04 Feb Credit Counselors Give Legal Advice …. NOT!
Only lawyers are licensed to give legal advice. This is to protect the public from getting legal advise from people who are not legally trained to do so, and who may not understand how different laws interact and affect you.
Too many people are coming to lawyers and reporting things that credit counselors (or other non-attorneys) advised them to do, or not do, and the advise is wrong. Since people believe that a credit counselor knows what they are talking about, they tend to follow whatever advise they give. Even if credit counselors are well meaning and trying to help, they are no allowed to give legal advice and they don’t do you any favors if they give you incorrect or incomplete information.
If you act upon incorrect information, it can do harm that can not be repaired. I just heard another report of someone who got some bad information from a credit counselor.
The person was told not to list certain secured debts on their bankruptcy or they would have the collateral taken away. Not only is that wrong, but it doesn’t work. Additionally, false information on bankruptcy documents could actually cost them their property, their discharge, or they may even face criminal penalties for lying on a bankruptcy petition.
Most bankruptcy attorneys will talk about the different kinds of bankruptcy, debt management plans, or in some situations workouts, settlements or other alternatives. Attorneys will usually go over how collection laws work or other laws that might apply to your situation, and they will take into account all the specific facts of your case. If there is property that you are worried about, a lawyer can talk to you about the best way to protect it.
Credit counselors can’t tell you everything a lawyer can, and shouldn’t give you advice on what to do with your assets, or what bankruptcy laws do. Because they can’t give legal advice, they are usually reluctant to tell you very much, but they might give you a little piece of advice. Even if what they tell you fixes one problem, it might create two more. If you have been given legal guidance by someone who is not an attorney, seek the advise of an experienced attorney before you act.
Remember, consulting a bankruptcy lawyer doesn’t mean you are going to file bankruptcy, just that you are going to get legal advise about your options.
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