Medical debt is the No. 1 cause of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States and a key reason more seniors are filing for bankruptcy. Another reason for the uptick in bankruptcy filings among Americans 50 and older is the rising cost of healthcare. We recently did a posting on Tips for Seniors to Avoid Medical Debt. The 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act made it more difficult for some consumers to qualify for bankruptcy, but it did not change the number of people who had more debt than they could afford to pay.
Making matters worse for older Americans are the collection practices of unscrupulous debt collectors. A recent report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that debt collection was the most-complained about product or service for consumers over 62.
Bankruptcy brings with it emotional relief and getting their case filed and debts discharged relieves so much stress for our clients. Seniors can protect assets through bankruptcy. Social security, 401(k)’s, pensions, qualified profit-sharing plans, and individual retirement accounts worth up to $1.245 million are all exempt from creditors during bankruptcy. This means that retirement income and savings are out of reach and protected under federal law. Protecting equity, which is the value of a property, minus the amount owed, is important for seniors. Using a homestead exemption, designed to protect the equity of a main residence in a bankruptcy, will usually keep retirees from losing their homes. Florida homeowners can take advantage of the fact that Florida does not have a limit on the equity that is exempt.
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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.