Get Out of Debt Guy

My Mother is on Medicaid and Bank of America is Owed Money

Posted May 1, 2015

Question:

Dear Steve,

Hi - I have a question - my mother is in a nursing home, Medicaid pays for the home - she must turn over her social security and small pension to them each month. She has no money - she has a credit card from Bank of America with $3500-$4000 on it - she is the only user of the card, I am not listed as an authorized user - I have been making the minimum payments - I can no longer afford to do this - what should I do?

Thank you.

Beth

Answer:

Dear Beth,

If you stop paying then Bank of America may try to collect from her but if she has no assets then there is nothing to go after. Even if they decided to sue her and they won, it sounds as if your mother is what people call judgment proof. This just means there are no assets to go after to try and collect the judgment. Typically, public benefits and Social Security are exempt from being garnished.

Alternatively, your mother could file bankruptcy to legally terminate the debt in about 90 days. In this case she would not face any possible tax liability from the charge-off of the debt and it would stop any future collection attempts.

The cost of filing bankruptcy might be around $1,900 when all is said and done but the rapid elimination of the debt and the ensuing quiet might have some value as well for you and your mother. That is a question you will have to consider.

If bankruptcy sounds like the better way to make your mother's future days better without the threat of the debt hanging over her, then I would suggest you talk to a local bankruptcy attorney and discuss her specific situation. Most bankruptcy attorneys will gladly talk to you for free.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.