TheExperience Project.com is a website on which real people share their stories about filing personal bankruptcy. I included several of these stories in last week’s Bankruptcy in Indiana articles, thinking they might encourage readers whose fears or misperceptions have been keeping them from filing bankruptcy Chapter 7 (or perhaps filing under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law).
There was one story, however, that I’m afraid might actually cause a misperception: “Jdh”, who had always had a great credit score, had decided to start his own business, using all his savings, home equity, and retirement funds into the business. Six months after the recession began, Jdh was forced into bankruptcy.
“That’s the risk I took and accepted,” says Jdh. (Many of my Indiana small business bankruptcy clients feel the same way.) Jdh’s “beef” is that the bankruptcy trustee got an order to appraise his personal assets. That extended the time for resolving his case from three months to six months, he complains. “When I move out I either have to leave all my possessions in an abandoned house, or go to the expense of moving everything, then have the appraiser value it, and then have the trustee sell all the possessions,” he gripes. Jdh’s advice to readers: Get an appraiser for your home and all your personal belongings BEFORE filing.”
For me, after more than 26 years of offering Indiana bankruptcy help, the missing piece here seems to be legal advice. As a normal and necessary step in the process (and that would have happened at any one of the five Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices), property appraisals would have been done BEFORE ever approaching the bankruptcy court.
As Jdh relates the story, the trustee said that the estimates he’d submitted were “low”. Any good bankruptcy attorney in Indiana would have helped him document, not just “estimate” the value of his home and property, with all the numbers ready and all the paperwork ready to submit along with the bankruptcy petition.
At the creditors’ meeting, Jdh relates, the trustee refused to allow him to ask questions (to clarify his understanding of the trustee’s questions to him). Again, represented by an experienced consumer bankruptcy specialist, Jdh would likely have had a very different experience in court. He would have had an advocate by his side.
“So that’s where I’m at,” Jdh sums up. “Hope this helps someone out there.”
Ironically, that’s precisely what the bankruptcy system is designed to do – help a lot of “someones out there)”. But, because it is, after all, a legal system, and because Jhd was not trained in the law, he would have had a far easier time of it with an attorney for bankruptcy by his side!
Categorised in: Bankruptcy Indiana
This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg