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Attorney Daigle July 2020 Interview – Senior Citizens and Bankruptcy

 

Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on these needs to be said. It has been a while since we’ve talked with our friend attorney Peter Daigle, and he’s had a new edition. I said the last time I got to talk with him, I think we might’ve mentioned the grandbaby one other time, but welcome back, Peter, how are you doing? Tell me about the grandbaby, I’m all about the grandbaby.

You hear about babies, right, yeah, of course. As we’ve talked in the past, a new baby just brings such beautiful energy into the family, you know, and that, it’s like a sunny day where, you know, if it’s been not so good for a few days, all of a sudden you see the baby and it’s like, oh, life is good. You know because they’re so beautiful. I may have, just so innocent and they don’t carry any of the baggage that, you know, the adults have with all the little problems or, things in life. And so it just brightens everybody’s day. And it also gives me hope for the world that, you know, the world is going to be okay. You know, because we’re bringing, you know, good children into the world, you know so thank you for asking.

Awesome, congratulations on that. Well, we are talking with you; you’re our attorney that talks about bankruptcy. And one of the things I’ve noticed over the years that you’re very concerned about, you’re compassionate, that’s the word I’m looking for. You’re very compassionate towards the people that you help. And so it’s always interesting because when we began talking, bankruptcy was a bad word, bad “b” word, to say that word, right. So getting people comfortable with being able to reset their lives is what I’ve found to be a theme in what you’ve shared with me. And to get more people into the conversation of this is not bad. And it’s not just for a certain group of people or certain kinds of people. So today I want to hear from you and, let’s kind of begin helping people see how varied, you know, this is, and we might ask them, so we may not be able to get to the broad part of it today, for sure. But in general there are different kinds of people, whether they are male, female, old, young, a student, whatever, there are different categories, but I just want to know from you, what’s the latest category of people you’ve helped and what do they face when they come to you

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Okay, so I’m going to give you an example of someone that I just helped recently, and, this person sort of fits into a lot of different situations that come into her life, and everybody’s life. So, this woman was in her early seventies and she had just lost her spouse, recently. And so, she was relying on both of the incomes, to provide, you know, a somewhat comfortable lifestyle. And so, you know, without her husband’s income, she was trying to juggle the household bills and pay her debt they had, you know, had some health issues, the last few years, both of them, and as a result of that, they weren’t able to work as much as they had liked to. And so they had to rely on some of their credit cards, to supplement their income, as well as, both jobs for now, the woman, did not have the income from the spouse yet.

She was saddled with the debt, and this created a lot of anxiety for her because, at her age, and her skill level and training, she had sort of reached the end of her economic life. Being able to get out in the workplace, to work a full time job and was going to have to rely on social security, and a small pension to be able to get her by. So, up until, you know, the passing of her husband, they were able to make the payments on the credit cards and, and, and get by. But now without that income, it became impossible for her to maintain a minimum standard of all of life. A lot of folks in this age group, which is, you know, late sixties, seventies, up into the eighties, aren’t able to, to continue with a career in which they had during their lifetime, whether it be a nurse or a teacher, or, you know, whatever they did.

And so a lot of times they do, you know, jobs like work part time at Walmart or the grocery store, or they help out. And, in this woman’s situation, she couldn’t stand on her feet for a long period of time. so you know, the jobs like working as a cashier or bagger or greeter things that the grocery stores offer, she wasn’t able to do, so she was only able to stand for certain periods of time. And so, she was limited on the job, opportunities that she had. So, she came to me with a lot of fear, and anxiety with what the future was going to bring, because she had all this, you know, credit card debt that she had, she had acquired with her, from her husband, and yet she really wasn’t able to, take advantage of, the workplace, like she would have been able to, had she been younger and healthier.

Okay, so, this loss, or diminishing income of the senior citizens, is a very real thing, and it’s very difficult to live on just social security alone, especially if you have any kind of debt at all. And so, you know, we talked about some of her options that she had, and also, some information I wanted to give her in which, she would be able to use, to, you know, not be so fearful because, she would, you know, she would know what would be around the corner, if anything, and, you know, I can only do so much, you know, being able to allay the fears of the elderly and specifically just this woman, because, I can only solve a certain portion of the problem and that is just a debt.

Okay. I can’t, we can’t, create wind come for her, and we can’t fix her health. And so, what we try to do is just focus on one small area by giving her information as to, as to what to do. So, you know, the first thing that I did, I did everybody’s, I sort of just sized up the overall picture. What is your income, what are your expenses, what do you have in debt, and, you know, and what is your information on how you can earn income going forward. So by taking a big, big picture look, you know, I have some idea of some solutions for the debt. Generally speaking, with anybody with debt, the options are, one would be a bankruptcy, two would be to try to settle the debt, if possible, or three is, it’s just to do nothing.

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Okay, and try to, to, you know, to block, the advances of, of creditors, you know, should they become aggressive. So, when you make below a certain amount of money, and that amount is determined on a, on a state level, you’re protected from the actions of creditors because you don’t meet the minimum standard of living. Okay. And so, as a practical matter, there’s not a whole lot that they can do, to you. If you just have a car, you know, you’re living in a subsidized housing and, you know, you’re living, living on social security and a small pension. And so, your income is just a Meeker, the creditors don’t have a lot of options. And so, we discussed that as an option, as being able to just sort of just, you know, segregate this problem, from your life and allow them, them being creditors, it’s just kind of spins out of control, and eventually will go away.

