When Bankruptcy Goes Wrong

If you have found this section of our website due to problems that have arisen in your existing case in which you represent yourself, or if you are concerned that your current representation is not adequate, please feel free to contact me to schedule a free initial consultation.  You can schedule an appointment by clicking here, or you can contact me by phone at 248-817-6669 or by e-mail at sandra@sandraoconnorlaw.com.  Do not disclose any confidential information in any initial voicemails or emails to schedule an appointment. If an order or judgment has already been entered against you, or if a motion or complaint has been filed against you, this is an emergency situation as there are very limited periods of time to take action to respond, appeal, or seek other relief from the court.  If this is the case, please contact me by phone or e-mail immediately.

My ten years of experience as a bankruptcy attorney have included substantial experience in the representation of trustees.  It breaks my heart to see many situations where debtors ended up in a worse position than if they had never filed for bankruptcy at all.  In several of these situations, the attorney that the debtor relied upon would fail to even respond to their inquiries, leading them to try to request help from the court or opposing counsel.  Everyone deserves competent representation to avoid situations like these, all of which are based on true events:

  • Trustee identifies substantial assets that the debtor did not realize that he had through a review of debtor’s documents.  Those assets are liquidated for the benefit of creditors and a bankruptcy could have potentially been avoided entirely if those assets were identified prior to the filing of bankruptcy.  
  • Certain property can be retained by debtors through exemptions.  Failure to maximize exemptions results in funds going to creditors that could have been retained for the debtor.
  • Exemptions are claimed without properly investigating whether the asset at issue qualifies for the exemption.  The exemption is denied and the debtor loses the property, which has included substantial assets assumed to be safe from bankruptcy such as retirement accounts.
  • Trustee requests documents from the debtor, which the debtor provides to his or her attorney.  The attorney fails to provide the documents to the trustee resulting in consequences such as denial of discharge or contempt sanctions.
  • A bankruptcy is filed for a business by the owner of the business.  The trustee identifies claims against the owner and sues the owner.
  • Trustee identifies claims against assets based upon unusual new theories from other jurisdictions.  Debtor is unaware of the legal theory and loses the asset.
  • Debtor’s property isn’t correctly valued at the time the case is filed.  The Trustee determines that the property is worth more than the debtor realized and liquidates it for the benefit of creditors.
  • Debtor files her own case without an understanding of the limitations of exemptions.  She ends up having to choose between her house and vehicle, and loses her vehicle which is liquidated for the benefit of creditors.

These are just a sampling of issues that frequently arise in bankruptcy cases due to self-representation or inadequate representation.  The consequences can be dire, including loss of property, denial of discharge of debts, or lawsuits being filed against the debtor or debtor’s family.  

If you have already filed a bankruptcy case and problems have arisen, we can discuss the possibility of hiring me as replacement counsel to try to correct or minimize any problems you might be facing in your current case.