Since 1990, there has been a dramatic increase in the rate at which older Americans file bankruptcy. One study indicates that the percentage of elderly filers has gone from 2.1 percent in 1991 to 12.2 percent in 2018.
The cause of this increase in filings seem to come from increased medical expenses, too little in savings, and a lack of funds set aside in retirement. Another cause of financial distress is that people have longer waits to be able to partake of full Social Security benefits. As well, most employers have switched from mandatory pension plans to voluntary 401(k) type of retirement plans and thus, fewer people have any retirement savings. In addition, out-of-pocket spending on health care is reported to now consume approximately 41 percent of the average Social Security check.
Another cause of financial distress comes from helping out other family members who need money. This could be parents, children, siblings, etc. About 1/3 of people who file bankruptcy state that helping other family members by either giving them money or cosigning loans for them has caused them to file bankruptcy.
If you have not encountered any of these issues in your own life, that is great. You should make plans to keep yourself out of harm’s way. If you have fallen prey to any of these issues, there is help for you. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy offer you a way to overcome this mountain of debt. Depending on your income and your assets, you may be able to file Chapter 7 where you are not required to enter into any sort of repayment plan to your creditors. The general unsecured debts are simply discharged. Again, this will depend on your specific situation and you need to meet with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you qualify. If not, Chapter 13 is a good alternative where you can pay some percentage back to your creditors over a 3 to 5 year plan. Either way, the remaining unsecured debts are discharged at the end of the plan with the exception of items such as child support, governmental fines and taxes.
Once you file bankruptcy, your creditors are prohibited from collecting against you in any way. They are not allowed to call you, send you letters, file or proceed with any lawsuits or judgments against you, etc.
Please give me a call at 281-847-4345. I’ll be happy to sit down with you for a free, no obligation consultation to evaluate your situation and inform you of your different options on taking care of your debt through bankruptcy. You can also send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Rod S. Kemsley
KEMSLEY LAW FIRM, P.L.L.C.
Attorneys & Counselors at Law
505 N. Sam Houston Parkway E., Suite 400
Houston, Texas 77060