With all of the information available on the web about seemingly every topic imaginable, it should come as no surprise that there is a plethora of information regarding bankruptcy. Doing your research before filing for bankruptcy is smart. The internet is a great way to do your research. However, just because there it a lot of information regarding bankruptcy on the web doesn’t mean it is accurate information. Even if the information is accurate it may not apply to your situation. So . . . be careful!
When getting bankruptcy information on the web, very often, the source of this information is unknown. You could be loading up on bankruptcy knowledge from someone who has filed over 30,000 bankruptcy cases or from an individual who read a book about bankruptcy five years ago and decides to throw what they think they know up on a website. Worst of all, you could be getting information from someone who went through a bankruptcy and thinks that what happened to them (good or bad) will happen to everyone. This of course is just not true.
Every state in the country has different bankruptcy laws. On top of that, different jurisdictions in different states treat bankruptcy differently. Even different judges in the same jurisdiction in the same state can treat things differently! When you are getting information on the internet, you can’t really be sure what state or jurisdiction the information applies to. What is good law in North Dakota may not be good law in Pennsylvania.
Further, bankruptcy is situational. I meet with clients on a regular basis who tell me some variation of "John and Mary down the street filed a bankruptcy and got to eliminate their debt, keep their house, keep their cars, and keep their expensive jewelry. Now I am sitting here meeting with you and you are telling me that I can’t do the same thing. Why?” The answer is that everyone has a different situation and the rules affected that person’s situation differently than they may affect your situation. The internet is fraught with stories, both good and bad, about bankruptcy from a personal prospective. Don’t think that someone else’s experiences with bankruptcy will be your own.
This blog post is going to go exclusively on my firm’s website. My firm’s website has a ton of information about bankruptcy. I am sitting here telling you to be careful about what bankruptcy information you get on the internet when our website attempts to give you information about bankruptcy. The irony of this has not escaped me. Further, I am going to tell you that the information on our website is absolutely accurate (for our jurisdiction) when I just told you not to trust bankruptcy information on the web.
So, go ahead. . . don’t trust the Steidl and Steinberg website! There is no substitute for meeting with an attorney and getting bankruptcy information straight from the horse’s mouth as it applies to your personal situation. When doing internet research, I suggest doing that research on the attorney that you want to meet with to guide you through the bankruptcy, rather than doing internet research about bankruptcy itself. How long have they been in business? Is their website professional? Are there vidoes on the website? Do they make you feel comfortable? Are they rated highly with the Better Business Bureau?
Again, there is no reason to rely on internet information (or misinformation) regarding bankruptcy. Get the information about your situation straight from a professional. Many bankruptcy attorneys will meet with you for free (as does Steidl and Steinberg). So, you have absolutely nothing to lose! Well, except maybe your debt. . .