New report: Tennessee had most bankruptcy filings per capita last year

The Great Recession took a serious toll on the financial stability of individuals and families across the nation. However, recent years have seen a steady, if slow, recovery.

As 2014, gets off to a start, many people are better off than they were five years ago. But, some are not. In fact, while the economic recovery has taken hold in some areas, other regions are still struggling. According to a new report released on January 6, Tennessee is still living under the shadow of the Great Recession, as it had the highest number of bankruptcy filings per capita in 2013.

Tennessee rate of filing for bankruptcy almost double that of national average

According to a year-end report prepared by Epiq Systems Inc. for the American Bankruptcy Institute, bankruptcy filings have now reached their lowest levels since before the financial crisis. Total bankruptcy filings in 2013 for both businesses and individuals were down to 1.03 million, a 13 percent drop from the 2012 total of 1.19 million filings. On average, the last five years have seen 1.32 million bankruptcy filings annually. The 2013 total is the lowest since 2007. The vast majority of the bankruptcy cases over the last five year's were filed by individuals, with just 44,111 bankruptcies filed by businesses in 2013.

Experts predict that the downward trend will continue into 2014. But, not everyone is being equally buoyed by the financial recovery.

The national per capita bankruptcy filing rate was 3.33 per 1,000 people in 2013. Tennessee's per capita bankruptcy filing rate was almost double that, however, at 6.59 bankruptcy filings per 1,000 people. Tennessee had the highest per capita filing rate of any state in the nation. Georgia, Alabama, Utah and Indiana also had unusually high per capita rates of bankruptcy filings.

Burdened with debt? Talk to a Tennessee bankruptcy attorney

While the economic recovery is slowly taking hold in some parts of the country, many residents of Tennessee are clearly still struggling with debt. If you are one of these individuals, a bankruptcy filing could help you discharge debt.

Contrary to popular belief, a bankruptcy filing does not mean that all your possessions will be sold or that you'll never be able to obtain a loan again. On the contrary, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, generous liquidation exemptions allow many filers to keep all or most of their property; in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, filers partially repay debts over a three to five year term before receiving a discharge, and there is generally never a requirement that they give up any property.

In terms of securing loans in the future, a bankruptcy will show up on your credit report for a certain period. But filing could actually improve your current score by eliminating delinquent payments, and you will be able to rebuild credit over time.

If you are one of the many Tennesseans who is still struggling with debt, get in touch with a bankruptcy attorney today. Your Tennessee bankruptcy lawyer can help you decide if bankruptcy is the right way for you to get out of debt and on to a fresh financial start.