We ensure that end-of-life plans are in place to protect our clients’ wishes. NYLAG helped Margo with her advance planning, and also relieved her from the burden of crushing debt.


Margo, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor, was struggling to survive on a fixed income of Social Security, food stamps and a small pension. Unfortunately, a major part of her limited income was going toward paying the monthly minimum payments on a 25-year-old credit card debt. Margo had never missed a payment in her life – for more than two decades, she had been making extremely high minimum payments that strained her meager resources. In total, she had paid over $100,000 on an original debt of only $20,000.

Margo initially came to NYLAG for help with a power of attorney and a health care proxy. While helping her to complete these documents in her native Russian, the elder law attorney discovered Margo’s crushing debt and immediately referred her to  a NYLAG financial counselor. The counselor helped her create a detailed budget and organized her monthly bills, including negotiating lower rates on her utilities. During the budget process, the counselor discovered that it would take Margo over 300 years to pay off her credit card debt at her current, unsustainable rate. The counselor called in a NYLAG consumer attorney to help negotiate with Margo’s creditors. Working together, the attorney and financial counselor succeeded in getting the creditors to freeze the interest rate at 0% and lower Margo’s payments from $427 to $88 per month. Thanks to these collaborative efforts, Margo now has more cash each month to cover her necessities, and in four relatively short years, she will be debt free.