Article by Kurt O’Keefe, Attorney at Law
Bankruptcy Law Network
The Huffington Post recently highlighted a story: “12 Things You Should Never Lie About,” some of which do not belong in a family blog, however, #11 is:
11. Anything you say to your lawyer. Be upfront with your attorney the way you should be with your doctor. Any lawyer you hire is working to protect your financial interests and/or keep you out of legal hot water. He or she can’t do that if you haven’t disclosed all relevant information.
I don’t know why people conceal things from their bankruptcy attorney. I only know that they do.
Maybe, they want someone to like them, and figure out if they leave out some ugly details, at least the bankruptcy lawyer am will be their friend. The concealed facts, more often than not, are already known to the other side, be it the prosecutor, the bankruptcy trustee, the creditor lawyer, whoever.
Nothing like being in a poker game when the other side, like a creditor or the bankruptcy trustee, knows our cards, which you do not even know.
Think about it!
Bankruptcy attorney-client conversations are protected by privilege.
Most people conceal something because they are trying to get away with something. But, you do not know bankruptcy law, that is why you are talking to a bankruptcy attorney.
If I know about something, I can plan around it, account for it, more often than not in bankruptcy court, I can legally and ethically accomplish the goals of the client, and keep the bankruptcy trustee happy. Or at least not a problem with your bankruptcy case.
People are always giving away property, usually to a relative, before the file bankruptcy.
If that worked, Bill Gates could give all his Microsoft stock to his cousin and file bankruptcy.
“Oh, don’t worry about my cars, I switched the title over to my sister last month.” Right. Now you created a problem for your sister, who can be sued by the bankruptcy trustee to get the property back.
Most likely, if it stays in your name, it is exempt under bankruptcy law.
So, yes, ALWAYS tell the truth to your bankruptcy attorney.
Carolyn Secor is a Clearwater bankruptcy attorney and Clearwater foreclosure attorney serving Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Seminole, St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay area.