The other day I ran into a friend at a local coffee shop. We began talking about business and then he mentioned he recently received some upsetting news about a friend who had recently taken his own life. My friend then described what happened to this individual. The individual came from a prominent family and a number of years ago sold at a great profit a family business. After selling the business, the individual began investing in real estate locally and in some of the fastest growing markets in the early 2000s. To acquire the real estate he, along with partners, took out large mortgages and signed personal guaranties. When the financial collapse hit in 2008, this individual was stuck with numerous properties in various states of development that that were worth less than what was owed on them. He lost not only the properties, but also other assets he pledged to secure those loans.
As I heard this story it dawned on me that I knew who this individual was. About three or four years ago this individual visited with me about the possibility of filing bankruptcy. I worked with him for a number of weeks to come up with a plan and alternatives. Unfortunately, this individual decided to try to work out of the financial mess on his own and hoped that with some additional time the markets would turn around and he would resolve his difficulties. Unfortunately the banks and other creditors demanded payments and foreclosed on properties. He lost his investments, eventually he went through a divorce and ultimately tried going back to work. He was unable to keep a job and eventually, just recently, took his own life. In retrospect, I regret not being able to be of further help, however, at the time I was working with this individual, he did not want to consider bankruptcy and the resolution to his problems that it offered.
While the situation I described above does not happen often, if it happens at all, it happens too much. As a bankruptcy attorney, I truly think that if this individual had given the bankruptcy option an opportunity, he may have been able to save a portion of his assets, and hopefully avoid the other tragedies described above. My point in telling this story is to let people know that if either you or someone you know is suffering from severe financial problems that could lead to depression or worse, please make sure that they receive information on what the bankruptcy laws might be able to do to help relieve their financial and personal problems. While many people may be too stubborn to take the information, at least letting them know the information is available might be able to help prevent the next tragedy.
– Neil Sader