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Study looks at the timing of bankruptcy filings

For some debtors in Mississippi, waiting to file for bankruptcy could lead to many more financial issues. The Notre Dame Law Review released a report that found that the longer people waited, the more likely their assets would be depleted.

People may want to delay a bankruptcy filing because they feel obligated to pay off their debts or want to avoid what they see as a stigma. The report identified a point at which people began to struggle to afford basic necessities or faced things such as debt collection lawsuits. It found that those who waited at least two years past that point to file bankruptcy had a median debt to income ratio that was 40 percent higher compared to those who filed earlier.

Experts advise that there are several points that may indicate it is time to file. For example, it's a problem when one is paying off debt with more debt. Another indicator is when a person's debts reach 40 percent or more of their income. People who are foregoing basics such as medical care to pay off debts may also want to consider bankruptcy.

It's important to note that not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. While medical and credit card debts can be discharged, student loans and some other types of debts are not eligible.

An attorney may be able to discuss various debt relief options with a client. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally for debtors whose income is below a certain level. People might be able to exempt certain necessary assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to pay creditors over a period of several years while keeping some important assets.

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