Should I File for Bankruptcy?

17 Aug Should I File for Bankruptcy?

“Should I file for bankruptcy?”

This is the question that most of my clients want me to answer for them. Most people don’t want to file for bankruptcy. As I often tell clients, they would rather have a root canal without anesthesia then have to call a bankruptcy lawyer, but sometimes not only is it the best decision, it is the only decision. How do you know?

First, it generally is not a decision you should make by yourself. You need to get the input of others. People often talk to their family, friends, and even their minister, pastor, priest or rabbi before talking to me. Sometimes, though, it is hard to discuss your financial problems with someone you know. Rest assured, bankruptcy attorneys won’t think less of you for calling. We have usually “seen it all,” and doubtless have handled cases much,much worse than yours. And we are qualified to review your situation and give you our recommendations as to what is the best course for you to take.

Second, you should look at the danger signs that you’re overextended and in trouble. Recognizing the problem early lets you act sooner, and have more options available to you.

Third, almost all of our clients see us later than they should. Financial difficulties usually don’t happen overnight. Although the incident causing the problem can occur suddenly–job loss, illness, separation–there are short-term fixes that can relieve the pressure. Working overtime or a part-time job, dipping into retirement, living off your credit cards, all in the expectation that things will turn around soon, are ways to make a bad situation even worse. Many of my clients enter a difficult financial period with savings and a retirement account, and by the time they see me they literally don’t have enough money to buy groceries, and a tax liability for the early withdrawal of the retirement to boot! These people would have benefited greatly from seeing me before the savings and retirement are gone, had more flexibility and options, and been better able to get a fresh start after their bankruptcy case ended.

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.
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