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Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses
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I live in NYC, and I would like to know if one can claim mental

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I live in NYC, and I would like to know if one can claim mental duress or severe depression to keep creditors off
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 5 years ago.
Good morning. Having represented many creditors, I can confirm that they can be relentless. But there are protections against them. They cannot harass you or risk being sued for violation of the fair debt collection practices act. They cannot touch exempt money like social security or retirement accounts. They work on commission and so often will accept payment plans and reductions in balance.

If the creditor is placing you under duress, you can use that as a defense. If not feeling well generally, that can be used in negotiating a settlement. Courts will often take it into account in pressing for a settlement too. That is the practical reality that happens in such cases along side what the law provides as far as collections.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am asking for my brother who actually has been hospitalized for bipolar depression and I want to know if he could use that as a defense to keep his creditors off until he gets better. He went through a divorce and somehow he took on all of his ex-wife credit and now he is served with papers constantly and he is not mentally capable of making any rational decisions and I am worried since we are co-owners of a home , that we will lose our home to these people or banks/creditors.
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 5 years ago.
Legally, it is not a defense. Practically, and in my experience many collection agents will take this into account. One possible solution is to come up with an extended payment plan that lets him get better and get the money together and pay a little bit at a time. I wish the law provided more protection to people undergoing hard times but sadly it leaves it to the parties to sort it out.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am responding on behalf of my older brother, who suffers from bipolar depression and has been hospitalized once in the last 3 years. Can he claim mental duress or his disability to keep his creditors off his back because he cannot make any rational decisions regarding his finances since he hasn't worked in over 10 years, coupled with his recent divorce he is constantly being served papers and I don't know what decisions he has made
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the response. Does he have a guardian or does someone have power of attorney over his assets and financial decisions? If he is not able to make such decisions, that may be prudent to protect him.

What is more, if he is without capacity to enter into agreement, he cannot do so, and that is something the guardian or power of attorney may do for you at his best interest

If claims go to court, judges are often sympathetic of these ailements and will urge creditors to accomodate!!

I wish him well and good health going forward.



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