We got a call about three o’clock the other afternoon from someone who wanted to come in that afternoon and file bankruptcy that day.
When my partner hesitated, the caller responded, “Well , you are open now aren’t you?”
I had a mental image of one of those parking lot, drive up coffee vendors, selling “bankruptcy” instead of java. Would that the information gathering for bankruptcy was that easy.
When Congress “reformed” bankruptcy, they added pointless additional hoops to jump through. They hoped that it would seem too daunting for people to use bankruptcy.
All Congress succeeded in doing was making attention to detail and a good bankruptcy lawyer more important. It didn’t extinguish the need for bankruptcy.
Nor did “reform” make bankruptcy any less effective.
What bankruptcy requires
The general “bankruptcy bargain” is that the debtor provides full financial disclosure and the system provides a discharge of debts. (It’s somewhat more complicated than that, but that describes the overview).
The bankruptcy papers include
- Future budget
- Financial history
- Means test information
- Intentions about secured debts
None of this is particularly difficult. It’s just required. And paper-heavy. More about your bankruptcy papers.
What client has to do
We’ve experienced a spate of clients who think that because they’ve signed a representation agreement and provided us with some information, their work is done.
Usually the information is incomplete, ’cause they either don’t read, don’t think about the “bankruptcy bargain”, or can’t believe that we really need all that information.
Believe me, we wouldn’t ask for it if it wasn’t necessary.
Staggering in our door and paying us money just gets you out of the starting blocks in the Bankruptcy Relay.
The finish line is getting the discharge, and there are miles to run between those two points.
I’ll pour a cup of coffee and get down to work.
Mistakes to avoid before you see a lawyer
Interviewing a bankruptcy lawyer
List it or lose it: intangibles in bankruptcy
Image courtesy of AdamL212