Our Riverside County bankruptcy attorneys were interested to see an article reminding readers of some of the disadvantages of representing yourself in bankruptcy. The Erie Times-News reported Feb. 2 on the dismissal of an Erie County councilman's bankruptcy case without prejudice, which means he's free to re-file. Ebert Beeman is still liable for all of his debts right now, the court said, just as if he hadn't filed in the first place. The case was rejected because Beeman didn't submit his Chapter 13 repayment plan or other paperwork to the court in a timely manner. He also didn't complete the required credit counseling before filing, which he said was because his filing was an emergency.
The bankruptcy case comes out of Beeman's federal tax problems. Several years ago, the newspaper said, he made some money as a day trader, but failed to file any tax returns. Beeman is also a retired welder and owns several real estate properties and a notary public business. The federal government says he owes $2.1 million in unpaid taxes and has filed a civil court case seeking to foreclose the properties to satisfy that debt. It also alleges that Beeman has performed sham transactions with the properties to dodge taxes, a claim he denies. Beeman's records say he filed for bankruptcy quickly to get ahead of any decision in that case. Some of his previous court filings have been filed under maritime law, and he has said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is an "alien custodian for Prize and Booty." The article notes that he is representing himself.
Beeman's case may be a bit extreme, but as Irvine personal bankruptcy lawyers, we believe an experienced attorney could have saved him a lot of trouble. People can and do successfully represent themselves through a bankruptcy, but having an attorney creates accountability. That is, if Beeman had an attorney who missed something as basic as paperwork deadlines, that attorney could face professional consequences or even a malpractice lawsuit. In fact, an attorney would handle that work on his behalf, so time wouldn't be such an issue. And an attorney could advise him on the underlying tax case, which is very important because tax debts are not dischargeable in most bankruptcies. That means Beeman may not even need his bankruptcy, depending on the circumstances.
Howard Law PC represents clients who are pursuing a bankruptcy as a way to deal with overwhelming debt. Our clients are Californians of every background who are ready to seek help with high credit card debt, medical bills, mortgage problems and other types of debt. While some people - especially people with mortgage problems - may pursue the kind of strategic bankruptcy that Beeman did, most bankruptcy filers these days are simply unable to keep up their payments because of a layoff or another major drop in income. Our Escondido consumer bankruptcy attorneys help them through the complicated financial and legal processes surrounding bankruptcy - something that may be a lot easier with an experienced advocate by your side.
If you know you can't realistically pay off your debts within a few years, you should talk to Howard Law about pursuing a bankruptcy. To learn more or set up a free, confidential case evaluation, send us a message online or call 1-800-872-5925.