The financial struggle can affect anyone at any stage of life. For seniors, dealing with financial struggles while in retirement can make them concerned about what assets may be at risk of creditors. While bankruptcy may seem like the only option, speaking to an attorney can help you identify what option is best for you, and may help clear up some myths about what is and is not in jeopardy.
Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer Helps
Having a trusted attorney by your side will help you understand how garnishment and judgments may affect you. For example, many seniors may not know that Social Security payments are protected from collection efforts. However, if creditors take funds from a bank account where your Social Security is mixed in with other sources of income, they may accidentally garnish it. With the help of an attorney, you can find the best way to help keep your Social Security income safe.
In addition to your Social Security income, most retirement accounts are exempt in bankruptcy. However, if you have a large pension, you may only be able to file a Chapter 13 plan, instead of getting to liquidate all your debt in Chapter 7. Figuring out exactly what is considered ‘substantial’ in the eyes of the bankruptcy court is another thing that a bankruptcy attorney in Miami can help you with.
You Don’t Have to Fear Losing Your Home
For millions of seniors that have spent their lives paying down their mortgage, the fear of losing their home in bankruptcy can stop them from seeking the help they need with their financial situation. Fortunately, in Florida all home equity is exempt. Senior filers can keep their home after bankruptcy, even a Chapter 7. Filing a proper bankruptcy petition is important for individuals wishing to exercise their right to these exemptions. Having a skilled attorney helping you with your bankruptcy can ensure that everything is filed correctly and efficiently.
If seniors are in need of a fresh start and are looking for the protection that only bankruptcy can provide them, it may be best to speak to a trusted attorney. With an attorney’s help, retirees can protect assets, stay in their home and live their golden years debt-free.
Protection of Retirement Accounts
Federal bankruptcy law says that nearly every tax-exempt retirement account, such as 401(k), 403(b), defined benefit plans, and profit-sharing are exempt in a bankruptcy. Even IRA and Roth IRA accounts are protecting up to a certain limit. Make sure you discuss with your bankruptcy attorney in Miami that your retirement account qualifies for protection.
Protection of Social Security Benefits
In a Florida bankruptcy, your creditors cannot take your Social Security benefits outside of bankruptcy. However, these benefits are exempt only if you keep the funds in a separate account. The protection is lost once these are commingled with other funds.