Should I declare bankruptcy right now if I'm just starting to receive letters from collections agencies for a recent hospital stay? 9 Answers as of March 22, 2017

I also owe $15,000 in credit card debt which I do pay responsibly every month. I don't have a job and haven't earned more than a few hundred dollars a month (off the books) for many years. My main concern is that I have $14,000 in the bank to live off of for now and I'm worried the agencies may get a judgment against me and levy the account. Should I declare bankruptcy now? Will I lose that $14,000 if I do? I also have agoraphobia and can't make it to see a lawyer. Are there any who make house calls?

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Eranthe Law Firm
Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
Did you ask the hospital what programs they may have to help you out? Most have forgiveness programs you might qualify for and all of the them accept payment plans. If not, I would try that first. Call some local knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyers and talk to them. The closer to where you live, the better. You should get a plan in place in case you are sued on the debt. You have not provided enough information to say whether you can exempt/protect the money you have in the bank. It is possible that you can keep it. Once a lawsuit is filed you will have a minimum of 30 days before a judgment could be taken. If you have a plan in place, you will be able to file your case before any money can be taken from your account.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/22/2017
OlsenDaines | Rex Daines
Yes, you should definitely file immediately. There is no benefit to waiting but there is a large risk if someone garnishes you. Also, most attorneys can work with you through the mail and email, but you MUST attend one hearing to complete the case.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 3/20/2017
Timothy Casey Theisen, P.A. | Tim Theisen
Yes, you can file bankruptcy now, and you can protect the $14,000. Actually, the amount you can protect his $13,000, but after paying the attorneys fees, you should be under that. And I do house call too, if you are in the metro area. Ultimately, you will need to appear at what is called a creditors meeting. If your phobia preclude this, I can see what we can do about alternative arrangements.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 3/20/2017
Ferguson & Ferguson
Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
Talk to an attorney on the phone now. Get money out if bank if they get a judgment.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 3/20/2017
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
No, you should not declare bankruptcy. The trustee will force you to turn over the $14,000. You should probably consider filing for disability.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 3/20/2017
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    Some lawyers will make house calls in extraordinary situations, and your agoraphobia might be one such situation. You might want to consider moving your $14,000 to a place where creditors cannot reach it. If you file a BR in a state which permits use of the federal exemptions, and if you do not own real estate, you could very likely exempt all or nearly all of the money. Do consult a lawyer. It's almost always worth the investment.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 3/20/2017
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    If you file for bankruptcy you will have to attend one hearing. And, I don't think you need to file now. You are a long way from getting a judgment against you. In the mean time log all phone calls you receive. If the number of calls is excessive you may wind up with a claim against the creditor.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/19/2017
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    Unless that $14,000 is eligible for an exemption available to you, should you file bankruptcy, you would lose that money, and it would be eaten up by trustee commissions and payments on debt. Unless and until you have a court judgment against you, or owe the government or government linked debts, the money should be safe in a bank account. However, I would not keep all the eggs in one basket and have your savings in several accounts with small, rather than national institutions. You may want to meet with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss exemption planning or asset protection. Unfortunately, asset protection attorneys are woefully ignorant of the strategies to use when someone plans a bankruptcy in the future, so I would stay away from them.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/19/2017
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    You can get rid of the debt and keep your cash. A case may be done using just phone and internet but you must show up for a brief hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/18/2017
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