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Financial mistakes and bankruptcy

In the 2017 fiscal year, individuals in the United States filed a total of 767,721 personal bankruptcies in the federal courts. Residents of Mississippi may benefit from learning about some common mistakes people make that may lead them to file for bankruptcy.

Things to consider before filing for personal bankruptcy

While bankruptcy cases have been decreasing in Mississippi and across the U.S. since the end of the Great Recession, many consumers still need to file for bankruptcy protections each year. However, experts say that people need to understand a few key points before deciding to file for personal bankruptcy.

Bankruptcies among elderly population rising rapidly

Researchers have identified a startling new trend in bankruptcy filings. They have gone up significantly for elderly people in Mississippi and nationwide. Since 1991, the number of filings from people over the age of 65 went up by 480 percent by 2016. When looking at the filings from people over 75, the increase during that period approached 1,000 percent.

Automatic stay in bankruptcy halts creditor collection efforts

When people in Mississippi file for bankruptcy, the court issues an automatic stay that prohibits creditors from continuing to seek payment. Although issues like multiple bankruptcy filings could interfere with the immediate issuance of an automatic stay, the court order typically becomes effective as soon as debtors file their bankruptcy paperwork and lasts until the discharge of debts. Creditors might initially violate the stay in the first couple of weeks after a filing because they have not yet processed the notice about a bankruptcy. Unless evidence shows that creditors willfully violated a stay, they will likely avoid legal consequences unless they persist with collection efforts.

Student loans could become easier to discharge

Generally speaking, those who have student loan debt in Mississippi and any other state are unlikely to have it discharged in bankruptcy. However, recent trends have seen bankruptcy judges reduce the amounts that debtors are asked to repay. Furthermore, lenders themselves have been increasingly open to the idea of settling student loan debt for less than the full balance owed. Judges may be more sympathetic to student loan debtors because they see the impact it has on their own children.

Getting a handle on debt

It is not uncommon for individuals in Mississippi and other states to have debt. In 2018, Americans held more than $1 trillion in combined credit card debt balances. Individuals may also have personal loan, payday loan or medical debt to contend with in addition to mortgages or student loan balances to pay down. To help a person better handle his or her finances, it can be a good idea to list all the debts he or she has.

What to consider before filing for bankruptcy

If a Mississippi resident is having trouble paying down his or her debt, it may make sense to think about filing for bankruptcy. By taking this step, an individual can obtain a stay of creditor contact and certain actions such as wage garnishment. However, the bankruptcy will be noted on a credit report and stay there for up to 10 years for those who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How to make a financial recovery from bankruptcy

People in Mississippi who are considering bankruptcy might wonder if they will be able to recover financially. One study by Lending Tree found that three years after a bankruptcy, people applying for a mortgage without a bankruptcy on average only paid about 19 bps less than those with a bankruptcy. Two years after a bankruptcy, around 65 percent of people had brought their credit score up to 640 or more.

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