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Chattanooga Bankruptcy Law Blog

Fear of medical debt high in Americans

Medical debt is a problem for many Americans, and as many as one out of every four individuals struggle to stay current on what they owe to their health care providers. In fact, medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the country, and residents of Chattanooga may know firsthand just how financially crippling unexpected medical bills can be.

A recent study found that for many people the fear of incurring a medical bill that they cannot pay is worse than actually receiving a bad medical diagnosis. To state that alarming piece of information another way, more than half of the people surveyed on this topic claimed that they would be more comfortable with a poor medical diagnosis than they would be with receiving an overwhelming medical bill.

Deciding which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never easy. Owing a significant amount of debt can be disheartening and overwhelming, and Tennessee consumers who find themselves in this situation may feel like they do not have a way out. For you, filing for consumer bankruptcy could be an optimal way to find relief from your debt and harassment from creditors.

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is only the first step. If you believe this could be the most appropriate choice for you, it is then important to determine if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is best. This choice depends on the types of debt you owe, your ability to make payments and other factors of your individual financial circumstances.

Make informed decisions before taking on additional credit

Spending money on a credit card is easy because the costs of one's purchases do not automatically come out of their bank accounts. In fact, a Tennessee resident may not see the impact of their credit card spending for several weeks after they make their purchases and not until they receive their credit card statements. At that time they may have already forgotten about what they had bought and may have put themselves into a difficult financial situation when it comes to repaying what they owe.

Having too many credit cards can be one way that people find themselves in this financial dilemma. When they get close to their spending limit on one card they may simply move onto the next one; having many credit cards can get a person into money trouble very quickly. Credit card companies encourage this behavior by sending individuals solicitations for more cards and making it easy for them to acquire additional credit devices.

Homestead exemption is higher for older Tennessee residents

One of the biggest fears that a Tennessee resident may face when considering bankruptcy is the prospect of losing their home. Depending upon the form of bankruptcy the person chooses to pursue, they may have to sell off or liquidate some of their possessions in order to pay their creditors. Homeowners know that that their residences are more than piles of wood and plaster: homes are where families grow, memories are made and lives are lived.

Exemptions are rules that allow bankruptcy filers to protect some of their property from their legal proceedings. That is to say, if a parcel of property is exempt from the bankruptcy process then that parcel may remain the property of the debtor. In Tennessee, the homestead exemption allows a debtor to exempt some of the value of their home in order to help them keep it despite their bankruptcy process.

Ready to talk about bankruptcy? We're here to listen.

Every year hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy. However, few people want to talk about it as a viable option for alleviating their overwhelming financial burdens and outstanding debt. Although many Tennessee residents do it, filing for bankruptcy is sometimes seen as a sign of failure or a stigma on a person's character.

Despite all of this, bankruptcy exists for the simple reason that individuals sometimes need help getting out from under the financial burdens that hold them back. Few who end up in such dire financial predicaments intended to lose control of their finances. In fact, many who begin to consider bankruptcy as a good option were forced to endure emergencies or unexpected costs that pushed them out of the comforts of their monitored spending and into the challenging world of living with debt.

What does the CARD Act do for consumers?

It is hard to imagine living without a credit card. Many Tennessee residents use these financial devices to make online and in-person purchases each and every day. When credit cards are used judiciously and with the complete knowledge of their terms by their holders, they may enable their holders to acquire the things that they both want and need. However, it is not difficult for a person to find that their credit spending has gotten out of control. When it does they may suddenly become familiar with their credit card company's policies for collecting on credit card debt.

Not long ago credit card holders in debt could be harassed and bothered by collectors seeking to compel payments out of those who owed the credit card companies money. However, in 2009 the federal government passed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) that offers consumers a number of protections.

Will one of these options help you keep your house?

As a new year unfolds, it's not uncommon for many Tennessee residents, perhaps including yourself, to be in dire straits concerning financial matters. After all, holidays recently passed, and many people grow dismayed when credit card bills start rolling in and they realize they overextended their budgets. Others have experienced unforeseen medical issues that threw their finances out of whack. No matter the exact causes of your current financial challenges, if you're worried about possibly losing your home, there may be options available to help you.

It's surprising how minor money problems can snowball into serious financial crises. There are often ways to avoid the most serious consequences, such as losing a home to foreclosure; yet, many people are not aware such options exist and often mistakenly assume that, if a lender is threatening to take over ownership of their homes, there is nothing they can do to stop it. By seeking clarification of your rights and implementing creative thinking skills, you stand a good chance of keeping your house and restoring financial stability.

Can I keep my car if I file for bankruptcy?

Although Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a Tennessee debtor to keep their personal property and repay their creditors through a reorganization of their assets and income, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, to some extent, does not. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor is required to sell off or liquidate items of property so that the proceeds may be used to pay off those parties to whom the debtor owes money. With the requirement that property must be sold under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, some debtors may have concerns over what, if any, of their property will get to keep after the process is over.

There are exemptions to the liquidation requirements of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Generally, the items that a debtor is allowed to keep are those items that are necessary for their continued existence. They may keep the clothing that they need for work and leisure as well as the furnishings in their home that they need to get by. They may also keep a vehicle so that they are able to continue to work and improve their financial situation.

A bankruptcy option for those who earn regular income

Bankruptcy is often an option of last resort for Tennessee residents who cannot meet their financial obligations. When they have exhausted their savings, trimmed their budgets and sought assistance with their ongoing financial commitments, they may find that there are simply too few ways for them to manage their debts on their own.

There are several bankruptcy options for individuals who require the support of the courts to get out from under heavy financial burdens, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a good option for those who earn money through paid wages or income.

Manage your medical debt in the New Year

Last week, this Tennessee debt relief and bankruptcy legal blog discussed a very personal financial topic that can cause significant stress in the life of a Chattanooga resident: medical debt.

Medical debt is the financial liability that a person takes on after receiving medical diagnoses and treatments for which he or she is unable to to fully pay. Medical debt can come from an emergency procedure that an individual did not anticipate having to undergo, and it can also form over time as a person seeks treatment for a chronic medical condition.

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

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