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Bankruptcy and other debt relief options

Many people are struggling with consumer debt. Loss of a job, unexpected medical bills and other emergencies can lead to out of control debt and a need for relief. People in Ohio may have a lot of options to consider if they are planning to seek relief.

Situations where creditors make threats and harassing phone calls to consumers in debt might make people reluctant to speak with the organization that owns the debt. However, many creditors are willing to work debtors to resolve issues. A phone call could solve the problem without more drastic action. In some cases, creditors will not work directly with people in debt but are willing to work with agencies dedicated to assisting people with debt relief. Debtors can pay the agencies, allowing a third party to operate between debtors and creditors. Some of these agencies charge fees, but many non-profit organizations will help without seeking payment.

When there is no way to resolve debt with creditors, consumers can take matters into their own hands and file for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are options for individuals with personal debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is called straight bankruptcy and will involve the repossession and sale of many of people's assets. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows people to keep their homes and many assets if they stick with a court-approved repayment plan. Both types of bankruptcy require people to meet certain requirements to file.

An attorney could assist individuals with determining which type of bankruptcy is right for them and might guide people through the bankruptcy process. This might stop foreclosures, wage garnishments and other unpleasant consequences of being in debt. An attorney might also let people know what type of debt will not be erased by bankruptcy so that people can get a complete picture of what they need to do to get control of all their finances.

Source: FTC, "Debt relief or bankruptcy?", December 01, 2014

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