Sometimes, we’ll have younger clients come in for their free consultations and ask if they’re old enough to file for bankruptcy. While there are government-set age limits for driving, voting, and drinking, there’s no age restriction for bankruptcy.
In fact, the absence of an age limit for bankruptcy made the news back in 1998, when a 10 year old in Maryland filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Yes, you read that correctly – a 10 year old filed for bankruptcy.
It’s actually an incredibly sad story. 10 year old Shawn Powell, his younger brother and sister became orphans after their father died of liver disease – their mother had died a year before in a car accident. Their uncle moved into their parents’ home to take care of them, but wasn’t able to maintain payments on the mortgage, and they were faced with foreclosure.
The Washington Post wrote a story during the proceedings, explaining that Shawn filed for bankruptcy to delay the foreclosure so that he and his siblings could collect $100,000 from their father’s life insurance policy. Once they had the insurance payout, they could pay what they owed and keep the family home.
The bankruptcy filing listed Shawn’s personal property – clothes and toys valued at a total of $200. Since Shawn was filing for Chapter 13, he had to disclose his income, which was only $327 in monthly Social Security survivor benefits.
In the end, Shawn dismissed his own bankruptcy in 1999. The media jumped on the story when Shawn filed, and he was interviewed by multiple reporters, including Montel Williams and Barbara Walters. The public rallied to the Powell children’s cause and donated over $34,000. After the media attention, the mortgage company agreed to delay the foreclosure until the insurance payment was received.
Regardless of your age, bankruptcy can be the source of a second chance in life. Depending on your personal situation, bankruptcy can provide the time you need to restructure your finances and catch up on debts.
If you’re faced with an impending foreclosure or struggling with overwhelming debt, call us today at 214-760-7777 for a free consultation. We’ll walk you through all of your options, so you understand how bankruptcy works and how it can help.