08 Jul Bankruptcy Attorneys are Not Miracle Workers – Help Us Help You
Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state which means that a mortgage company does not have to go to court in order to obtain permission to foreclosure. Instead, deeds to secure debt in Georgia contain provision that provide for foreclosure if the mortgage lender follows certain procedures, such as publishing for four consecutive weeks a notice of the pending foreclosure in the legal newspaper of the county where the property is located.
Assuming these notice provisions are met, an attorney representing the lender will appear on the county courthouse steps and cry out the foreclosure. These foreclosure sales may only be held on the first Tuesday of every month.
As you might expect, I sometimes get calls from frantic homeowners on the Thursday or Friday before the first Tuesday of the month. I will sometimes accept these cases, but given the amount of information and time needed to prepare a bankruptcy under the current law, I am less and less willing to accept one of these emergency cases.
If you wait until the last minute you will find that there are fewer and fewer law firms that will be available to you and you may find that your only choice is a high volume filer who may not give you much personal attention.
If your house is at risk, do not delay in seeking legal counsel. I have heard horror stories about homeowners who entered into “negotiation” with their mortgage lenders and held off contacting a lawyer. The lender waited until the Friday before foreclosure to say that no deal was forthcoming, leaving the homeowner to scramble.
Even more puzzling to me is the homeowner who knows that he has not been paying his mortgage but who has not been opening the letters he has received from the lender. In June of 2007, for example, I had been speaking with a potential Chapter 13 stop foreclosure client who just could not seem to get her questionnaire filled out for me. Despite close to ten emails sent to her starting on the Thursday prior to foreclosure, I did not get my questionnaire until 5:20pm on the Monday before the Tuesday foreclosure. And this questionnaire was incomplete – not showing income information or creditor addresses.
I called the potential client to acknowledge receipt of the partially completed form but I restated to her that I could not prepare a bankruptcy case filing with what I had. I then asked her if she was sure that she was facing a Tuesday foreclosure and she replied that she did not think so, but that she had a big stack of letters on her kitchen table that she had not opened!
As you might imagine, this type of client is not someone that I have a lot of confidence will be able to fullfil her Chapter 13 plan obligations. My fee for this case will be substantially higher than my standard fee and I know that there will be trouble later on, such as a Motion for Relief from Stay or a Motion to Dismiss.
As attorneys we look for clients who are responsible and detail oriented people. You will find that you get a better result in our case and that you will have more and better choices for legal representation of you make a sincere effort to help us help you.
Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.
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