As such, when a person suffers a catastrophic illness or their health rapidly and severely deteriorates, the expenses associated with their care can quickly escalate well past their income.   This same group may turn to their credit cards as a means to pay for their medical bills.  As a result, these seniors find themselves falling deeper and deeper into high-interest debt with no means to get out.  Fortunately, in most cases, medical and credit card debt can be discharged in bankruptcy.  Therefore, for struggling seniors, bankruptcy can provide them with a way out of this endless cycle.

One concern that seniors thinking about filing for bankruptcy may have is how their social security and retirement accounts will be affected.  The good news is that, in most cases, a person’s social security pension benefit and qualified retirement accounts are considered exempt property.  What this means is that the bankruptcy will not include your retirement account and therefore creditors will not be able to access these funds to pay your debt.  This leaves the retirement account holder in the position of being able to discharge their eligible debts in bankruptcy while still being able to have their retirement income.

Another consideration that seniors may have is how their credit score will be impacted by their bankruptcy.  One of the main benefits to seniors is that during this phase of their lives, acquiring new major assets is not ordinarily a priority.  Therefore, while their credit score may be impacted by their bankruptcy, there may not be much in terms of a measurable effect on their circumstances.

In sum, bankruptcy may be a good option for seniors who are struggling to make ends meet during their retirement years. However, considering bankruptcy is an important decision which should be looked at carefully in view of your situation.  We have the knowledge and experience you need to help you understand your choices and determine the option which best suits your needs. Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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