My elderly mother for whom I am caregiver and have power of attorney is in debt to three credit cards (Discover, Citi, Chase) and has a total income of $2,000 a month from social security and a pension, due to a combination of depleted savings, rising costs, and other expenses, etc. we can no longer meet minimum payments on all three cards.
Added together they would take almost half her monthly income just to meet minimums and makes no dent in the balance and there are certain months like when insurance premiums are due it would be impossible to pay everything.
I have tried and tried to negotiate with the cards to get lowered monthly payments but they won’t. We are both so afraid and worry all the time now about getting sued as we are now 3 to 4 months behind on all payments. I just don’t know what to do. I have no lump sums lying around, I cannot work outside the home due to being a caregiver for her, and we have nothing of value to sell anymore we already sold off her doll collection to pay off one card that had the smallest balance. And there are so many companies out that that advertise being able to cut debt but there are so many complaints and scams I just don’t know what to do. I am so tired of feeling afraid and like a hunted animal all the itme. Can you please give me some advice?
First off, bless you for being a caregiver. It is a tough job and certainly takes its toll on the caregiver as well.
If your mother has no other assets, like equity in a home, or stocks and stuff, then one option is actually to do nothing and let the creditors sue you. If your mother is only receiving a pension and social security the creditors can’t garnish that income.
Your mother would fall into what is commonly called being “judgment proof.” It is actually a bit of a misnomer. Being judgement proof does not mean she won’t get sued and get a judgment against her, it just means that the judgment can’t be collected on.
This route would prevent the sale of more items around the house and knowing what the consequences are, which is not much, it may be easier for you to deal with. It will also not cost you a dime so there is no reason to pay any company for help and prevent you from getting ripped off.
So absent any assets your mother may have I would ask you to consider to stop paying those cards, let them flow through the normal collections process, talk to the collectors when they call and honestly explain the situation, don’t promise to make any payments, and if or when she is sued you can relax about it knowing that it appears there is nothing more the creditors can do.
Since this does involve some potential legal issues, like verifying your mother is truly judgment proof, I would suggest you make a small investment and talk to a local attorney to confirm that.