What Debts to Include in Bankruptcy

  Bankruptcy lawyers know that all debts need to be scheduled.  Clients think or hope that they get to pick and choose. Every effective bankruptcy lawyer needs a line, a phrase, or a story to squelch the client’s instinct to exclude things from their bankruptcy filing. Often the client’s desire to be less than forthcoming […]

Why Your Bankruptcy Client Doesn’t Understand You (And How To Fix the Problem)

Bankruptcy attorneys and their clients often seem to be a pair,  divided by their common language.  Even without legal jargon, we talk past each other. How do we misunderstand each other?  Let me count the ways: Property:  I don’t have any property, lost the house to foreclosure last year. Property 2:  I don’t own the […]

Filing Bankruptcy Petitions: Playing Connect the Dots

I almost took the client at her word and filed schedules that told half the story. Well, maybe it was 3/4 of the story, but the client who, to my consternation, seemed to enjoy nit picking the draft schedules, told me about the cabin on the lake that they rent out, but omitted the rental […]

Prompt Full Disclosure from Bankruptcy Clients

If the price of a bankruptcy discharge is full disclosure, some clients still want to underpay. No matter how carefully you script your initial interview with a client in quest of everything you need to know to advise them on bankruptcy, there will be some tidbit, relevant to your quest, that isn’t evoked with your […]

Dig Deep In Your First Meeting With A Prospective Client

The success of a bankruptcy case is frequently determined at the first meeting between client and lawyer. The information that is exchanged and the confidence that is built at that  encounter shapes the client’s expectations, the choice of chapter, the timing of the filing and much more. So I cringe when I hear stories about […]

Phantom Creditors In Bankruptcy

Phantom creditors often waft through the lives of debtors.  The client may not see them, but as debtor’s lawyers,we must pull those creditors into the light. Phantom creditors may have no claim against the debtor personally, but nonetheless, need to be scheduled. Liabilities of property In rem is nifty sounding Latin, the original language of  […]

Think Beyond The Means Test

It started as a means test question:  could emergency medical expenses be deemed non consumer debt.  It ended up as a step back to get the bigger picture. Well seasoned bankruptcy counsel brought the fact pattern to a list serve of colleagues.  The prospective debtors’  income in a small consulting corporation is declining,  his health […]