Massive credit card debt and the elderly

On behalf of The Rollins Law Firm posted in Personal Bankruptcy on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

Paying off large credit cards in Mississippi and around the country is often overwhelming, but when the consumer is elderly and surviving on a small monthly Social Security payment, it may be impossible. When other factors such as utilizing expensive check cashing services and a reverse mortgage are involved, it may be time for family to step in and attempt to find ways to lighten the load of credit card debt for their elders.

First of all, it's very difficult to break out of the check cashing cycle, but the effort needs to be made. The fees and interest will just keep piling up from month to month. It might be possible to sell things of value, and cut expenses even more by giving up a car. This takes away not only payments, but the additional costs of maintenance, insurance and gasoline expenses. If there's a reverse mortgage, in general, it's not possible for the owner to move out and rent the house for income. However, if there's enough space, a room can be rented out to create some form of income.

Credit card companies are not generally willing to negotiate on interest and payments unless they can be convinced they can't collect from the consumer any other way. It may be wise to sit down with a credit counselor in order for them to look at the full financial picture. If enough money can be raised, the credit card company might be willing to take a lump sum settlement and write-off the rest of the debt.

Sometimes a consumer will try everything to get on an even financial footing, but it doesn't work. When this happens it may be time to allow a bankruptcy attorney to review the individual's financial situation. An attorney may be able to advise the consumer on which part of the Bankruptcy Code is best suited for his or her situation.

Source: Fox Business, "Elderly Mom Racks Up Card Debt, Check-Cashing Loans", Sally Herigstad, September 25, 2013

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