Can I File For Bankruptcy If I Am Retired?
If you are retired and living in Florida, but you are struggling with debt, you might be considering personal bankruptcy. More precisely, you may be wondering if you are eligible for bankruptcy, or if you can file for bankruptcy. Often, the better question to ask is whether you should file for bankruptcy once you are retired. There are many different bankruptcy factors for a retiree to consider, and in some circumstances, it simply might not make sense financially to move forward with a bankruptcy case. Depending upon the type of bankruptcy a retired Floridian is considering, it will also be important to find out about eligibility without having a regular income. The following are some issues to consider when you are retired and contemplating bankruptcy.
Do You Have Assets That Can Be Taken by a Creditor?
The first thing to think about is whether you actually need to file for bankruptcy given the assets you currently have. In other words, do you have any assets, or do you receive any income payments, that can be taken by a creditor through repossession or garnishment, or through a lawsuit?
This is a question that you will want to answer with help from a bankruptcy lawyer in Florida. For example, if your assets are all “judgment proof” under Florida law, and if you do not have any secured debt, it might not be necessary to go through the process of filing for bankruptcy. Even though creditors and debt collectors will be able to continue contacting you and might even file a lawsuit against you, bankruptcy might not be a logical step if you do not have anything that a creditor can take. Before you make assumptions about your assets and whether or not they are exempt or “judgment proof,” you should seek advice from an attorney.
Assets that cannot be taken from you by creditors or debt collectors include a wide range of retirement benefits, Social Security income, and any necessities like a motor vehicle and your home.
Are You Eligible for Bankruptcy?
If you have assets that could be taken by a creditor, you might want to consider moving forward with a bankruptcy case. Yet it will be critical to determine whether you are actually eligible for the type of bankruptcy you are considering. Older adults with limited assets are often eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is a type of liquidation bankruptcy. However, once you have retired and you are living on Social Security or other retirement benefits, it may be more difficult to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy since this is a “wage earner’s plan.”
Are Your Debts Dischargeable?
If your debts are not dischargeable, regardless of whether you are retired, it does not make sense to file for bankruptcy. You should seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney about the dischargeability of your debts.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney in West Palm Beach
If you are retired and considering bankruptcy, you should get in touch with one of the experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy lawyers at Kelley, Fulton, Kaplan & Eller to find out more about your options.