As an older American, you probably think that if you decide to go into bankruptcy, it's a sign that you haven't managed your money correctly. That's not the case, and sudden medical bills and financial struggles don't have to mean you have to lose everything you've worked so hard for. Bankruptcy can actually help you protect your assets, so you're not left without a retirement fund or life insurance policy that you've saved for.
Anecdotal evidence shows that many retirees don't seek help for financial issues because of the perceived shame of doing so, but by taking that step early, you have a better chance of saving your assets. Don't wait until your finances spiral completely out of control; if you have some income and some ways to negotiate with creditors, then you'll be in a better position than if you wait years and have nothing left.
As someone who isn't likely to go back to work, protecting your saved assets is going to be key in a bankruptcy. Many items, like your home or vehicle, are protected through bankruptcy exemptions. On top of that, you can negotiate with creditors, helping you reduce your debt before you pay a single dime.
Though it may not seem like it, simply not paying can also be an option. Yes, you may have to go to court and a judgment could be placed against you, but your assets may not be able to be touched by creditors depending on what they are. No matter what your situation is, considering bankruptcy could open up some interesting options
Source: El Paso Plus, "Bankruptcy can help seniors protect assets," Constance Gustke, June 01, 2015