Your grandmother needs to see a Bankruptcy lawyer. This is not a decision made after a couple sentences of second hand information, beyond some general observations. A lawyer will have many more questions that need to be answered. They can also tell you how much they will charge (this website is not a law firm that handles cases and quotes fees - though lawyers in the areas may respond with a range).
I agree with my colleague. In many cases a person who is on fixed income social security, with no real assets and real estate, will not file bankruptcy as they are deemed judgment proof (ie. even if the creditor obtains a judgment, there are no assets or funds to pay the judgment). However, some people will file to avoid the harassment of a senior citizen, although there may be non-bankruptcy options in that regard. The is a question to be posed to a good bankruptcy attorney.
Have her obatin a consultation from a good bankruptcy attorney who can evaluate her circumstances and issues to provide the best advice.
The response given is general in nature and based upon limited information. It does not and cannot replace that of a proper consultation with a qualified attorney. You should not act upon this Information alone, but should seek legal counsel prior to taking any action.
If your mother's entire income comes from SS, she is "judgment proof" as creditors cannot garnish SS. To give her peace of mind, I suggest she consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Good luck.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
I agree with the other answers that one cannot get good advice here with the level of detail lacking in the question. It is up to your mother to make the decision after consultation with an attorney. Just superficially, it appears that your mother is a candidate for Chapter 7.
Posting questions anonymously and receiving general answers do not substitute for consulting with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which you live. Answers posted here by Kevin C Gleason are only intended for general education of the public on legal matters. Please consult a qualified professional before deciding what to do about your situation.
These are some of the most common types of cases. Pull a credit report to see if there is any more debt out there. We do these cases very cheap because we do them all the time. Meet with a BK lawyer!
Based on the information you have provided, it sounds as if your mother is probably judgment-proof, meaning that even if she defaulted, her creditors would not be able to collect anything from her. However, as my colleagues above have noted, filing bankruptcy could possibly give her some peace of mind and protect her from harassment. To make an informed decision, she should really consult with a bankruptcy attorney, so that she understands all of her options. Regarding fees, the court charges a filing fee of $306. Attorney's fees vary, but I can tell you that my fees for a chapter 7 begin at $1,300, but can be higher, depending on the circumstances.