In today’s tough economic times, our golden years may not be as golden as once thought. Many seniors (individuals 60 years or older) entering retirement find their income reduced and expenses on the rise. Do you have mounting medical bills, massive credit card debt or both? Consult a bankruptcy law specialist like Sawin & Shea to get help today.
What Are the Leading Factors Behind the Rise in Elderly Bankruptcy Filings?
- Healthcare costs – Many of our aging citizens cannot afford the medical expenses that fall outside of their Medicare or Medicaid policies. Prescriptions and long-term treatments often deplete their savings, leaving them to rely on credit cards to cover bills.
- Disability – Some seniors plan to work as long as possible. If illness or injury sidelines them, many do not have the financial resources to pay their monthly expenses.
- Fixed Incomes – Payouts from pensions and Social Security are no longer enough to cover basic living expenses. An increasing number of senior citizens frequently rely on credit cards to cover unexpected expenses. Paying down these debts becomes almost impossible.
- Scams – The elderly are often prime targets for criminals. Today’s sophisticated scam artists can easily bilk older individuals out of their entire life savings. The shame of being duped keeps many seniors from seeking help sooner.
Is Bankruptcy the Best Option for Someone with Ongoing Medical Expenses?
Bankruptcy generally eliminates the debt you owe at the time of filing. We do have options to offer more long-term protection while keeping the old bills off your back. To make sure you get the full benefit of a bankruptcy discharge, consult a bankruptcy attorney and determine the best course of action for an ongoing medical issue.
Will I Lose My Home if I File?
If you are filing Chapter 7, we can help each person keep a certain amount of equity in residential real estate. If you have more equity in your real property than the exemption allows, a Chapter 7 Trustee may be able to sell your house tand pay your creditors back some of what they are owed. Indiana allows you to keep up to $19,300 in equity for an individual and $38,600 if you are married and filing jointly. There is a special exemption for real property held by a married couple that can increase these exemptions in some circumstances. If you are in danger of losing your real estate in a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, an experienced Indiana bankruptcy attorney can provide you with options to protect the property.
Can I Save My Retirement Accounts?
Your money must be in a valid retirement account for it to be considered exempt. Most tax-deferred retirement accounts like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, and Roth IRAs) are excluded from seizure in an Indiana bankruptcy.
Will I Lose My Social Security Checks?
No, you will not lose your Social Security checks. Federal law protects senior citizens from losing this stipend. To file for Chapter 7, you must pass a bankruptcy means test. It compares your annual income and expenses with guidelines set forth by the courts. Social Security payments are not factored into your total income for this test.
Is Chapter 7 the Best Bankruptcy Solution for a Senior Citizen?
If you are on a limited income and repayment of your debts is not feasible, Chapter 7 may be your best bet. Elderly individuals who cannot file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for some reason may choose to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy professionals like those at Sawin & Shea can help you determine which option is best for you.
Sawin & Shea – Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys
Right now, there are ways to eliminate the debt weighing you down in your golden years. The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea have years of experience representing good people in bad financial situations. Please do not hesitate to call us today at 317-759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation. We are ready to help.