Lots of people profess to know all about bankruptcy. Whether they have good information or not.
But other professionals should know better than to advise people about the workings of bankruptcy.
And if they don’t know better, they should be made to pay, in some exquisitely painful way, for the harm they inflict.
The rack seems good to me.
The accountant was wrong
The terrified client in my office was told by her accountant that if she filed Chapter 13 to save her home, the court would not allow her to buy prescription dog food for an ailing 16 year old pet!
Further, the accountant went on to declare that in Chapter 13, the debtor could pay only for housing, food and gas: nothing more. No maintenance for the house, no insurance, no clothes, no medical care.
Of course, the accountant was dead wrong. Articulate but wrong.
Means test and budgets in Chap.13
So I explained the operation of Chapter 13, how the means test works, and the balance between the debtor’s reasonable living expenses and the claims of creditors. And assured the client that she can provide for her treasured pet for the balance of its life.
Then I fumed.
I’m resigned in the age of the internet that new clients have encountered lots of bad information on the web. There is no competency examination before anyone with a browser and an internet connection can opine on any subject.
The most trusted advice on a criminal law site recently turned out to be from a 15 year old whose knowledge came from TV!
But the source of this utterly distorted information holds a professional license in another field; that license gave apparent authority to the tales of horror she told my client.
How was the client to know it was tripe, pure tripe?
It took me two hours to find and eradicate the externally caused fears in my client and the self-generated terrors she’d nurtured based on bad information.
Can I count on my readership to bail me out of jail if I find the accountant providing worthless and harmful bankruptcy advice?
How to interview a bankruptcy lawyer
James Michel says
Count on me for some bail money, Cathy! I wonder where that accountant got those crazy ideas. Bankruptcy is not as scary as most people think. Not scary at all for most of my clients!
Damon Day says
This is why the best advice another professional can give a consumer about bankruptcy is… Talk to a competent attorney to get the facts, and then you can make a decision after you really understand what a BK filing would look like for you.