When you file for bankruptcy, your attorney will painstakingly go through every single detail of your financial life. Make sure you feel comfortable enough with him or her that you can disclose everything.
Your attorney is your advocate. He or she represents only you and your concerns. Nothing will ever be used against you by your attorney to benefit somebody else. So why not tell him or her everything?
Your attorney has to know every item of your dirty laundry in order to be effective. And don’t worry; if he or she has been in practice long enough, you can assume there’s nothing your attorney hasn’t heard before. You must be sure to rack your brain about everything you own – and we mean absolutely everything. You may be so comfortable with your attorney that you simply forget to mention something. Don’t get complacent. A mistake like forgetting to disclose an asset or a source of income can cost you. And you might even face fines or jail time if the court thinks you did it on purpose.
Here’s the Story
Here’s the story of one of our clients who didn’t pay close attention when we reviewed his financial situation with him. Our client’s case was a simple one. He was single, he owned a home and a Jeep, he had a 401k plan with a decent amount of savings in it, and that was about it. It was basically a bankruptcy slam-dunk.
Smooth Sailing – Choppy Waters
Things glided along smoothly until his trustee meeting. These are mandatory meetings for anyone who recently filed for bankruptcy. It gives the bankruptcy trustee the opportunity to ask follow-up questions about the particulars of someone’s case. These are usually routine meetings, especially when it is a simple case like this one. But when our client sat down at the meeting, he surprised us – which is a bad thing. You never want to surprise your attorney, especially in front of the bankruptcy trustee.
In part 2 we will see exactly what our client surprised us with, and how it turned out for him.