Student Loans and Bankruptcy
Interviewer: Does it also work for individuals if they have student loans, and they’re not able to pay those, and they’ve already tried to buy a house? Can they file for bankruptcy?
Currently, There Is Almost a Trillion Dollars of Student Loan Debt
Vance Truman: Student loans are the next big bubble that’s going to pop here on us and cause us problems, because you have almost a trillion dollars of student loan debt.
The payments are akin to mortgage payments for these young people just graduating school. Unfortunately, they’re not dischargeable in bankruptcy. That’s something that’s going to have to change.
I don’t know how, but it’s going to have to. I don’t know if the lenders are going to reduce the interest rates or what, but something’s going to have to change on that issue.
Interviewer: I’m seeing a cycle in that, where students are going to college, paying tens of thousands of dollars for tuition costs, and utilizing their student loans when they start racking up these debts. Finally, they leave college and they’re unable to find a job.
What would you ideally like to say about getting the word out about how bankruptcy could help alleviate a lot of people’s problems? How do people find out about bankruptcy and if they need an attorney?
It Is Advisable to Do Some Research on the Internet about Bankruptcy and the Attorney You Are Considering Retaining
Vance Truman: I’m going to tell you. I’d say 70% of my cases, of my clients, are referrals. Word of mouth is probably the best. My website is the second best as far as getting people to come visit me. They’re doing searches on the web to find out about bankruptcy and using an attorney.
Bankruptcy Laws Are both Complex and Evolving: Look for an Attorney Whose Practice Is Devoted to Bankruptcy Cases
There are a lot of attorneys around that do bankruptcy work. They’re also doing criminal defense; they’re doing divorces; they’re doing everything. Find an attorney that runs their practice like I do. Bankruptcy cases are all I do.
These are the attorneys that are up on the laws. Also find an attorney that focuses primarily on bankruptcy. If you’re going to have brain surgery, you don’t want to go to a general practitioner. You want to go to somebody that does brain surgery.
This is a very important, very serious matter. You want to make sure that the person you’re hiring to represent you knows the ins and outs of the law and can get through the process quickly and as easy as possible.
There are attorneys in town that the client never really meets with them until the 341 hearing. They have their legal assistants doing all the paperwork, and meeting them, and doing the questionnaire.
Personal Attention: Ensure the Attorney You Retain Is the One Handling the Bankruptcy Case
Interviewer: It’s pretty impersonal in that regard.
Vance Truman: Right. You want somebody that’s going to provide you with personal service.
Interviewer: We’re coming close to the conclusion of our interview. Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we may not have covered?
Vance Truman: As I said, personal service is very important. I want to let people know that I handle the case from start to finish. I meet with them; I do the initial consultation; I fill out the questionnaire.
A Bankruptcy Filing Is a Private Matter and the Paperwork Shouldn’t Be Delegated among a Large Office Staff
I sit down with them and do the signing; and I also go to the creditor’s meeting. I am the only attorney that you’ll be dealing with. Many of these big firms around here have paralegals working on the paperwork or you’re being passed from one attorney to the next. You’re meeting with one attorney to do the questionnaire, another to do the signing, and another in the 341 meeting.
This is a very private issue. I consider it very private, which is why I handle even the smallest of details for my clients.