As a senior, you may encounter large unexpected medical bills and feel like you may have to file bankruptcy to manage the daily collection calls and the amount of debt you have acquired. This can be compounded by a fixed income or that family members are their best means of support. The frustrating part behind bankruptcy and senior citizens is that after a life time of work and commitment debts can stack up and be more than a normal person can handle. Although senior citizens may have some advantages over other other people filing its not always the case There are some situations where filing is not always the best option for you.
Should I File For Bankruptcy?
As a senior citizen, you have the right to file for bankruptcy. When filing bankruptcy you will a choice between filing a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 case. If you qualify for a chapter 7 your debt is going to be wiped clean giving you a fresh start. If you make to much money and don’t qualify for a chapter 7 you can file a chapter 13. A chapter 13 doesn’t eliminate all the debt but, may eliminate a large portion of it. The remaining debt in a chapter 13 is paid back over several years. But, it may not be as advantageous for you as it may be for younger people. It can consolidate your debt and reduce the monthly amount you pay, but it might not make sense.
Bankruptcy and Estate Planning
In the event that you die and have debts owed to secured and non secured creditors your estate may be responsible to pay the debts. This includes credit card debt medical debt or any signature debts you owe. Additionally, if you own a home when you die and have debt in addition to the mortgage the creditors may be able to bring a claim against your Estate.
Once you pass away, if you have a will, the probate court must probate the will and determine that it satisfices the states will requirements. In the event that you do not have a will your heirs will still have to file a probate. In this process the courts require that the creditors get notice of the proceeding. This is so they can make a claim for what you owed them before you passed. They will try to collect this from your estate or require the home gets sold to pay the money owed to them.
If you have a home and you owe creditors they may be able to file a judgment lien against the home. When you die the lien survives you. This means you wont be able to pass the home to you heirs without paying the debt. This is a very common reason many seniors file a bankruptcy. If you file before you pass and you have debt the debt will be discharged, the lien removed, and allow you to pass your estate without the worry of judgment creditors.
Asset Hearings and Creditor Calls are Stopped
If you owe money to creditors they use all sorts of methods to get money from you. At times they might even resort to unscrupulous tactics to get money. This can include harassing phone calls at all hours of the day and include calls to friends and relatives. In addition to the stress from the calls they may even threaten to have you arrested or to come to your home or job. Although there are certain protections you are guaranteed sometimes they violate fair collection laws. Additionally creditors can subpoena you to an asset hearing where the court orders you to appear and bring certain financial data with you. The idea behind this is to see if you have any non-exempt assets they can seize and apply towards the debt. Filing bankruptcy ends all this. Filing bankruptcy places an automatic stop to all collection efforts and protects you.
When Filing Bankruptcy isn’t For You
Regarding bankruptcy and senior citizens its not the best option for everyone. Filing isn’t a one size fits all. Throughout the debt collection process, creditors are not allowed to take everything you own. You are entitled to keep certain things for your home, a conservative car, certain retirement accounts, and Social Security funds. For many seniors, this may be all they own. In those cases, you are what would be considered “judgment proof.” A creditor would consider you judgment proof if they would not recover anything from filing a lawsuit against you. In these cases, it would not make sense to file for bankruptcy.
When Should I File For Bankruptcy?
Oklahoma bankruptcy and senior citizens and if its right for you depends on a few things. Many factors will determine if filing for bankruptcy will benefit you as a senior citizen. The two easiest and most common debts to discharge in bankruptcy are medical bills and credit card debt. If you are looking to mostly wipe out this kind of debt, it may help you. But, in certain situations, the creditors may be unable to collect on this debt anyway. A bankruptcy attorney can help determine if bankruptcy is right for your case.
Oklahoma Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Help You
If you are experiencing or contemplating whether to file bankruptcy, our Tulsa bankruptcy attorneys are experienced and can help you get through with a piece of mind. If you or a loved one are considering bankruptcy, the attorneys at Kania Law Office can help you understand the process and assist you through the difficult time you are currently experiencing. Call (918) 743-2233 today to schedule your appointment or contact us online.