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Advice for Seniors Filing Bankruptcy

In recent years, older Americans (those over 55) and senior citizens (those over 65) have been filing for personal bankruptcy protection in increasing numbers.

One study from the Center for Financial Literacy indicates that between 2008 and 2009 the number of bankruptcy filers older than 55 increased by more than three percent.

The fact is that if you're struggling with debt at any age, bankruptcy may be a debt-relief tool to help you. Depending on your sources in income though, some creditors may have no legal right to pursue you for debts.

Knowing which options are best for you requires a serious assessment of your financial situation. Consider these resources:

  • Connect with a bankruptcy lawyer: Anyone who truly wants legal advice can get it only from practicing professionals (i.e. lawyers). Luckily, connecting with a bankruptcy lawyer in your state does not need to be difficult. can help you arrange a free legal consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer about their financial circumstances.
  • Do some research: Before speaking with a lawyer, though, it is often wise to research the personal bankruptcy process online or with the help of library materials to get an idea of what filing bankruptcy might entail.
  • Know when to act: One important piece of bankruptcy law is that it protects the retirement accounts of those who file. Some people turn to their retirement funds before seeking bankruptcy protection, but that can be a risky move, as those funds cannot be replaced. An attorney can help determine what effect bankruptcy might have on a person's retirement income and savings.

General Information for Seniors Considering Bankruptcy

While specific guidance can only be administered on a case-by-case basis, the following nuggets might be useful to any senior considering a bankruptcy filing or looking to learn more about bankruptcy.

  • Protected benefits: Federal law protects certain benefits from garnishment by creditors. Protected benefits include veterans' payments, Social Security payments, payments for disabled individuals and more. If you're worried about garnishment of any of these, you may want to speak with a lawyer to find out how federal exemptions work.
  • Judgment-proof status: A person who has little or no income other than certain benefits, and few assets, may be considered "judgment proof," meaning that creditors would not be able to collect anything even if they attempted to. Those who are judgment proof generally do not need to file for bankruptcy protection because they do not have sufficient assets to protect.

If you think you might be judgment proof, you may want to connect with a lawyer to learn more.

To speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in your state, simply fill out this form. Arrange a free, no-obligation consultation and see how bankruptcy protection could benefit you.

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