Great Expectations – bankruptcy attorneys and due diligence

What the heck is “diligence” and “due diligence”?

From Black’s Law Dictionary:

diligence. 1. A continual effort to accomplish something. 2. Care; caution; the attention and care required from a person in a given situation.

due diligence. 1. The diligence reasonably expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a person who seeks to satisfy a legal requirement or to discharge an obligation.

I would combine the two definitions like this:

“The care and attention required by a person who seeks to satisfy a legal requirement.”

But why would consumers care about due diligence?  I’m glad I asked that question for you!

The legal field is a service-based industry.  Our customers are clients whom we represent and guide through a legal process, which oftentimes is complex and filled with pitfalls.  We do our best to untangle legal knots, avoid damning mistakes, and obtain the result the client seeks.

When choosing an attorney, doctor, accountant or other professional, John or Jane Doe must determine what they are seeking in their counsel.  Experience? Intelligence? Bed-side manner?  All noble qualities.  Diligence may not be a quality you hear about often, but it is extremely important in the bankruptcy field.

When you file a bankruptcy case what you are literally doing is filing a petition (often 60-80 pages in length) that represents truthful, accurate, and complete information about your financial affairs.  What do you own?  Who do you owe?  Have you transferred property? What is the source of your income?  A bankruptcy petition asks dozens upon dozens of questions about you and, later on after that petition is filed, you are summoned to the courthouse to confirm that the information is, in fact, accurate, truthful, and complete.

What is your attorney doing this whole time?  DILIGENCE.  DUE DILIGENCE. Bankruptcy attorneys have a great burden to ensure you are accurate, truthful, and complete.  Your attorney should tell you what documents to get, what questions to answer, and whether or not your case has problems that need to be addressed.  Your attorney should explain how bankruptcy works, what to expect at your court hearing, and what debts will be discharged.  Your attorney should review all of your income records for the past six months, your bank statements for the past six months, and your tax returns for the past two years.  Your financial affairs are being audited by the Federal government. You deserve a professional who approaches this process with care, caution, compassion and effectiveness.

Attorneys who do not ask for this information, do not explain the process to you, or do not take the time to ensure your information is accurate, truthful, and complete may do you a disservice, put your case at risk, or worse.

Before choosing a professional, always ask, “Has this person put me at ease? Am I confident he or she is looking out for my best interest?”  Pollak, Hicks & Alhejaj have served the Omaha and Lincoln communities for over 30 years and we pride ourselves on good results and good client relations.  If you or someone you know needs bankruptcy guidance, call us for a free consultation.

© Wesley H. Bain, Attorney at Law

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