Credit Cards Key » CreditCardsKey » Bank Credit Cards » Mom can't pay credit cards bills/debt? What now?

  #1 (permalink)
: My mom is on pension retired and only gets her social security money that's around $1,000 monthly. She has a paid-off home worth $400K. She has about $20K in credit card debt now that she can not pay off because she will starve if she does considering her social security payments. What are her options? What will happen if she does not pay and in case she files for bankruptcy, can they take away her paid-off house from here even though she only owes $20K while the house is $400K? She's nervous that she might lose her home to the banks although my dad's name is on that house too and they are married still. My dad doesn't have an issue with his credit cards...only my mom. Will this affect their home and my father too? What are their option when they can't pay off that $20K any longer. They worked until last year and made the payments, but now they are no longer able considering the small retirement they are getting. Will my mom get sued? If so, what is the usual outcome? The amount they both get each month from pension is used on food and gas and their HOA fee ad they are back to zero at the end of the month, so it doesn't leave them with extra money on anything else. I help them out property tax twice a year, since I will be inheriting the house, but I can not cover their debt. Please advise as my mom is worried about herself. If she refused to pay the rest of that $20K left what would happen to her? Looks like that's the only option her since she has no extra money at all left

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  #2 (permalink)
: Sounds like she should sell that nice house and use the money to pay off debt and buy a home that's a little less expensive.
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  #3 (permalink)
: Two choices, sell the house or look into a reverse mortgage.
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  #4 (permalink)
: If she files chapter 7 bankruptcy over $20K of credit card debt, the court is not going to let her keep that $400K almost completely paid for house, even if only half the equity is hers.

Assuming your parents still live together and that your father has income, they need to sit down and do a realistic budget. Eliminate all the unnecessary crap and TOGETHER work on paying off those credit cards.

It could very well be that they can no longer afford that home and need to sell it, buy something a lot cheaper, pay off all the debts, and put some money in the bank for emergencies.
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  #5 (permalink)
: If they are old enough, then it may be possibly to get a "reverse mortgage". The way this work is that they get some money now, and it doesn't have to be repaid until they move out of the house, sell it, or die. They can use the money from the reverse mortgage to pay the $20,000 and the HOA fees and buy food, but you'll have to find a way to repay it when they die, or you won't get the house.
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  #6 (permalink)
: She needs to take a job to get out of debt and save for retirement not just quit and have you support them.
If she files bankruptcy she will have a payment plan for 5 years to pay off the old debt. She may lose other assets like a car. If she simply quits paying her debts she may get sued but they can't garnish her SS check so she may be judgement proof if she has no other assets. In a community property state your father is also liable for her debts.

The good news is she won't be able to get more debt with low income and bad credit so will have to learn to live within her means.

They might need to sell the house they can't afford it. What will you do when they need a new roof or furnace or something and have no money or credit?
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  #7 (permalink)
: First thing to do is cancel those accounts but make payment plan with them.
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  #8 (permalink)
: I don't understand why she cant make minimum payments on her credit card when there is no rent or mortgage payment and you are covering their prop taxes. If they cant manager their money better than that then they need to sell the house. Their first concern needs to be supporting themselves in their old age not leaving the house for you to inherit... it isn't anyones birthright to inherit their parents house.
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  #9 (permalink)
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