You’ve had some financial ups and downs in your life, but you never dreamed that you’d be sitting on a mountain of debt and hounded by debt collectors in your golden years.
Can you even file for bankruptcy after you hit retirement age? Absolutely. Here’s what to consider:
Are you judgment proof already?
Being judgment proof simply means that you have no assets that your creditors can seize and no income they can garnish. For the most part, if you rent and your only source of income is Social Security or another form of retirement benefits, there’s nothing a creditor can legally take away. If that’s the case, you may just decide to block unwanted calls on your phone, throw out the collection letters and move on with your life.
If you have a house or wages, however, you could be facing liens and garnishments over unpaid debts. In that case, bankruptcy will likely shield you from most or all collection efforts and wipe the slate clean.
Would eliminating your debts protect you in other ways?
Even if you’re judgment proof, you may still choose to file bankruptcy. The mental and physical toll that carrying that load of debt can take on a person is considerable. If you file for bankruptcy, an immediate stay goes in to effect that will stop all collection efforts and creditor harassment. Companies can be fined heavily for violating that stay.
Many seniors are in your shoes
Between 1991 and 2016, bankruptcies for those between 65 and 74 increased 200%, while those seniors 75 years and older filed three times as many bankruptcy petitions as in prior years.
You are not the first senior to be in this predicament. Bankruptcy is an option. To find out if it’s the right option for you, it may be time to seek legal assistance.