New Hampshire may be the place to live free or die, but the cost can be high. The Granite State has a higher level of debt per person than the national average, with medical debt and student debt making up the lion’s share of financial obligations.

The dark days of the Great Recession have been gone for years, but some problems for people with significant debt remain. Some observers are concerned that 2019 began with a 28 percent increase in bankruptcy filings compared to January of last year.

At least 159 people and businesses in New Hampshire filed for bankruptcy protections, the worst start to a year since 2014. However, that is still only half the rate seen during the recession. There was also a significant increase in bankruptcy related to business debt and general business bankruptcies.

This is not necessarily as bad a sign as some may believe. Bankruptcy may be the last resort of people dealing with extreme debt, but it is designed as a way to provide relief to people with limited options. An increase in bankruptcy filings may be more related to old financial problems that are finally turning around.

Bankruptcy is a logical choice for people with liabilities that far outstrip assets who need help dealing with creditors. People dealing with significant debts will want to carefully consider the choice to file for bankruptcy, as a failed filing means more expense at the wrong time.

Legal representation is recommended for people considering bankruptcy for themselves or their businesses. An attorney can help review and file the required paperwork for a successful bankruptcy.