Student loans continue to be a significant financial concern for many people in Kentucky, even many years after graduating. Of course, there can be a number of factors contributing to an overall debt burden, including credit cards, medical bills, and mortgages. However, student loans are also some of the most difficult debt to eradicate, especially as it can be nearly impossible to discharge them in bankruptcy. Across the country, over 44 million people owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. This is the second largest category of debt in the United States, behind home mortgages and above credit card bills.
Excessive debts sometimes force people in Kentucky to seek bankruptcy protection multiple times. Bankruptcy law does not limit how many bankruptcies people can file, but waiting periods realistically limit how often people can do it. For someone who has already gone through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, eight years from the date of the previous filing must pass before petitioning for Chapter 7 protection again.
Filing for personal bankruptcy can come with many benefits for Kentucky consumers who are looking to get a handle on their debt. However, it is important to spend time prior to filing learning the process of doing so and what it entails. For instance, debtors are required to disclose all of their debts to the bankruptcy court. They should also be disclosed to the bankruptcy trustee as well as to the debtor's attorney.
Seniors throughout Kentucky and the rest of the U.S. are filing for bankruptcies in alarming numbers, according to a recent report. After studying data gathered by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, a group of academics discovered that the number of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy petitions filed by Americans aged 75 or older had tripled since 1991. In addition, filings by Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 had more than doubled. The results of the study were published on Aug. 5 by the Social Science Research Network.
Student debt is a source of major financial burden for younger generations of Americans. Total student debt stands at $1.4 trillion divided among more than 44 million borrowers as of 2017, and total liabilities are expected to keep rising. Nearly 11 percent of accounts are in default or 90 days delinquent, meaning a significant amount of borrowers are having trouble with their payments. It's nearly impossible for individuals in Kentucky and around the country to discharge their student loan debt in bankruptcy.
The desire to pay bills and avoid potential embarrassment often make people in Kentucky delay a bankruptcy filing. Long-term research by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project shows that from 2013 to 2016, 66 percent of bankruptcy filers had suffered financial hardship for at least two years before seeking legal protection. Close to one-third of those surveyed had struggled for five or more years. Known as long strugglers, the numbers of these debtors have doubled since 2007.
Kentucky residents who are struggling to pay their credit card or other types of debt may find that bankruptcy is an effective solution to their problem. If an individual doesn't have much in the way of assets, he or she may be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This could allow a debtor to eliminate some or all of their unsecured debts while having the option to continue making secured debt payments.
Kentucky residents who are struggling to cope with unmanageable financial situations sometimes put off pursuing their debt relief options due to the stigma surrounding personal bankruptcy. Experts have found that individuals often deal with crushing debts and daily harassment from bill collectors for months or even years before considering a bankruptcy filing. In many cases, a traumatic event such as an unexpected bill, wage garnish or lawsuit prompts them to finally take action.
When Kentucky residents can't afford to pay their bills, voluntary bankruptcy could be a solution. This is a bankruptcy that's initiated by the debtor rather than a creditor. While many different types of debt can be discharged in a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, tax debt may not be one of them. That depends on the facts of a given case.
Filing for bankruptcy is a huge step in any person's life. When you file, it is likely that you will have plenty of fears, and you may even feel guilty. A significant portion of these feelings is likely due to the stigma of bankruptcy: namely that only irresponsible people use bankruptcy to get out from underneath their financial problems.