So sorry to hear of your dilemna. I will strive to provide you with legal information to assist you.
I am a lawyer with 25 years experience. Although I am not your attorney, I hope that I can give you helpful legal information on this open and nonconfidential forum.
Your niece may want to consider a chapter 7
bankruptcy. It will allow her to begin to reestablish her credit within a year. I will explain.
As an individual, there are two types of bankruptcy available. A Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13
. There are distinct differences in between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy could discharge (erase) all of her unsecured debt such as credit cards, judgments and personal loans. It would be an opportunity for a fresh financial start. However, she may have to surrender assets, if any, that exceed her exemption.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan
for an individual. It may require that she repay some of your unsecured credit card debt
over a 3 -5 year period. However, she may retain assets that exceed your exemption.
Here are the exemptions for New York:
Your niece will want to retain bankruptcy counsel to assist her in filing the petition
. Although she may legally file herself without an attorney, bankruptcy is a complex procedure that is best handled with legal counsel.
Best wishes for a successful outcome. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to submit them to me directly.