Modesto Bankruptcy Could Be An Option for Elderly Relatives

March 18, 2012

Much is often made about how to approach an elderly relative about the dangers of remaining behind the wheel. But there is another topic that should be addressed with our loved ones as they age: Whether they are in a position to handle their finances and avoid scams or debt.

oldface.jpg

A Modesto bankruptcy can certainly help if they already find themselves in a precarious financial state, where creditors and medical bills are mounting and the fixed income checks aren't cutting it. While our Modesto bankruptcy attorneys know it is best to get out ahead of financial troubles before they become all-consuming, filing for bankruptcy in retirement can often lower debt, free up cash and improve quality of life for seniors living on a fixed income.

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, this will be a problem for a growing number of Americans. Consumer Reports is up on the trend, and detailed why taking the financial reigns may be important and how to approach it.

Like anything else, keeping up with finances requires at least some amount of energy and planning. It can get tougher as we get older.

That's not to mention that your elderly relative is vulnerable to potential scams. In fact, Investor Protection Trust reports that a fifth of all Americans over age 65 are victims of a financial scam.

The first thing you want to do is look for some indication or clues that your aging relative may be having trouble handling their finances. Are they falling behind on bills? Have they changed their spending habits? Are they getting letters from collection agencies? Are they giving away money anytime someone asks? Are they having trouble remembering how much they recently spent and where?

Any of these could be a red flag or a sign that it's time to have a discussion. Words should be carefully chosen, and framed something to the effect of, "I know you want to keep writing your own checks, but I'd like to give you some help. Maybe we could do it together?" What you want to steer clear of is emotionally hurtful and sweeping statements such as, "You're incapable of doing this anymore."

Once you have established this, ask to speak with your loved one's doctor. Try to get a clearer picture of where they are at physically and mentally. Then, you'll want to look into where your relative is at financially by looking at recent credit card and bank statements and investment accounts. Go through the monthly income and figure out a monthly budget. Also figure out if there is a will, health care power of attorney and life insurance policy.

Make sure that the investments being made are in stable, low-risk ventures. Scammers will often target the elderly by framing it as a business opportunity or investment.

Once you've got a good handle on the facts, consider having a family meeting to get everyone on the same page. Because these situations can at times become tense, you may want to consider consulting with an elder-care mediator.

Keep in mind too that there are certain pitfalls you should avoid, such as co-signing on credit. This could make you responsible for your loved one's debt if he or she either dies or can't pay it.

And if your loved one does become overwhelmed with debt, know that a Modesto bankruptcy is an option.

If you or someone you know needs to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer in Modesto or Stockton, contact the Law Offices of Robert J. Anaya for a free and confidential appointment. Call today 1-209-522-7500.

Additional Resources:
Money help for elderly relatives, By Consumer Reports Money Adviser: February 2012


More Blog Entries:

Modesto Bankruptcy Watch: Retirement and Bad Real Estate Debt, Oct. 25, 2011, Modesto Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog