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When Should Senior Citizens Consider Filing for Bankruptcy?Senior citizens who are in debt may look at bankruptcy differently than someone younger. Their incomes are often lower than when they were working, making it more difficult to pay their debts on their own. They may also have a lot to lose if a creditor obtains a judgment against them and they have accumulated valuable assets during their lives. Bankruptcy may not be right or necessary for every senior who is struggling with debt, but many seniors could benefit from the process. If you are a senior citizen, here are three situations in which you should strongly consider filing for bankruptcy:

  1. Your Medical Bills Are Piling Up: It is an unavoidable fact that your medical expenses will increase as you get older. You will have more visits to the doctor to monitor your health and are at greater risk of needing an expensive medical procedure or your monthly medications are incredibly expensive. A run of bad luck with your health can leave you with outrageous medical bills that your health insurance does not completely cover. By filing for bankruptcy, you can potentially discharge those bills in a matter of months or enter a manageable repayment plan.
  2. You Are Still Working: Some seniors continue to work beyond the age that they expected to retire, usually because they need the income. Others start a second career at a new job to keep themselves busy after retirement. If your creditors receive a judgment from a court, the creditors can obtain writs of attachment and begin seizing assets as one of their means of enforcement. They cannot take from your social security money or retirement benefits that you have not withdrawn, but they can take from the income you are earning at your job. Filing for bankruptcy will put an automatic stay on collection activities.
  3. You Have Valuable Assets You Need to Protect: Seniors often have a large amount of equity in their homes and vehicles. If you are at risk of defaulting on your home mortgage or vehicle loan, bankruptcy can protect your equity in those properties. Texas’s homestead exemption allows you to exempt your total equity in your home during bankruptcy. Texas’s motor vehicle exemption allows you to exempt one vehicle per licensed member of your household or a vehicle used to transport an unlicensed household member. The second part of the vehicle exemption is relevant for seniors who are no longer allowed to drive but still own a vehicle.

Contact a Frisco Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is an important decision that you should discuss with a professional. A Denton County bankruptcy lawyer at The Page Law Firm can advise you on whether bankruptcy would be useful in your situation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 214-618-2101.

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Senior Can Use Bankruptcy to Protect Assets from CreditorsDebt has become an increasing problem for senior citizens, who do not have the same income stream to keep up with their payments as they did when they were still working. Several factors are contributing to the rise of senior debt, including:

  • Increasing health care costs;
  • Social security no longer being sufficient income to meet daily, necessary expenses; and
  • Retirement accounts depleted by the recent recession.

Your debts can pile up because of your reduced retirement income and increased need for doctor visits and medical treatments. Rather than depleting your retirement savings to pay off your debts, you should see whether filing for bankruptcy may help. Bankruptcy laws protect many of the assets that senior citizens need. 

Social Security

Your Social Security benefits during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case are protected from your creditors, as long as you keep that money separate from other funds. Social Security money is vulnerable to a bank levy if it is co-mingled with other money in a bank account. This includes mixing it with money you receive from your retirement accounts. The best way to avoid this is to create a separate bank account for your Social Security income. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Social Security benefits you receive each month are not considered part of your income used to determine your repayment plan.

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National Association of Consumer Bancruptcy Attorneys State Bar of Texas
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