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Bankruptcy for RI Seniors

Bankruptcy Relief For RI Seniors

“An increasing number of Americans aged 65 and older are declaring bankruptcy,” writes Reuters in a recent report. “Those aged 65 and older represented seven percent of bankruptcy filers in 2007, a mind-boggling jump from 1991. They are easily the ‘fastest-growing age demographic…’”

The sad fact is that many older Americans cannot help living beyond their means.   Age discrimination, paired with fewer job openings, makes it almost impossible to increase their income.  American seniors are dealing with an unsettled economy, decreasing pensions, increasing medical expenses, and unstable investments.  Because members of America’s senior population rely mostly on fixed incomes, they are increasingly forced to rely on credit just to survive.

In the end, the only course of action left for many senior citizens is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.  Although the idea of filing bankruptcy may initially be hard to accept, it is important to understand the benefits of filing for bankruptcy when there are no other reasonable options for debt repayment.

One of the biggest misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy is that you automatically have to give up certain assets.  This is clearly not true.  In Rhode Island, for example, those who meet the residency requirements can protect up to $ 300,000 worth of equity in their home.  Rhode Island exemption laws also allow protection of up to $ 12,000 worth of equity in motor vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles).

There is also generous protection of retirement accounts, household furniture, clothing, jewelry and a Rhode Island “wildcard” that can be used to protect an additional $ 5,000 worth of other property.  Bottom line, most who file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rhode Island don’t lose any property at all.

An ideal Chapter 7 debtor should be current on the secured debts for property she intends to keep, like mortgages and car loans.  In as little as 100 days after filing her Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, her case concludes and her dischargeable debt is wiped out.

While the number of seniors filing for bankruptcy relief is increasing, many others still do not understand their rights under the law.  They are often bullied by creditors to hand over their social security checks and not have enough money left over to buy food or medicine.  It becomes increasingly important to seek the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney in these situations.

About Mark Buckley

Consumer Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, and debt-settlement attorney licensed in RI & MA. I am the only bankruptcy lawyer who is a certified financial planner professional. 

To plan your estate, or resolve debt concerns, call me at (401) 467-6800.