Bankruptcy rates are rising for seniors

Bankruptcy laws help people reduce or eliminate their debts. Although this protection is available to all adults, Michigan seniors are a growing section of bankruptcy filers. There may be a few reasons why they're turning to the federal bankruptcy code to resolve their financial problems.

Possibly the most significant cause of senior personal bankruptcy was the recession that started in 2008. The recession hit older adults hardest because they didn't have time to recover their financial losses in the stock market before it was time for them to retire. With less money in their nest eggs, people in this age group may find it harder to pay the bills after an illness. To compound the issue, health care costs have risen dramatically in recent years. Some seniors who were able to pay their bills in the past are no longer able to do so.

Another factor in the rise of bankruptcies among seniors is that women tend to live longer than men. Husbands of that generation were more likely to handle finances, leaving wives at a disadvantage when they were no longer there to take care of bills and expenses. Left to handle these things on their own, older women may pay bills late and incur fees that put them further into debt.

An attorney may be able to give a senior client peace of mind. Seniors who have never needed to file for bankruptcy protection may not know that once the documents are filed with the court, creditors cannot contact them anymore. Those constant calls could be a major source of stress for older people. By working with an attorney to reduce or eliminate debts, the bills and harassment could go away.