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A study published in the September 2010 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s ABI Journal shows that a disproportionate percentage of recent bankruptcy petitioners have come from the Baby Boom generation. The study, “Aging and Bankruptcy Revisited,” was based on data from as far back as 1994, and found that 42 percent of individual bankruptcy filers in 2007 were between the ages of 45 and 64. The growth in bankruptcy applicants over 55 is outpacing the aging of the American population, with an increase of 61 percent over a five-year period starting in 2002.

There are several reasons why consumers in this age group have increasingly turned to bankruptcy as the foundation of a personalized debt relief strategy, but one looms large. “The recent housing crisis has worsened the already precarious financial condition of many older Americans,” study authors John Golmant and James A. Woods of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts wrote. The study revealed that states where the home price index decreased had a 118 percent increase in bankruptcy filings.

States such as Arizona, Nevada and Florida were particularly hard hit by the housing bubble’s burst, which left many homeowners with zero or negative home equity and no debt cushion. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, bankruptcy filings have continued to increase since the study period. The Arizona Republic recently reported that local filings reversed a four-month downward trend with an August increase, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Arizona expects 2010 bankruptcies to show a 20 percent increase over last year.

Taking Charge of Overwhelming Debt

Other financial factors have led Baby Boomers to reconsider their personal situations and take initiative to enhance their long-term financial security. Job losses and downsizing have forced many to accept lengthy periods of unemployment or significantly reduced incomes. A career-related loss of health insurance or one spouse’s life insurance can create serious challenges during a serious illness or after an unexpected death. Steep increases in college tuition have placed additional burdens on aging parents.

The bankruptcy process can provide major relief to couples and individuals who find themselves surrounded by debt on every front. By filing for bankruptcy, you can put an immediate stop to foreclosure, repossession and debt collector harassment via an automatic stay. Just as important, you can do so while retaining possession of certain assets.

Holding on to Crucial Assets

Bankruptcy does not mean that you have to forfeit everything you own to satisfy creditors. Certain assets are protected, including the most important property that many people own, the equity in their home. In Arizona, a homeowner can retain $150,000 of the value of a primary residence.

But the list of exempted property also includes home furnishings, electronics, appliances, books and motor vehicles up to a specific level of value. One of the most important parts of the bankruptcy process is a thorough review of your assets, obligations and income to assess your eligibility for the full range of bankruptcy protections.

Flexibility via Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

One basic distinction in all consumer bankruptcies is whether the petitioner qualifies for a Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy, which discharges most debts, or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows you to create a three- to five-year plan to pay down non-housing related secured debt and discharge a portion or all of your unsecured debt.

Eligibility lies in a variety of relevant factors, including recent income, current expenses, utility payments, mortgage payments and other monthly loan obligations. At a first consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, you can find immediate answers about your options.

A Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help You Find Your Financial Footing

While bankruptcy is a relatively straightforward and predictable process for those who are eligible, it is a decision that few people take lightly. Before settling on any comprehensive debt relief strategy, you must take an honest look at a variety of factors, including earnings prospects, spending habits, lifestyle choices and the effect on your future credit rating.

But that is no reason to shy away from the real solutions provided by bankruptcy and other options such as debt settlement, short sales and loan modification. By working closely with a lawyer who is ready to explain the advantages and pitfalls of different paths to financial relief, clients can focus on improving their circumstances at any stage of life.

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  • Phoenix Office – New
    Wright Law Offices 
    2999 N. 44th St., Ste 600
    Phoenix AZ 85018 

    Telephone: 602-456-6085 / 866-703-3287
    Phoenix Law Office
  • Phoenix Office – Old
    Wright Law Offices 
    668 N. 44th St., Ste 320
    Phoenix AZ 85008 

    Telephone: 602-456-6085 / 866-703-3287
    Phoenix Law Office
  • Scottsdale Office 
    Wright Law Offices 
    7135 East Camelback Road, Ste 230
    Scottsdale AZ 85251 

    Telephone: 480-845-0145 / 866-703-3287
    Scottsdale Law Office

  • Tempe Office 
    Wright Law Offices 
    2238 S. McClintock Dr.
    Tempe AZ 85258 

    Telephone: 480-845-0145 / 866-703-3287
    Tempe Law Office

  • Avondale Office
    Wright Law Offices 
    12725 W Indian School Rd, Suite E-101
    Avondale AZ 85392 

    Telephone: 623-258-4480 / 866-703-3287
    Avondale Law Office

  • Mesa Office
    Wright Law Offices 

    4856 E. Baseline Rd.
    Suite #104
    Mesa, AZ 85206
    Telephone: 480-845-0145 / 866-703-3287
    Mesa Law Office

  • Glendale Office 
    Wright Law Offices 
    20325 N. 51st Ave., Suite 134
    Glendale, AZ 85308
    Telephone: 623-258-4480 / 866-703-3287
    Glendale Law Office

What our clients are saying…

TOP Rated PHOENIX BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

Mr. Wright and his staff were amazing. They made a negative situation a lot better and turned it into a positive. Could really tell they care helping people and I will refer their Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney firm to friends and family. Thanks again.

Tara
TOP Rated PHOENIX BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

I called around looking for the right bankruptcy lawyer and came across Benjamin Wright. He personally called me for the consultation seeing how I live in Kingman AZ. He was very helpful from the start and his staff was very friendly and explained any questions I had, sorry for all the questions. I would definitely recommend Wright law offices, and I do!! Thanks for everything, you made what seemed like a hard thing to do simple!! You guys rock!!!

Steffanie
TOP Rated PHOENIX BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

Great lawyer, he really helped my mother out of a jam. She was totally new to bankruptcy and he talked with us for about an hour and a half to make sure she wouldn’t be worried.

Damian
TOP Rated PHOENIX BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

Ben is a kind and down to earth attorney. He worked around my busy schedule as a single mom (school, full-time job, and daycare pick up and drop off times). He explained absolutely everything to me and was good about e-mailing. I am writing this review as a THANK YOU.

Shannon
TOP Rated PHOENIX BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

I had a very positive experience with Attorney Wright. He or his staff returned my e-mails and calls promptly (even after business hours occasionally). His fees were reasonable. He was patient with me when I showed up in court missing an important document. He is aggressive, but fair and nice.

Jenna