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If I Have Overdue Medical Bills, Can I File for Bankruptcy?

July 27th, 2020 at 11:42 am

TX bankrutpcy attorney, TX chapter 7 lawyerThe U.S. has some of the highest medical costs in the world, leaving many patients who visit the emergency room or go to the hospital financially destitute. Even those who have health insurance may find that their coverage is not enough to fully cover their necessary medical treatments. No one can predict the manifestation of serious illnesses or accidental injuries, but you rarely have a valid choice, leaving you to choose between unwanted debt or suffer the possibly fatal consequences. If you find yourself overwhelmed with medical debt, you do have legal options to help you payback the costs overtime or relieve yourself of the costs altogether. Filing for bankruptcy may be your last resort, but it may also be your only chance of moving forward.

“Medical Bankruptcy”

Those whose debt is solely made up of pastdue medical bills may believe that they can file for “medical bankruptcy” and avoid their other assets getting involved in the process. There is no type of bankruptcy known as medical bankruptcy; however, medical bills are a common reason that people file for bankruptcy. Medical debt falls under the same category, known as unsecured debt, as credit card debt, personal loans, old utility bills, and borrowed money from family or friends. Since bankruptcy cases must be equally fair for both the debtor and creditor, you must list all of your debts, personal property, and real estate within your bankruptcy case. There are two ways that most people file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, both of which have a large impact on your credit score.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the more desired option since it discharges or forgives all of your debts, not requiring you to pay them back. Any medical debt that you have accumulated can be included in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim. The process typically only takes four to six months to complete and grants immediate relief to those filing for this type of bankruptcy. There are a few types of debt that cannot be discharged, such as income taxes and past-due child support or alimony payments. While Chapter 7 is often the most desirable option, since you will not need to pay the debt back, there are strict eligibility requirements. If your household income is lower than the state median income, you are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This type of bankruptcy extends your timeline for paying back your debts, creating a three to five year payment plan for debtors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the common option for those who have a steady income, allowing them to pay off their debts while still having disposable income. The amount owed is dependent upon your debt amount and your income. Depending on your situation, your amount owed could be reduced and you may have your remaining debt discharged at the end of your payment plan. Any missed payments can lead to the seizing of your assets.

Contact a New Braunfels Bankruptcy Attorney

As you can see, there are a number of factors that can contribute to your ability to file for bankruptcy and which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation. It is always advised to speak with a well-seasoned attorney who understands your state’s policies regarding filing for bankruptcy. The Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee has over 20 years of experience assisting Texans overcome their debt difficulties, including those that consist of significant medical costs. Contact our Boerne bankruptcy lawyer at 210-342-3400 to discuss the details of your case during your free consultation.




Marital Debt: Determining the Best Way to File for Bankruptcy

June 14th, 2019 at 5:48 pm

TX bankruptcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy lawyer Many people believe that being married means you automatically take on your partner’s debt. While it is true that assets you accrue during the marriage can be considered joint assets, that is not always the case for debts. You will only be legally responsible for your spouse’s debts if both of your names were used when you incurred the debt. It is not uncommon for only one spouse in a marriage to file for bankruptcy individually. Many of these single-spouse situations happen when a couple is married and one spouse has debt that they are having trouble repaying. For some couples, a major concern is whether or not they should file for bankruptcy jointly or separately.

Community Property and Community Debts

Before you decide if you will be filing for bankruptcy separately or with your spouse, it is important to look at the entire situation. Texas is a community property state, meaning that most of the property that was acquired during the marriage is jointly owned, or belongs to the “community,” which is you and your spouse. Because of this, even if just one spouse files for bankruptcy, all of the community property becomes part of the bankruptcy estate.

Though it may seem sequential that community debt also exists, it does not. The only debts you will be responsible for are the debts that you incurred either jointly or in your name only.

Should You File Individually or Jointly?

When it comes down to it, it all depends on your specific situation. Filing separately for bankruptcy in a community property state may not be the best idea because all community property in your marriage will become part of the bankruptcy estate. This means your spouse could be affected negatively by the bankruptcy and could possibly have their assets seized if they were acquired during the marriage.

Filing jointly will allow both spouses to discharge all of their debts, both individual debts and marital debts. You will also get to keep more property if you file jointly, rather than if you filed separately. The exemptions typically double for couples when they file for bankruptcy jointly.

Get in Touch With a Knowledgeable Boerne, TX Bankruptcy Attorney

The bankruptcy process is confusing, especially when you are dealing with the bankruptcy of a married person. If you have any questions pertaining to bankruptcy or if you would like to consult an attorney for your best options for filing, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee is here to help. Our knowledgeable Kerrville, TX bankruptcy lawyers can help you and your spouse look at each scenario and determine your best course of action. Call our office today at 210-342-3400 to schedule a free consultation.




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