I have credit cards i canceled but can't pay payment.My interest & late fees keep building. I have medical bills i can't pay. I am disabled, on fixed income. If i don't pay, can they take me to court, can they take my house & car? Freeze my bank account? Don. What should i do ?
3 Answers from Attorneys
If you are sued, your car, money/bank account, etc are at risk. See a lawyer to weigh your options which may include bankruptcy.
If a creditor gets a judgment against you, then they can have a writ of execution issued called a writ of fieri facias (or FiFa for short). With a FiFa, the creditor has the ability to garnish wages (if you work for someone else), levy a bank account or seize any assets owned free and clear.
Will they do all of these things? It depends on your circumstances. If you are on a fixed income, of what type? Social Security? If so, its exempt and cannot be touched. You own a house. How is it titled? Is it paid for or mortgaged? If there is a mortgage on the home, chances are its safe from a sheriff sale. However, any judgment will act as a lien on any real property that you own and would have to be satisfied if you sold the real property.
What about your car? What's it worth? How is it titled? Is it financed or owned free and clear? If the car is just in your name, paid for and worth $10,000 or more it is at risk of seizure by a judgment creditor. If its a beat up car with high mileage that is worth less than $5,000, its probably not at risk even if owned free and clear because sheriff's sales do not bring in all that much money. However, it would depend on what you owe. If its owned jointly with someone else, the car is probably safe from seizure as the other's person's property cannot be taken to satisfy your debts.
But you do need to have all your options weighed and your circumstances reviewed. Your options can range from doing nothing to litigating to saving for debt settlement to filing bankruptcy.
I have some possible ideas for you depending on your circumstances. The good news is that if your accounts just went into default now, you have some time to decide what you are going to do and make some plans. If you wish to discuss your case in confidence and are interested in a non-litigation non -bankruptcy option, then please email me at rachelforjustice.com. Email consults are free; there is a reasonable charge for phone consults or document review.
I agree with the other answers, as well as the options they have given you. Go and sit down with a bankruptcy lawyer for a free consultation about what can and should be done. Being on a fixed income means that there is no magic event which will make you suddenly able to pay everything off, but you might be able to get rid of it through other, legal means, and protect your property in the meantime.