Monday, May 17, 2010

Where's MY Bailout?!

With the economic turmoil that has well entrenched itself in the United States now starting to develop in Europe, and economic experts on both sides of the Atlantic saying something ranging from "we're not out of the woods yet" to "the worst is yet to come", it seems that we all have continued interest (and perhaps suspicion) regarding the concept of the "government bailout".

We all learned that the U.S. Government would be spending billions of dollars bailing out General Motors, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Bank of America and AIG, and now, there are discussions of the European Union bailing out the entire government of Greece. With the billions (trillions?) of dollars at stake in these government sponsored bailouts, many people have asked, often rhetorically:

"I am overwhelmed with credit card debt; I've been out of work for months; these unexpected medical bills are piling up - I don't know what do do. Now, I'm so far behind, I can't even afford the minimum payments, and I fell behind on my mortgage - I might loose my house. Where's MY bailout?"

Surprisingly, there is a program that, if you qualify, will permit an individual, a business, or a family to seek relief of certain debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, even certain types of civil judgments so that they may be paid off for pennies on the dollar, or, often, discharged entirely. Even more surprisingly, this is not a new program: it is the Bankruptcy laws of the United States.

But wait...BANKRUPTCY? That's not a bailout. It hurts my credit!

That is true. All actions have consequences, and the government bailouts we see in corporations have their own consequences. The public trust in these businesses may be shaken, profits may be hurt, and their corporate credit will suffer. I will not attempt to equate personal bankruptcy with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; my comparison is only an analogy, but I will maintain that if you are in a untenable financial situation, you do have options to protect your self, your assets, and your family. For more information regarding your own personal "bailout", contact Kelsey & Trask, P.C. for an initial bankruptcy consultation. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your situation and address the benefits and risks of bankruptcy, as well as alternatives to bankruptcy, such as debt settlement.

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