How Helping People Out of Foreclosure Helped Me Out, Too

Foreclosure and Bankruptcy and How it Changed Me:

I read an interesting article on foreclosure and of all things—EBOLA—a few days ago and it led me to think on my days helping folks with foreclosure. Foreclosure does not have to happen in conjunction with every bankruptcy and there are legal ways to protect a person’s interests. If a person files chapter 13 bankruptcy then the foreclosure process is immediately stopped. Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy won't help you avoid foreclosure, but can buy you the time to resolve a serious mortgage situation. It is a good option for discharging unsecured debt. Even if you're not interested in avoiding a foreclosure you should get the true information about how this will affect you in the future. There are usually still options available for protecting yourself and your assets. No matter what your bankruptcy or foreclosure situation is, a knowledgeable bankruptcy and foreclosure lawyer will be able to assist you. An experienced West Covina bankruptcy attorney may be able to help you avoid or manage foreclosure and bankruptcy.

I Learned Quickly That I Could Not Accept Every Client

Often, it became customary that clients would show up at our office right before they were about to be foreclosed. I soon learned that this was both an opportunity and a risk for our law firm in helping these clients. If a client shows up, last minute, then we learned to vet them very carefully as to whether there were serious issues that could cause problems which a bankruptcy would not necessarily solve.

Problems We Learned to Watch Out For:

  • If a client came to us right before filing, then it often meant they were the type of client who was not intending to pay, but rather simply looking for a way to stall the inevitable.

As opposed to a person who had experienced a temporary drop in their income, a person who did not intend to continue making payments would represent a serious problem for our law firm because our attorney fees would be paid over time in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, hence, if the client got into the bankruptcy, we would end up paying out large amounts of attorney and paralegal time assisting them, only to be left holding the bag. Their bankruptcy would soon be dismissed due to lack of payment and we ended up losing significant money on those clients.

  • If a person had already been in a different bankruptcy, they represented additional legal work which had to be accounted for.

Often, clients would come to our office after having already filed a case unsuccessfully with another attorney. This wasn’t always the case, as there were also times that we got good clients who came from other attorneys. But if the client came to us, badmouthing their previous attorney, we had to listen carefully to determine whether this was indicative of problems with the attorney’s service or whether it was simply an excuse for the client not being willing to take some personal responsibility for their own actions.

Additionally, for a client who has been in a bankruptcy in the last 12 months, an additional hearing with the judge is required to reinstate the stay or extend the stay in order to continue obtaining protection for their home in blocking the foreclosure. This involved additional fees which had to be compensated for a judge’s hearing, etc. For this reason, these cases had to be quoted a higher rates than other typical foreclosure preventions.

Bankruptcy and foreclosure do not have to go hand-in-hand. While Chapter 13 Bankruptcy automatically halts foreclosure proceedings, other forms of bankruptcy require action to navigate the process. An experienced bankruptcy attorney learns to know which cases they are able to help clients handle with bankruptcy and simultaneously achieve the most desirable outcome when threatened with foreclosure. Every situation is different. If a client is facing bankruptcy and/or foreclosure, they often do not know that they should contact a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer from a law firm to find out what options are right for and available.

I Learned To Get Help from Mentor Attorneys for Complicated Cases

Early on, I learned that if there was a case that appeared especially complicated, we did better to get help from a mentor at a firm who had successfully handled thousands of case; put another attorney’s expertise to work for you. A bankruptcy attorney from an office with immense experience can help to assess the client’s situation, apprise the best available options and advise the course of action for the client’s specific circumstances. We care about our clients and often we have found that to get the client the best outcome and keep their interests as our priority, we needed to get some extra assistance.

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