Almost everyone has a person or two they talk to for advice. Some people have a professional they use. Some people use accountants as their primary advisor, some have trusted business people, and others use financial planners or insurance professionals. Over the last several weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak to several financial planners during networking sessions. It was my thought that there could be times when I could help them help their clients. I think if they have clients pulling money from their retirement accounts or liquidating assets, they could send them my way to see if we can minimize their loss.
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I guess I wasn't surprised by their responses. The first planner responded, "if I have someone to send to you, then I failed at my job." Another planner said "I would try to work out some type of financing for them."
They just don't understand bankruptcy. First of all, bankruptcy usually results from unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances. No one has failed anything... life happens. Thinking like that inhibits people from seeking help when it would work best. Secondly, piling new debt on top of old debt can cause more problems than it will solve. This doesn't make them poor counselors. They just may not understand Bankruptcy.
If a person has a financial planner when they experience major changes in his or her financial health, that may be a good place to start. However, a debtor should consider consulting a bankruptcy attorney too. A financial planner may not realize retirement funds, life insurance values, and joint property might be protected under the law.
I would never suggest to someone that they not talk to an advisor they trust. I am suggesting people should talk to more than one type of advisor, including a bankruptcy attorney, when they are in serious financial distress before they settle on a course of action.
If you want assistance, legal representation, or just want to know more about Mark M. Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at www.whhmlaw.com.