Question: I am a senior and a disabled veteran. I receive some Veterans benefits and Social Security. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I can no longer pay my credit card debts. Is bankruptcy my only choice?
Answer: No, bankruptcy is not your only choice. Here is why.
In general, the original creditors will try to collect their debts for the first three months. After that they send it to a collection agency, an attorney or sell it to a junk debt buyer. These collectors are far more aggressive than the original creditors. They will call daily and constantly send collection letters. Many law firms, including my firm, will act as a buffer to keep the debtors free from the creditors’ harassment techniques. We contact each collector and advise the collector that our client is represented by counsel. We also advise them that our client is a senior, disabled, and/or Veteran and we issue a Cease and Desist order to each of them. If the third party collector violates the notice of representation and the Cease and Desist order, we will file FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) violations against them.
In most states a creditor can garnish wages – but our clients are retired and their income is exempt from garnishment. A creditor can attempt to garnish a bank account, however, if our client is properly depositing Social Security and Veterans benefits into a bank account, these funds cannot be garnished. A creditor can put a lien on real property in the majority of states; however there may be ways to legally protect real property with estate planning tools. Finally, a creditor can only take personal property that you own that is not exempt. Each state has different exemption amounts; however, most of your personal items are exempt.
To locate Attorneys near YOU who can help you with these types of elder care matters, go to www.ElderCareMatters.com – America’s #1 online source to find Elder Care Experts, Information & Answers to your Questions about a wide range of elder care matters.
Hope this helps.
Jerome S. Lamet, Attorney at Law
Debt Counsel for Seniors and the Disabled
542 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60605
312-939-2221 ext. 1005