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Posted on in medical debt

Borrowing to pay medical debts creates new potential risks. A debt that was easy to discharge in bankruptcy becomes one that you often can’t. 

About one-fourth (26%) of American adults (18-64 years old) reported that they or someone in their household had problems paying medical bills during the previous year. This is according to a 2016 survey by the highly reputable Kaiser Family Foundation, The Burden of Medical Debt. Not surprisingly, more than half of people who did not have health insurance reported such problems. However, more than one-fifth of people who had health insurance still had trouble paying medical bills. So if your medical bills are a challenge for you, you are clearly not alone.

You may have options short of borrowing money to pay off the medical debts. It’s worth contacting the medical creditor—as early as possible—to find out their payment alternatives. Sometimes interest-free repayment plans are available. In some situations, medical providers are willing to negotiate a settlement with you reducing the balance. Especially if you are uninsured, you might even qualify for financial assistance.

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You can avoid the presumptions of fraud, and so discharge more of your credit card debts, by timing your bankruptcy filing right.

This blog post continues a series about the smart timing of your bankruptcy filing started back in July. (It’s been interrupted by urgent blog posts related to the pandemic—about unemployment benefits and the federal eviction moratorium.) The last in this timing series was about how bankruptcy timing helps with income tax liens.

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Here’s an example why to keep an open mind about filing under Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13. Slightly different facts can make all the difference.

Last time we introduced some of the main differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. We suggested that you learn about them but also keep an open mind when you go see a bankruptcy lawyer. At that meeting you will always hear about advantages and disadvantages of each option you didn’t know about. Often you hear for the first time about certain tools that can really help you. So you may end up going a different route than you expected.

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Using a credit card shortly before filing bankruptcy doesn’t seem right. The law agrees. Writing off this kind of debt can be a problem.


Our last blog post was about writing off—“discharging”—income taxes. The conditions you have to meet to discharge a tax debt are mostly very clear. These conditions are based on rather straightforward calculations of time. If you don’t meet those time-based conditions the tax does not get discharged; you still owe it.

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Posted on in Secured Debts

A judgment lien effectively converts a debt that was secured by nothing into one secured by your home.


Has a creditor sued you and gotten a judgment against you? If so, and you own a home, most likely there is now a judgment lien against your home.

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