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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > Seniors Need To Be Strategic About Debt, Too

Seniors Need To Be Strategic About Debt, Too


Some retirees drive north for the summer and south for the winter, while others soak up the Florida sun all year.  For every retiree who spends Saturday afternoons playing bridge, there is one who spends Saturday afternoons at the public library.  One retiree’s preferred form of physical exercise might be tennis while another prefers swimming.  For every grandmother who is in constant contact with her grandchildren by text message, there is another whose phone more frequently lights up with new messages from her Millennial Golden Girls What’s App group.  The only thing that all retirees have in common is that they no longer derive income from employment.  Planning for retirement means planning to reduce your expenses to something you can afford without a steady stream of employment income.  If you have not paid off all the debts you incurred during your working years by the time you retire, as many of us have not, you will need to account for these in your retirement plans.  A Tampa estate planning lawyer can help you face the facts about your debts and your impending retirement.

Can You File for Bankruptcy After You Retire?

You can file for bankruptcy at any age, but filing for bankruptcy protection tends not to give seniors as much debt relief as it does for younger people.  The debts that are easiest to discharge in bankruptcy are medical debts and credit card debts, which are also the ones that are likely to become the subject of business to consumer lawsuits.  If your debts are related to student loans or court-ordered obligations, bankruptcy will not help.

Your retirement accounts and Social Security income are safe from collection efforts by creditors, whether you file for bankruptcy or not.  Sometimes all you need is a lawyer to tell the creditors to walk the plank.  Another reason not to file for bankruptcy is that your home equity can count against you, and retirees tend to have more home equity than younger folks.

When Debt Is Your Reality

An estate planning lawyer can help you no matter your financial circumstances.  Estate plans are not only for people who are trying to choose between spending their retirement in a senior McMansion in Florida or a Baby Boomer Enrichment Center in Manhattan.  Your lawyer can help you think strategically about reducing your expenses so that you can qualify for Medicaid nursing home care if you need it.

You will have to address your debts sooner rather than later, though, so they do not follow your estate all the way to probate court and become the personal representative’s problem.  Your lawyer can help you figure out which debts to service, which to settle, and which, if any, to ignore.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Retirement and Debt

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you make wise and realistic financial decisions regarding your retirement and your outstanding debts.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.

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