Retirement is often described as “the golden years,” the time when our many years of hard work and dedication will allow us to enjoy the rest of our days in relative comfort.
However, for a growing number of senior citizens, this is not the case. Financial hardship has forced many to consider whether or not to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Elder bankruptcies on the rise
A new report from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project reveals bankruptcy filings by those over the age of 65 have spiked considerably. This type of filing allows debtors to erase most unsecured debts. Unlike a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not involve a plan of repayment but allows for the complete discharge (forgiveness) of almost all unsecured debts. Unsecured debts are things like credit cards, medical bills and personal loans.
It’s been our experience that a great many older folks who would benefit substantially from filing for bankruptcy wait a very long time to do so, potentially causing them even greater losses than they would have had if they’d sought it sooner. Many older people feel morally obligated to personally pay their debts. Although we certainly understand the principle, the problem is that in practice, you may be doing more damage by not seeking a fully legal remedy that will allow you to get back on your feet and help ensure self-sufficiency.
An attorney can help
We cannot stress enough how important it is for seniors weighing bankruptcy claims to speak with an experienced South Carolina bankruptcy attorney. The reality is that in some cases, your fixed income may not allow you to keep up with payments. When you are deeply in debt, you may feel you have absolutely no choice but to file for bankruptcy – only to learn that you now simply don’t have enough to get back on your feet either way. You will end up preserving far more of your assets when you seek help sooner.
If you have questions about the process and whether your financial situation can be helped by a South Carolina Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Matthews & Megna, LLC can help you make a decision.