The “golden years” have often been seen as a time of security and relative prosperity, but an increasing number of American seniors are finding themselves facing financial difficulties. This issue is made worse by the fact that longevity is increasing among Americans while their pensions and retirement savings may be decreasing or perhaps disappearing completely. A bankruptcy filing is an option for seniors in economic distress, but they must ensure the process is done correctly to avert financial disaster.
Considering the Bankruptcy Option
Seniors who are considering taking this route should first examine their situations. The path will be different for those who are completely retired and living on pensions, social security benefits, or personal savings. Financially distressed seniors who are still working may face wage garnishment from unpaid creditors, but bankruptcy may eliminate this threat or even make it possible to erase their debt. In cases where seniors have no additional income, a bankruptcy filing can be used to prevent the seizure of property or other personal assets by creditors.
Deciding What to Protect
Seniors who are in debt may want to protect their assets for future use or are hoping to hand something down to their heirs, must have an understanding of different bankruptcy laws. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow its users to maintain their properties and assets, making it possible to pay the debt over time. You can use Chapter 7 in cases where the level of debt is high, and the assets are so low that repayment becomes impossible.
Seniors who attempts to transfer property or assets to others in an attempt to avoid a seizure could be subject to criminal prosecution. However, it may be possible to claim a parcel of property as a homestead exemption to continue ownership. You can protect other assets, including furnishings, jewelry, and even retirement accounts, with the right legal team.
Becoming Collection Proof
It might be possible for some of those in debt to protect themselves against any confiscations. However, this will only be possible if the assets are exempt from any collection. If a senior doesn’t have much left in the first place, the court will likely allow them to remain in their home and keep as many things as necessary to maintain a home. Some retirement accounts are also considered untouchable. The only way to know for sure whether you can file for bankruptcy and still keep your home and necessities is to call a legal expert and have them look at your case.
Get An Experienced Attorney
It’s important to understand what is at risk for your future retirement and heirs when filing for bankruptcy. Knowing what assets can be protected, how to avoid confiscations, and following the legal jargon can be overwhelming. This is why you need someone on your side to help you through the entire process. You shouldn’t try to navigate the complexities of bankruptcy alone. E. Orum Young Law has more than 35 years of experience handling bankruptcies throughout Northeast Louisiana. Honors given to the members of our legal team have included the Gold Medal Congressional Award. We can determine the best options for your financial issues and help get your credit restored and are available 24/7. Contact us today at (318) 450-3192 to schedule your free consultation.