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R. Flay Cabiness, II, P.C. Georgia Lawyer Blog

Why Has Bankruptcy Become So Common Among Seniors?

A person’s golden years are supposed to be filled with recreation, relaxation, and time with loved ones. It’s the phase of life when you get to do live out all of the dreams you had before you put them off to raise a family and build a career. Now, with grown children and full-time workdays behind you, you’re free to enjoy all of the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Unfortunately, many seniors are finding that despite time being on their side, they aren’t able to afford the life in retirement they’ve dreamed of. As a matter of fact, some of them are facing financial problems so dire they are considering bankruptcy.

Statistics show about 10 percent of people who file for bankruptcy are over the age of 65. This trend also seems to be on the rise. In the last decade or so the number has grown, in part due to the recession. Those who were part of the Baby Boomer generation and older were hit especially hard during the financial crisis.

Making matters worse, many older Americans face medical challenges. According to CNBC, medical bills are the most common cause of bankruptcy and affect more than two million Americans every year. (Read more here). Even with healthcare coverage and Medicare, unexpected health problems can still cause a financial burden. It’s easy to see how debt can spiral out of control in just a short time.

How Do You Know Bankruptcy is the Right Option for You?

Filing for bankruptcy as a senior can be different than filing when you’re younger. It’s still a tool you can use to achieve financial relief and get your finances back on track, but it’s not the same as filing during your early or mid-adulthood.

One of the biggest differences you might encounter, depending on your age, is social security income. The bankruptcy court will be aware of your social security income, but since it’s not considered disposable income, the court cannot take it from you. However, it’s important to be upfront with your bankruptcy attorney concerning your income so all necessary measures can be taken to protect what you have.

It might also be possible to protect your home and other assets when you file for bankruptcy as a senior, just as you would when filing at a younger age. This can be especially important, though, for seniors because so many have paid off their mortgages. Knowing you’ll be able to maintain ownership of your home even though you’ve filed for bankruptcy can be a major relief to those who avoided it because they had concerns about homelessness.

You are Not Alone

Perhaps the most important thing to remember if you’re a senior and considering bankruptcy is that you aren’t alone. You aren’t the first senior to encounter financial problems and you’ll be far from the last. Life is filled with unexpected events, many of which are related to finances.

Taking action now to improve your financial situation is something for which you should feel pride and not shame. You’re far better off filing for bankruptcy than ignoring the problem and allowing it to get worse, or leaving it for your loved ones after you’re gone.

If you’d like to learn more about filing for bankruptcy as a senior or you have questions about how bankruptcy might help you, we can help. For more information contact R. Flay Cabiness, II, P.C. at (912) 554-3774 (Brunswick, GA); (912) 375-5620 (Hazlehurst, GA) or; (912)-554-3756 (Jesup, GA).

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Brunswick, Georgia
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Brunswick, GA 31520
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Hazlehurst, GA 31539 
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198 S. Macon St.
Jesup, GA  31545
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