Why More Elderly Americans Are Passing Debt On To Their Families

I always thought of Grandma as the penny-pinching, coupon-clipping type. So I was more than a little surprised when, after she passed away, we learned that she'd left Grandpa with thousands of dollars in debt.

Sadly, it's becoming an even more common scenario in today's economy. Rising healthcare costs and medication prices coupled with dwindling retirement portfolios are leaving seniors with little choice but to put their everyday necessities on a credit card, ringing up debt that they may not live to pay off. And that's bad news for all of us, say Chicago bankruptcy lawyers.

Dealing with the pressures of overwhelming debt is difficult enough as it is; knowing that you may be passing it on to your children and grandchildren can only make the situation more stressful. But because many seniors are retired and only receive money from pensions and Social Security, they just don't have the funds to pay down credit card debt.

In a best case scenario, our aging relatives may be able to delay retirement and keep their incomes a little longer before drawing Social Security. But that's not always the case - many seniors are already retired. While aggressive creditors can't force us to pay the debts of our parents and grandparents, they can take the amount owed directly out of their estates when they pass on - meaning Grandma's house might be up for grabs if she wasn't able to pay off all her bills.

If you have an aging relative struggling with debt - or you're concerned about how the debt you hold today will affect your own future retirement - know that the sooner you get things under control, the better. In a perfect world, we'd all be able to save enough to get out of debt. But if that's just not a reality, the next best solution is to get help. Bankruptcy is a guaranteed way to lower debt when we can't do it alone. For more information about bankruptcy and debt, consider attending one of our free community financial workshops - or sign up for a free one-on-one debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

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