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Are You Too Old to File for Bankruptcy?


MSN has an interesting article centered on the question, “Are you too old to file for bankruptcy?” Many of our clients are seniors who wonder whether they should go through the hassle of filing for bankruptcy when they don’t have many more years left. Although the MSN article raises important considerations, we must add our own so that you fully understand the relevant considerations.

Reasons Not to File

Bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone. For example, you can only get rid of certain debts in a bankruptcy proceeding. The most common types are credit card debt, medical debt, and personal loans. These are “unsecured” debts, meaning that the debt is not backed up by collateral.

Secured debts cannot be wiped out, and there are others that will not be discharged, such as spousal support payments. If you are years behind paying alimony to an ex-spouse, for example, then you can’t use bankruptcy to discharge your arrears. Take a moment to look at your debt. If it can’t be discharged, there is little reason to file.

The MSN article also suggests you avoid filing if you have no assets, under the theory that you can’t be sued by your creditors. We don’t necessarily agree with this for a couple reasons:

  • You might have more assets than you are aware of. For example, you might inherit property in the near future if a sibling or spouse dies, and these assets could be seized in a lawsuit.
  • Some creditors will sue even if they don’t think you have many assets.

For one thing, you can avoid the stress of a lawsuit by wiping out the debt. You also should consider filing if you are still working, regardless of your age. A creditor can garnish wages if they are successful in a lawsuit.

Reasons to Declare Bankruptcy

You are technically never too old to file. And, in some situations, it makes sense to file for bankruptcy.

For example, you might be stressed about your debt. Creditors cannot harass you, but they can still call and threaten to sue. Wiping out debt can provide you with peace of mind.

Also, some assets are exempt from creditors, but they might not be if you pass them to children or others after death using a will. You should take a close look with a bankruptcy attorney at your investments, real estate, and retirement benefits. After death, creditors can make a claim for payment on your estate. If you wipe out the debt in bankruptcy while living, then your heirs don’t need to worry about the creditors after your death.

Contact Nowack & Olson to Discuss Your Options

Declaring bankruptcy is not an easy choice for most people, young or old. Your best bet is to meet with an experienced Plantation bankruptcy attorney to go over your debt and strategize about how to handle it. If bankruptcy is the right option, then a lawyer can get your paperwork filed.

Call Nowack & Olson, 888-813-4737 today. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to those interested.




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