Bankruptcy A-Z: K is for Knowledge.
Your mind grows flowered
It’s great to learn
Cause knowledge is power!
Those are the famous lines from Schoolhouse Rock where we learned about pronouns with Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla, about Conjunction Junction, and how that lonely old bill became a law. We even learned about Tyrannosaurus Debt (how appropriate).
I used to rush home from school and turn on the TV to watch the Schoolhouse Rock commercials. I don’t even remember the shows that played during those times. I even remember reminiscing in college with friends watching the videos on DVD (geeky, I know, but fun nevertheless).
Anyway, those clips taught kids about science and grammar and math and money and America and so much more. Knowledge really was power back then. Guess, what? It is today, too.
K is for Knowledge.
Part of my practice is to educate my clients. The only way I can help anyone is if that person trusts me and buys into the solution that we settle on.
Doing that requires that I explain to my clients the different options that they have. For most clients, all they want is to protect their assets. If everything is protected under state and federal law, they don’t need my help.
For example, I had a person come to me to file for bankruptcy to protect property. This person had Social Security income and a few personal effects that were protected by state law. The Social Security income is protected by federal law, even if the money is sitting in a bank account. I sent the person on her way with an offer to help if anyone caused trouble.
In other cases, the debts are too old to sue on.
I had another person come to see me to file for bankruptcy because of a lawsuit that had been filed for a debt on a car that she co-signed on for her son (I won’t discuss the issue with co-signing here, but don’t do it if you cannot afford to pay the debt). It turned out that the statute of limitations on the debt expired before the suit was filed. Also, the plaintiff was a debt collector subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Defending the suit was more fun AND the client had a lawsuit of her own to file.
In still other cases, people are seeking help because third party debt collectors are suing or otherwise harassing them.
I had fun with one of these. The debt collector sued for thousands of dollars. Instead of a bankruptcy, I defended the lawsuit. The debt collector’s attorney was so confident that he would win that he even had a witness with him. After I picked apart his case and client, he moved for a nonsuit and my client hasn’t heard from him since.
A little bit of knowledge goes a long way. Knowing your options is important. Sometimes, bankruptcy is the only option or at least the best one. The purpose of this blog is to help educate consumers about the bankruptcy process, about options, about the players and most importantly about themselves.
There is so much bad information out there. Just look at the following post and you will see what I mean. If I help just one person gain the knowledge that he needs to fight back, then I have done my job (and I don’t care if that person is even in my area).
Knowledge truly is power. The attorneys of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the National Association of Consumer Advocates are here to help (I am a member of both organizations).
If you need help or just want to gain the knowledge about your rights, seek out someone with the knowledge who isn’t afraid to convey some to you. If you are in the metro Richmond area, or anywhere in central Virginia, contact bankruptcy and consumer lawyer Mitchell Goldstein at (804) 592-1674 or by email at mitch at mitchellpgoldstein dot com.
Other K posts:
Photo Credit: andertoons