Parental Debt and Bankruptcy: What You Need to Know

  1. Personal Bankruptcy
  2. Parental Debt and Bankruptcy: What You Need to Know
Mother and daughter reviewing finances

According to recent data, the number of older adults with debt and financial problems is increasing. The number of older adults who have filed for bankruptcy has tripled in the last 30 years. If you are unsure of your parent’s financial situation, it may be time to sit down, review their finances and offer them help with their bills and finances.

Most parents do not tell their children about their financial situation because they don’t want to burden them. However, if your parents are struggling to pay their bills, their ability to support themselves may be at risk if they do not find a way to alleviate their debts.



Another reason older adults do not tell their children or others about their financial problems is due to the social stigma that comes from being in debt. There is a misconception from some that heavy debt is a result of someone making bad financial decisions. But according to many economists, rising debt among adults 65 years and older could be due to changes in healthcare and retirement that have shifted costs to them:

  • Many employers switched retirement plans from company-backed pensions to 401(k) plans.
  • The qualification age for Social Security has increased.
  • Healthcare companies expect the insured to pay more of their medical expenses, while medical expenses increase.

With these increased expenses, it is no wonder older adults may be forced to take on more debt to pay for everyday basic expenses. The decrease in income and increase in expenses makes older adults extremely vulnerable to accumulating debt.



Parents who are considered baby boomers were raised by a generation that was averse to debt because they grew up during the Great Depression. Their philosophies were conveyed to the next generation. This could affect their views on bankruptcy. If your parents are unwilling to consider bankruptcy, you should explain the benefits of filing for bankruptcy to them:

  • If they file, creditor harassment stops immediately.
  • They will be able to discharge most of their unsecured debts, which includes medical bills and credit cards, at the end of the bankruptcy process.
  • They can protect valuable assets such as their home and retirement accounts.

Continue to explain to them that bankruptcy exists to protect  people who are unable to repay all of their debts. For peace of mind, your parents should seriously consider filing for bankruptcy if their debts have gotten out of control.



If you or a family member are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should contact Leslie Craft at Craft Law Firm. An experienced, eastern North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer, Leslie can answer all your questions about the bankruptcy and get the process of filing started. To schedule a free consultation, call 252-752-0297 or email us.

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