Monthly Archives: September 2016

Our statement of intention in bankruptcy said that we wanted to reaffirm our car, and they repossessed it. Do we still owe the bank money?

Maybe.

If you officially reaffirmed the debt, then yes, they can still sue you after a repossession if there is some kind of deficient balance after the auction, but only if you “officially reaffirmed” it.

statement-of-intent

When you file bankruptcy, you file a document called “Official Form 108, Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7.”  In this document, you can notify your creditors regarding your intentions with leases (like cell phone contracts and apartments) and on secured collateral (like homes and cars).  You can check boxes that state that you will surrender/retain the property or assume/reject your lease.  However, this Statement of Intent doesn’t bind you.  It gives your creditors warning on what you’ll probably do, but you can change your mind.

If you really want to reaffirm a debt, then you have to sign a reaffirmation agreement, have your attorney sign it, have the secured party (bank) sign it, and then the bank will file it with the court.  If you don’t do these steps, then the debt is not reaffirmed.

Checking the box on your original Statement of Intent does not count.

I had a client call me yesterday who had been reviewing her bk paperwork from a year ago (yes, she’s very thorough).  She had checked the “reaffirm” box on her original Statement of Intent, but never reaffirmed the debt and had surrendered the car.  She was now worried that she had somehow reaffirmed the debt and was facing an imminent lawsuit.  I reviewed the paperwork and the docket, and she did not officially reaffirm.  I was happy to tell her that no lawsuit was coming; she was safe.

 

 

Why didn’t my bankruptcy attorney call me and text me and send a letter and an email (twice)?

Today I spoke with an angry client whose case was dismissed because he ignored our conversation when we filed the case, ignored my follow-up email, ignored a letter from the court, and ignored my letter forwarding that court letter.

He was frustrated because I didn’t go through the reminder process again right before his case was dismissed.

I understand his frustration.  The number one complaint that people have about their attorneys is “lack of communication.”   communication

In my practice, my clients have my personal email, my cell number, and I respond to text messages virtually any time.  That being said, after I tell them what I need or what the trustee is asking for, I expect them to respond.  We are all adults, and I figure that if someone gets a “to do list” from me, that they’re going to follow through or ask me for clarification.  I know that my clients call the next morning if I don’t respond to their email.

So my advice to other potential clients of me or anyone else is simple:  respond to your attorney’s letters/email/voicemail/texts.  If something doesn’t make sense, ask for an explanation.

Sometimes I screw up, and when I do, I’ll own it and even eat the legal fees.  And I guarantee that I’ll tell the client what is going on.