While many older people are planning for retirement, others in Louisiana and around the country are considering bankruptcy. Financial hardship has impacted many older Americans, and the number of older people declaring bankruptcy has increased markedly since 1991. This growth in bankruptcy far outweighs the overall aging of the American population, according to a study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project. Indeed, the report found that around 800,000 petitions for personal bankruptcy are filed each year, and around 100,000 of them are filed by senior citizens.
When debt becomes overwhelming for a Louisiana resident, bankruptcy is an option. One of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy is the automatic stay, which means that creditors and bill collectors are legally prevented from making contact to collect payments. However, some collection efforts continue after bankruptcy is filed. While this could be an innocent mistake due to a creditor not having yet heard about the bankruptcy filing, it might be a willful violation of the automatic stay. When the latter happens, the creditor or bill collector can be held accountable.
Many borrowers in Louisiana and across the U.S. are struggling to pay down their student loans. According to personal finance website Make Lemonade, students graduating in the year 2016 had an average student debt load of $37,172, and $1.5 trillion is owed collectively by more than 44 million student loan borrowers nationwide. Typically, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, but there may be steps borrowers can take to have student loans discharged or to make their payments more manageable.
The bills are piling up. Maybe it happened gradually--a missed credit card payment here, a missed car payment there--or maybe it was sudden: severe illness, loss of employment or another catastrophic change. Either way, it's more than you can handle. You've heard that declaring bankruptcy can wipe out debts and give you a fresh start, but you aren't sure if that's an option. Do you really owe enough to consider that?
If a person files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it will generally stay on his or her credit report for seven years. If a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will generally stay on his or her credit report for up to 10 years. In a Chapter 13 case, a court will allow a Louisiana debtor to use regular income to pay off debts over a period of three or five years.
People don't like to talk about personal debts and bankruptcy. As such, people often struggle when it comes to accurately assessing their options for alleviating financial hardship. This can be especially true when people have misconceptions about bankruptcy and what it means.