- June 25, 2021
- Steve Heisler
- Senior Injuries
Seven million elderly Americans are struggling with paying their medical bills and accrued medical debt over time. Even with Medicare and Medicaid, 12% of American adults, 65 and older, have issues paying for health-related costs. These statistics bring up the question, can bankruptcy be an option for our injured senior nation? If you are faced with mounting medical bill debt, you should absolutely consider bankruptcy. Some experts will say that you should avoid bankruptcy at all costs. Any person that thinks they should not consider bankruptcy does not understand the process and the bankruptcy system.
Bankruptcy Stigma Is Not What You Think
Many people think that bankruptcy is wrong. However, there is no longer a stigma that there used to be around filing for bankruptcy. Anyone who is reading this blog post has been through at least one major economic meltdown. For instance, there was a meltdown in 2009 and a meltdown because of Covid, not to mention the stock market crash of the late eighties that led to an economic bust in the early nineties. Millions of people have filed for bankruptcy. It is not the stigmatized process that it used to be. Plus, it only takes about a couple of years to recover your credit profile from bankruptcy. So there are no significant negative ramifications to filing bankruptcy.
Will You Lose Your Home If You File For Bankruptcy?
Injured seniors are probably worried about their house when it comes to filing for bankruptcy. Yes, you can lose your house if you file for bankruptcy. That’s one reason why you need to talk to an attorney as soon as humanly possible. It would be best if you never pulled the trigger on filing a bankruptcy case without assistance from an attorney. Bankruptcy is a federal process. So the laws are uniform around the United States, but every state has its own exemptions.
The property and the assets you are allowed to keep will depend on which state you are filing for bankruptcy. For example, Florida has an unlimited homestead exemption, which means you’re not going to lose your home if you file bankruptcy in Florida. Also, Delaware has a very generous bankruptcy exemption; it’s around $125,000. So depending upon where you are and how much equity you have in your home will depend upon whether or not you’re going to have a problem in bankruptcy.
What To Know About Filing For Bankruptcy
In a chapter thirteen case, you don’t necessarily lose your home because you have the opportunity to buy back your equity from your creditors. An attorney will explain what type of bankruptcy you should file depending on your situation and the type of assets you have. The two most common types of bankruptcies are chapter thirteen and chapter seven. Chapter seven is typically referred to as the straight bankruptcy – you file for bankruptcy, and a trustee will see if you can sell assets to pay creditors. Luckily, the vast majority of people who file for bankruptcy do not have assets that can be sold to pay creditors. In this situation, it’s called the no asset bankruptcy case. After you meet with the trustee, creditors have sixty days to object to your bankruptcy, which rarely happens. You have to have committed some pretty severe fraud for there to be a legitimate objection to your bankruptcy. If nobody objects to your bankruptcy within sixty days after meeting with the trustee, the court will issue you a discharge order and close your case. Once you get that discharge order, your dischargeable debts go away and creditors can’t call you.
Remember, the first step you will want to make when considering bankruptcy as an injured senior is finding an attorney. That way, you can maximize the assets you are allowed to keep. In addition, when you find an attorney that can help, you will be able to direct all communications with collection agencies to your attorney’s office. If you are currently in massive debt, you know how collection agencies can harass you at all times of the day. Luckily, when you direct them to your attorney’s office, all of the phone calls will magically stop. For other tips and resources, follow The National Injured Senior Law Center on Facebook.