As San Bernardino County consumer bankruptcy attorneys, we were interested to see yet another report of a political figure filing for bankruptcy. The Arizona Republic reported Jan. 25 on the personal bankruptcy of Lyn Truitt, the mayor of Surprise, Ariz., which is northwest of Phoenix. Truitt said he's been struggling with the loss of his wife's income since her death, a situation compounded by medical bills and the economic downturn. He wants to keep his home and intends to continue making payments on his $371,000 mortgages even though he's underwater, with the home valued at $153,000. He told the newspaper that he didn't think Surprise voters would hold the bankruptcy against him in the August primary election, since the financial downturn has driven people across the United States to bankruptcy.
Truitt lost his wife, Donna, to pancreatic cancer two years ago. In addition to the personal loss, he said, the loss of her income has left him financially strapped. He also cited high medical debt, though it wasn't clear whether it was from cancer treatments or another ailment. To make matters worse, Truitt's business as a real estate broker took a beating along with the rest of the Arizona real estate market, generating just $14,000 last year. In 2009, that income was nearly $138,000. This is in addition to his $34,000 salary as Surprise's mayor. And Truitt has a total of $77,000 in debt on 10 credit cards. The article noted that Truitt has filed for bankruptcy before, in 1986, when his former furniture delivery business got into financial trouble.
Our Corona personal bankruptcy lawyers hope Truitt is right that voters will see that he's "affected by this economy just like everyone else." With the number of bankruptcies on the rise in the past year or two, and increasingly including people of all personal and financial backgrounds, it would be nice to think the stigma is falling from bankruptcy. The situation has been especially hard on people who work in real estate like Truitt, because the real estate downturn has shrunk their incomes along with the value of their homes. A serious illness in the family is also a very common cause of bankruptcy, and one that's no fault of the patient's or family's own. We think Truitt should be commended for facing his problem -- and discussing it publicly -- rather than ignoring it or digging himself in deeper with credit cards.
At Howard Law PC, we encourage all of our bankruptcy clients and potential clients to see bankruptcy as a positive step toward regaining control of their finances. Many people see bankruptcy as an irresponsible choice, because it allows the filers to legally not pay some of their debts. In fact, our Yorba Linda individual bankruptcy attorneys believe it's very responsible to file for bankruptcy, because it signals that you're willing to face your problems and do the hard work necessary to take control. Bankruptcy does eventually allow some debts to be forgiven, but filers must first sell off much of what they own, or make a payment plan and stick to it for three to five years. At the end, filers' remaining debts are discharged and they're ready to rebuild their credit and their financial lives.
If you're deep in debt and you know you can't handle it alone, Howard Law may be able to help. For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, send us an email or call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.