I always caution folks before I meet with them that filing bankruptcy is not always the answer to their problems. I explain to them that we will discuss the facts of their situation and then I will share with them what I see as possible solutions to help them. If I see bankruptcy as one of those possible options, I will share that option with them. I also explain to folks that, even after they employ us and we work their case up, bankruptcy may or may not be an option at that point as well. I explain to them that a portion of the moneys they pay us will be non-refundable representing the time we have spent working up their case.
In years past, I would have clients think that filing bankruptcy is always the solution to their financial woes. Some would even employ us and then after spending many hours working on their case, I would have the unfortunate task of having to explain to them that bankruptcy just really was not available to them to assist with their problems.
For example, sometimes folks would not be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because their income was too high, and then not be able to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy because they could not afford the payment required. This does not happen very often, but when it does, it does not make me very happy. Our sole job in our office is to help folks. When we can’t, we don’t like that.
I think folks appreciate the fact that you are being honest with them up front and let them know that there are options with bankruptcy to help, but that there are also other options as well. Some times this would include borrowing against the equity in property to pay off debts, or maybe working out an arrangement with creditors to make payments to them. These are not realistic options for most folks, of course, but should always be explored.