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Terry L.
Terry L., Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 2597
Experience:  Better Business Bureau. 18yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar Assoc. American Bankruptcy Institute member.
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I live in Maryland and have been diagnosed with my third reoccrence

Customer Question

I live in Maryland and have been diagnosed with my third reoccrence with cancer. My first surgery for cancer was in 2007 and included removal of a kidney, and I was out of work for approximately 3 months. I had significant complications later in 2007 which required another 3 months off of work between 2007 and 2008. I was hospitalized in 2009. In 2010 I had another reoccurrence of cancer which resulted in removal of a tumor next to my aorta as well as my spleen, adrenal gland, and part of my pancreas. Significant life-threatening complications required another hospitalization. This surgery and complications required me to be out of state in NY for 3 months and be out of work for approximately 5 months. Another tumor has been discovered, which means it is likely metastizing. From the very first occurrence I attempted to pay my bills, and offered to make lesser payments to my creditors due to circumstances, which they denied. For the majority of my bills (appx 70%) I have paid the amount used/borrowed but am sunk by the interest (29.6%). I also have back taxes I am making payments on as well as student loans. I am making a relatively good income, but there is no way I can catch up, especially knowing that I have at least two more suregeries to undergo. Given that my recovery times are increasing, it is reasonable to expect 3-5 months for each. Not to speak of the possibility that this is metastizing. I have been told that I should wait until I go in for surgery before doing anything. Really, I am fighting for my life, and I should be trying to wrangle this situation when I have repeatedly tried to work with my creditors in good faith (even though they have refused)? I really need advise in how to do a bankruptcy before I go in the hospital, have more reoccurrences, fight for my life, etc. There must be a way to declare bankruptcy in advance by showing the past catastrophic incidents and the fact that they will be reoccurring. Either with a Chapter 7 or a chapter 13 with a nearly complete discharge of the debt based on hardship?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 5 years ago.
Hi JACustomer,
You should be able to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 before going to the hospital for surgery. There is no rule that would prevent this.
You can file a Chapter 7 - which is the preferred type because you do not have to pay anything to unsecured creditors to have your debts discharged - if your household income is below the state median. If your income is too high, you should be able to file a Chapter 13 - which requires monthly payments for up to 5 years.
What additional information do your need?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have already determined that I am above the means test which would usually preclude a Chapter 7. Additionally, I do understand the payment plans for the Chapter 13 ... the question is: how do I file for a payment plan when in the future my income is going to go to nearly zero for months at a time, on at LEAST two occasions. By default, your answer implies that in order to justify minimizing the payment plan due to circumstances, I will have to wait to file just prior to surgery and then have a provider wheel me in for the hearing OR try to set up a Chapter 13, then while I'm in the hospital have myself wheeled into court for a hardship hearing in the midst of trying to survive the cancer. It is hard to believe that there is no avenue for this.