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Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney Dan Mueller of Harborstone Law Group represents consumers in bankruptcy and debt negotiation matters throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Chester County, and Bucks County in Pennsylvania.

Bankruptcy and Seniors

Seniors and BankruptcyPennsylvania is a beautiful state and provides a number of benefits to senior retirees.  Unfortunately, too many Philadelphia area seniors are unable to enjoy all that the Commonwealth has to offer because of a burdensome load of debt.  Bankruptcy and other debt solutions can often help struggling seniors regain control of their lives.  (For more on bankruptcy and senior citizens, please see my recent guest post, Senior Citizens and Bankruptcy: When the Wolf is at Grandma’s Door, on the excellent Charleston Bankruptcy Blog published by SC bankruptcy lawyer Russ Demott.)  In my Philadelphia law practice, I frequently see seniors struggling to make ends meet.  Many are in danger of losing their homes and even their independence, and most have been in increasingly difficult  financial straights for many years.

Many factors contribute to retirees’ financial difficulties, but the most common are sudden loss of income, retirement income that is less than anticipated, the need to support adult children or grandchildren, and unexpected medical bills not covered by Medicare or supplemental insurance.  In additions, some retirees fall victim to theft, predatory lenders, and out-and-out con artists.  Often they keep the details of their financial problems from members of their families out of embarrassment or a wish not to trouble anyone.

Fortunately, there is no need to spend your retirement years struggling with debt that you will never be able to pay off.  There are options for Pennsylvania seniors in difficult financial straights.  Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the answer, but it is not necessarily the solution in all cases.  Seniors can and should should discuss all of their options with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.  (Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations and discounts for seniors.)  As overwhelming as your financial situation may feel, you can regain control over your financial future.

Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney Dan Mueller of Harborstone Law Group, PLLC helps individuals and small businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area resolve debt problems and regain control of their finances.  You can reach him at 215-248-0989.

4 comments to Bankruptcy and Seniors

  • Lisa

    Thanks for sharing all of this information about chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. I feel like it’s something we don’t talk about very often, but you’re totally right: Bankruptcy and other debt solutions can often help struggling seniors regain control of their lives. Do you have any tips for people who are looking for a good bankruptcy lawyer?

    • Thanks for your comments. It is particularly important for seniors to choose the right bankruptcy attorney. I always advise picking an attorney with the same care as you would choose a surgeon. Ask the attorney if he or she has significant experience working with seniors. How much experience does the attorney have in bankruptcy and debt law? Did the attorney discuss all of your options or just bankruptcy? (An attorney should discuss all of your options.) Does the attorney answer your questions thoroughly and in a way that makes sense? What is the attorney’s policy on returning calls and email messages? (It is a very bad sign when an attorney is excessively difficult to reach.) Finally, beware of high-volume bankruptcy mills that may save you a few dollars upfront but could very well cost you in the long run.

  • Joe

    My wife wants to file Chapter 7. The cards are in her name only. Is the income based only on her income and not mine combined, or both?

    • Jon,

      Good question. In bankruptcy, the court looks at household income, whether it is an individual case or joint case. Thus, unless a married couple is separated, the income of both spouses counts in bankruptcy. However, the filing spouse can deduct the non-filing spouse’s personal expenses, such as car payments, credit card payments, cell phones, insurance, child support, taxes etc. In fact, the means test includes a specific “marital adjustment” deduction for that purpose. In addition, you can fully deduct household expenses, such as mortgage payments, utilities, etc., even if your spouse pays them. Thus, a debtor can often minimize the effects of a spouse’s income, particularly where the spouse’s income is not unusually high. Just make sure you provide all income and expense information for both your wife and you to your lawyer, if you decide to proceed.

      Dan

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