We are seeing more and more older folks in the office that are struggling with paying their bills and making ends meet, especially those on a fixed income. As expenses increase, monthly retirement payments, including social security, do not increase. That is a recipe for disaster.

There is no upper age limit on filing for bankruptcy. Although as more older folks visit us for help with bankruptcy, some do have retirement savings they want to protect. The good news is that if you file bankruptcy, you will, most always, not lose your retirement savings. The only possible exception is if you had put a very large amount of funds into the retirement or 401k just before filing bankruptcy. The federal exemption laws, and most state exemption laws, do protect your retirement savings from going to pay your creditors. A few years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the retirement exemption is very broad and applies to most all types of retirement, including ESOP’S, or employee stock ownership plans. This was great news for consumers. When you meet with an attorney, be sure to disclose all types of retirement plans that you currently have.

As with any issue involving bankruptcy or your finances that you are concerned about, I urge you to contact the nearest, well qualified bankruptcy attorney to answer your questions. In our office, we offer a free, one hour consultation to discuss your issues, and I am sure most attorneys with the National Bankruptcy Forum do as well.