Filing for Bankruptcy as a Senior
You might think that serious debt and the need for bankruptcy is something that only affects the young or those who are not very well established in their lives or careers. This, however, is not true. Due to the poor economic state, the rising costs of healthcare and medicine, and the inability or unwillingness of many to properly plan for the future in their younger days, filing for bankruptcy as a senior citizen has become far more common. Though this does not happen to the majority of seniors, creditors are becoming increasingly ruthless and will get their money any way they know how.
It is important to mention, however, that not every senior citizen who finds himself in debt will have to file for bankruptcy. Some may be able to seek out viable and helpful alternatives that will save them from the stress and difficulties associated with going through the process. The Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) advises that senior citizens research all of their other options such as debt consolidation, credit counseling, or writing out a formal proposal before making the decision to file for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy at such an advanced age can be particularly damaging, since it can virtually destroy all the assets the individual has spent his entire life acquiring. Even if one of these more advanced ways of taking care of debt is not a possibility, simply talking to creditors and trying to work out less formal plans can be helpful for some seniors.
Many senior citizens are also able to embark on a “take no action” approach. This approach is sometimes available for those seniors who have no income or other assets. Since they have no real way of paying the debt off in the first place, many creditors will simply opt to leave the matter alone. It should never be assumed, however, that this strategy will work, so seniors are advised to speak with a lawyer or financial advisor before adopting it. Doing so without proper consent or understanding can have far more disastrous results than even filing for bankruptcy in the first place.
If none of these options are real possibilities, then the senior may be left with no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. If this is done, it should be accomplished with the aid of a trustworthy attorney or advisor who can help to make sure the senior will be getting the best possible type of deal. Bankruptcy proceedings are not fun or easy for anyone, but they can be particularly challenging for the elderly. For this reason, it is best that proper legal and financial help be sought every step of the way and that financial planning starts early on in one’s life. Debt can affect anybody at anytime, and unfortunately, senior citizens are no exception.