You can’t get reliable, trusted bankruptcy advice from anyone but experienced lawyers. You friends and family can’t help you, no matter how well meaning they are because they are not experienced experts. There is no adequate substite for getting trusted bankruptcy advice that you can rely on.
No matter how much expert advice we share, people still make mistakes and punish themselves before they file bankruptcy. It reminds us of the old joke about the guy who was banging his head against a wall over and over. When someone asked him why he was doing it, the guy said, “Because it feels good when I stop.” Maybe there’s still time for you to avoid needless pain with some great advice from a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer.
You Can Receive Completely Free Advice From a Bankruptcy Specialist
We’ve been providing free, trusted bankruptcy advice bankruptcy advice to consumers on the internet for over a decade. Our law firm, Bayer Wishman & Leotta, has been in business since 1989 doing nothing but bankruptcy. As bloggers and consumer advocates, we have a rich history that goes well beyond this very active blog site. For example, Leon Bayer writes a consumer column at the Nolo.com blog called “Ask Leon” in which he regularly answers key questions from consumers, debtors and people considering bankruptcy. Learn more about Leon Bayer here.
We can tell you “what not to do.”
One important type of free help that we provide to consumers—especially those who are struggling with financial problems—is in the form of “cautions” or warnings about mistakes to avoid. If you are considering a bankruptcy, you need simple, clear trusted bankruptcy advice. Trusted bankruptcy advice will keep you out of trouble and set you on a path to successfully resolve your financial problems. Whether you actually file bankruptcy or not.
Let’s take a look at some of the best advice we’ve shared on our blog over the years—advice that will help you avoid mistakes and allow you to make good decisions if you are considering bankruptcy:
YOU WON’T GET TRUSTED BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FROM FRIENDS OR FAMILY, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW HOW IT IS
Your family and friends can be a wonderful source of support and encouragement. But don’t rely on them for Trusted Bankruptcy Advice. They just don’t know what they are talking about. We’ve heard some of the bad advice people get and we’ve seen the damage it can cause. Your friends and family may mean well, but they often suggest that you do things which are harmful to your future bankruptcy case. See below for some of the harm that can result from following bad advice.
BE CAREFUL WITH ADVICE FROM LAWYERS – CERTIFIED BANKRUPTCY EXPERTS ONLY!
Bankruptcy law attracts many poorly trained and inexperienced lawyers. This is a fact. Some lawyers believe that bankruptcy is a good way to make fast money (it’s not). But they offer misleadingly low fees hoping to attract consumers that just don’t know any better. The mastery of bankruptcy law takes years of study and practice experience. Bankruptcy law is very complex and is full of pitfalls and potential disasters for inexperienced lawyers. We know because we see the consequences when people call us and ask us to “take over” their cases. These cases often turn into nightmares. So don’t take advice from just any lawyer, even if that lawyer advertises himself or herself as a “bankruptcy lawyer.”
DON’T TAKE YOUR NAME OFF TITLE OR TRANSFER ASSETS
This is a huge mistake that people continue to make over the years, so please don’t take your name off of title to an asset or transfer an asset without consulting a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law. Title transfers will easily be avoided (set aside) in your bankruptcy case by a Trustee. The Trustee will sue anyone who receives title or an asset and you will be denied any opportunity to retain value or protect that asset. You will lose this property. The person that receives this property will also be liable for a money judgment. This is a really bad idea especially when you consider that with some pre-bankruptcy planning, it is possible (even likely) that you could have protected value in the property or retained it for yourself after bankruptcy!
DON’T SEND “CEASE & DESIST LETTERS” TO YOUR CREDITORS
These letters serve no real purpose except to accelerate the process of a collection lawsuit against you. We know, we know… the collection phone calls are bothersome, even annoying. But there are things you can do short of a Cease & Desist Letter that will prevent collectors from causing you trouble.
DON’T RUN UP CREDIT CARDS BEFORE YOU FILE BANKRUPTCY
Running up or charging your credit cards excessively before you file bankruptcy is a very bad idea. It can also lead to serious financial consequences for you, or extensive delay in the filing of your case. Bankruptcy law includes detailed limitations on the use of credit by consumers prior to a bankruptcy petition. Talk to a Specialist to understand your rights. If you get this wrong, there will be serious consequences.
GET EXPERT ADVICE RIGHT AWAY – DON’T WAIT
We meet with consumers and analyze their rights for free. And we are State Bar Certified Specialists in Bankruptcy Law who have been handling nothing but bankruptcy cases for over 34 years. There is literally no excuse for the failure to get legal advice if you are facing financial problems but there are many pitfalls and problems that you may encounter if you wait too long to get advice. Even if you think you can wait a few months or longer before you “need” to file bankruptcy, it makes no sense to avoid getting the advice immediately. We meet with many, many people who don’t need bankruptcy immediately, but we help them plan their affairs and prepare for bankruptcy should a filing be necessary. And perhaps more importantly, they have peace of mind now regardless of the issues they may face in the future.
CHOOSE A STATE BAR CERTIFIED BANKRUPTCY SPECIALIST FOR FREE ADVICE
Don’t just find a lawyer to speak with. Choose a true “Specialist.” The California State Bar has a vigorous “certification” process for legal specialists, including bankruptcy attorneys. This process includes rich testing and peer review. It’s a process you can trust. And yet there are relatively few “Certified Specialists” in bankruptcy law when compared to the number of lawyers who “hang a shingle” and call themselves “bankruptcy lawyers.” Here’s another plus—finding and using a “Certified Specialist” in bankruptcy law will cost you about the same as you’ll pay to the lawyers you can’t trust. And you can meet with us for free, so is there really any good excuse left for avoiding trustworthy, free advice?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE IGNORE GOOD ADVICE?
So what happens in the real world when people get bad bankruptcy advice or when they ignore or fail to seek out good advice? We see the damage so often that it hurts us. Over the years we’ve talked to people who—
- Lost assets that could have been protected in their bankruptcy case;
- Failed to discharge tax debts that might have been discharged (eliminated entirely) in their bankruptcy case;
- Had their bankruptcy relief denied (also called a “denial of discharge”);
- Filed under the wrong chapter, resulting in case dismissal, conversion and substantial delays;
- Got the wrong instructions for steps they should take or things they should do both before and after filing their petitions;
- Could not speak to their own lawyers on the phone after they paid and filed their petitions;
- Could not get important questions answered after their cases were filed or their discharges received.
We offer free bankruptcy advice. You can call Bayer, Wishman & Leotta at (213)-629-8801
These last two items are especially troubling for us. We love helping people find solutions to their financial problems. We talk to people on the phone all day long. Clients often call us years after they filed their bankruptcy cases and ask our advice when new situations arise because of their previous bankruptcy cases. Sometimes frantic people call us when their own lawyers won’t talk to them on the phone! We take those calls too.
Speaking with people that call us is an important part of what we do for consumers and clients. It’s the most direct way to answer questions and avoid confusion. Likewise, sharing our suggestions and advice in our Los Angeles bankruptcy blog allows us to reach many thousands of people who aren’t yet ready to call or who simply need some questions answered. Good luck and please do your best to avoid these common mistakes!
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