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As a bankruptcy attorney I hear this all the time. The statement is made in order to regain what the client mistakenly perceives as the respect I have lost for him because he fell behind in his bills. The next statement of mitigation is usually, “I waited as long as I could.” This usually means that for several years the client has made minimal payments on a number of bills, and has developed a great dislike for macaroni and cheese. Meanwhile the creditors who know the client will never be able to get out of debt by paying the minimum on all their debts, benefits by each new month the client suffers.

If you see that you might have to file bankruptcy, talk to a bankruptcy attorney as soon as you consider the possibility. Bankruptcy planning, like tax planning, is a legitimate method of protecting your financial estate. Just because you visit a bankruptcy attorney does not mean you will be advised to file bankruptcy. And most bankruptcy attorneys will be glad to give you a free consultation.

England once had debtors’ prisons – but not today in America. In the U.S. financial speculation has made our economy as powerful as it is, and regardless of its ups and downs, it is still the envy of the world. In order to promote speculation, the risking of money to make more, we have bankruptcy. It allows us to do the best we can to survive economically, but if we can’t, we have a fair legal option for a fresh start using the bankruptcy laws.

“But isn’t filing bankruptcy admitting failure?” When asked this question, I like to provide my clients a list of a few famous successful Americans who have filed bankruptcy, and rebuilt their financial estates, including: Walt Disney, Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Ford, Charles Goodyear (of Goodyear tires), Henry John Heinz (catsup manufacturer), Milton Snavely Hershey (the Hershey bar), Mickey Rooney, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Wayne Newton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Larry King, P.T. Barnum, and Donald Trump. Without bankruptcy these contributors to America would have been stopped dead in their tracks.

And to those clients who are not comforted by the above arguments, one can refer to the Bible. I can’t explain it better than this:

“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD’s release” (Deuteronomy 15:1-2).
“…the borrower is a slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
“…in the seventh year you shall let [your Hebrew slave] go free from you. And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; but you shall supply him liberally from your flock…” (Deuteronomy 15:12-14).

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