The credit card companies (or in some cases the companies they sold the debt to) have all gotten judgments against me, and most have liens on my home, though I have no intention of selling.
Finally in 2008, my bank account was seized even though I only had $50 in it. Realizing at that point that the likelihod that I can ever pay down this debt, which has grown at an alarming rate, was nil, I met with a bankruptcy attorney and was told I was a perfect candidate for chapter 7 bankruptcy, and that I could keep my home and the liens could even be removed. Even though I’d not wanted to go that route, I was so relieved that this financial stress could finally be over–it was the first time I felt like I could really look forward to a future with a little peace and felt energized for the first time in years. I hadn’t even realized just how much this financial mess had effected every area of my life and potential recovery until then.
Then, the attorney told me that because I would have to provide the previous year’s tax return to the bankruptcy trustee, and that my 2007 return showed the sale of the stocks, I would have to wait until January of 2009 to file so the sale of the stocks and distribution of the cash would not come to the attention of the trustee. Come January of 2009, I met with a second attorney who told me that the trustee will sometimes ask for TWO years tax returns, and that if they did, they would of course see the sale of the stocks and would learn of the transfer of funds to my sister and two friends, and that it was possible that the trustee would not only question them, but could try to recover the monies I distributed to them.
I happen to know that in the case of my sister and one friend, they no longer have the original sums I transferred to them as the one friend used a substantial amount to upgrade her home, and my sister used most of hers to pay for her divorce. I advised the attorney that the trustee would not be able to recover all that money, but more importantly that I absolutely could not take a chance that the trustee could cause trouble for these people who have been very good to me, and I now don’t know what to do to try to move forward with my life and get this financial mess behind me
My monthly Disability check barely covers my monthly expenses and I am always behind in everything besides my mortgage which I’m careful to pay on time. I cannot consider selling the house because I’ve learned it will be impossible to get another mortgage or even rent an apartment because of my destroyed credit. Further, my mortgage payments are similar to what a rent payment would be in my area.
I recently contacted the creditor to whom I owe the most ($28k, even though the original debt was $14k). It’s one of those companies that purchased the original debt from the credit card company and has used aggressive tactics to try to collect from me. They advised me that thousands of dollars in additional attorney’s fees were going to be added to the judgment/lien amount and that unless I could come up with $17k immediately, they would not settle.
My house, which is in New York state, is in terrible disrepair, which is why it appraised low enough for me to stay within the state’s $50k equity exemption in order to qualify for the bankruptcy. My nephew, a contractor, has offered to get my house up to par free of charge, which I have put off in order to keep the value low until I know for sure whether I’m going to try to file for bakruptcy.
I just don’t know what to do to resolve this, and am just very confused now. The stress of watching the debt grow and grow has made me ill and unable to function well. I have opened a new bank account but am in constant fear that it will be seized. I have to cash my Disability checks at a check-cashing business to keep money out of my account. I don’t know how much longer I can continue to live like this. I do have $20k in a 401k, which would not be enough money to settle these accounts, and in attending Debtors Anonymous meetings have been urged to not touch the money in that 401k.
Does anyone have any ideas on other options I may have? I am sick over this and feel trapped.
Again, I apologize for the length of this post, but I didn’t know what I could omit and still give the big picture.
Blessings to all.