In our consumer bankruptcy practice, we have helped thousands of Massachusetts families over the years. Recently, my office has seen an alarming number of senior citizens attempting to make payments on large credit card debt from a very meager cash flow, usually their monthly Social Security income or other fixed income sources. These seniors desperately want to pay their debts. They are burdened. At a time in life when the last thing they should be concerned with is money, many face harassment from collections agencies and even lawsuits. It is often my legal opinion that it is neither possible to pay the creditors, nor wise. The sacrifices incurred to do so are just too great.
Unfortunately, many of our seniors endure continuing stress and often cut back on food, prescriptions or medical treatment in an effort to honor their long-held values about repaying their debts.
The reality is that in certain situations, paying overwhelming credit card debt, with skyrocketing interest rates and late fees and penalties, is simply not sensible.
Debt-ridden seniors are frequently “judgment proof,” meaning everything they have is protected by an exemption so that even a creditor with a judgment cannot take anything from them. The threat of lawsuits, the frequent creditor calls, and the worry and stress caused by overwhelming debt, are unnecessary and more importantly, unhealthy.
I urge families and other caregivers and professionals who are supporting seniors to be alert for evidence of unmanageable consumer debt. I strongly encourage seniors to seek competent legal advice on whether bankruptcy is appropriate for them.
Everyone is entitled to the protections of the Federal Bankruptcy Court and the fresh start provided by the Bankruptcy Code.
All clients and prospective clients who contact our office are treated with kindness, courtesy, and respect. Should you, or a senior citizen you know, have questions, please call our office for a free consultation. We are here to help.
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