Okay, now, you know, that’s easier said than done, because this debt, it can cause anxiety, and, the fact that operon is old, and, so we talk about the anxiety level and whether or not that is an option. It’s an option for some, because they can say, listen, I’ve been through worse, I’ve survived cancer. I survived my, our spouse passing away. I’ve survived. I survived the loss of a child, whatever I can deal with. So if they say to me, you know, what, I’m just going to not pay them and I’m going to let them do whatever they’re going to do, and I’m gonna stop answering the phone. I’m gonna block the calls, and then I’m going to just let it go. Okay. Okay, so that’s an option for them. Okay. And, and, you know, I would take their temperature, so to speak as to whether or not this is something that they would be able to do.

One of the options that are sort of similar to that is for us to field a call from creditors. In most States, it’s against the law to call, an individual for the purposes of collecting a debt, if they are represented by an attorney. So one of the options that you can discuss with your attorney is whether or not you will just feel the calls and the creditors and let the creditors know that we’ll have them looking at options and we’ll get back to them. Okay. And that way they are, it takes the constant phoning from the creditors off the individual. Okay. And, you know, and then we would revisit it in six months to say, hey, how are things going? You know, do you want to; has anything changed in your life? Okay. To be able to leave, to start paying them again, file bankruptcy or whatever.

And so, we just do regular check-ins and based upon the fact that we’re helping this person out, so that’s option number one. And that’s what they call that kind of almost like the, do nothing approach in terms of taking any, any, actual action towards getting rid of the debt. Now if, if, for some reason that is not a good option, because the anxiety level of the individual and this woman, she just couldn’t, she couldn’t take it. She, she just could not bear, you know, having these calls, these constant calls, you know, you know, we know dinner, dinnertime and breakfast and lunch calls all day long. And so, we talked about the bankruptcy route for her, but that first option is clearly available to anybody in the situation that this woman was in. Okay. So looking at that, that’s the option approach.

Basically just let them, just them at some point, go away, maybe change your phone number, you know, give them to an attorney to manage, but basically just whatever, just sit and, ignore that. Okay. Wait a minute. Of course, of course there, your credit will take a tremendous hit by doing that, but you may be at that point in life. You don’t really need credit. You’re in subsidized housing and you are, you are, you have your own home. It’s paid for, you know, you’re not in need of a car. Your car gets, you run into a couple of transportation, so you don’t need your credit bills and you can kind of get by with what you have. And, and you don’t want to go into the expense of doing a bankruptcy, if that’s, you know, as an option. So this sort of we’ll call it the, do nothing approach or do very little approach, we’ll call it instead of his nothing.

Okay. so again, going to the second option, you know, in our office, we have reduced rates, for individuals that are in the situation that I just described in which we, we, the first thing we asked him is, are you making payments to creditors at all, and if they’re saying, well, you know, I’m making a payment of a hundred dollars a month or $200 a month or whatever. And they say, well, I can pay that, but it’s not sustainable. Then what we would do is we would say, okay, we’ll work on it. We’re going to work out for you based upon what you can afford to pass monthly. Okay. So if you say, well, the best that I can do is a hundred dollars a month because that’s all I was paying the minimum payments and, and I will pay, I can pay that for a period of time, we’ll work with that number of a hundred dollars a month or whatever the number is.

Okay. So in terms of getting the bankruptcy’s done, we set a goal of six months, a year, 18 months out by doing the bankruptcy. And we would work out a payment plan, in which, you know, the individual, in this case, we worked on a hundred dollars a month, with her, for, for a year, being able to make the payments of a hundred dollars a month. And then we had to charge, charge her for the filing fee on top of that. But that was an instance of someone that we gave a hand too, that was really impoverished. So we would, we would set up a phenomenal amount of money each month, you know, we don’t like to go longer than a year. And during that year, we’ll feel the phone calls from the creditors. So, the opposite, of the second option would be to file the bankruptcy and try to work off of, try to get an attorney to do a reduced scheme in order to get that done and, start making the payments on a monthly basis, to be able to, pay it and then have the attorney, handle the credit calls.

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Okay.

Can I ask you a question? Can I ask you a question of that one real quick, please? So this, this scenario here, is a senior citizen in her seventies and, you, okay. Let me make sure I’m saying it right, because I was writing notes. You said you do the reduce rate amount for a year, and you’re feeling the calls. So this is after the do very little approach? So what does this do for that person for 12 months?

Well, it’s, it’s sort of a, it’s a modification of the do nothing, meaning that, it’s if they, if they need, a better plan than to do nothing, then this is, this would be an alternative. Okay. So if they say to me, I cannot stomach, not dealing with this, I can’t have these constant calls. I just can’t do it. Then we would say, then, let’s look at a bankruptcy option for you as an alternative, but you’ll have to pay something each month towards the fee. So it’s not doing nothing, and doing rental, it’s actually paying the attorney a fee and putting the money aside. She gave him a file the bankruptcy in a year. Okay.

Okay.

Oh, right, makes sense. Now I’m like, okay. Yeah. Yeah.

So in a year, they would be able to file the bankruptcy because the reduced fee had been paid and then also we would need, at that point, it’s just a filing fee for the court. Okay. So we’d have to collect whatever that filing fee is at that time. Okay. And so that was the bankruptcy option, but that would be not like, Oh, I don’t have, you know, $1,200 or $1,500 or whatever the amount is. I just don’t have that yet. They can pay something each month towards it, in that we would, accept that as a payment, you know, working towards that goal. So that’s probably the most popular option that we have is that approach. Okay.

Wow. Well of course, I don’t know it. Go ahead. Yeah. I’m sitting here going. Wow. But of course, I don’t know this stuff.

Yeah. Well, I mean, it would, it has a, has an ending, and the ending is the creditors will be discharged if you take the first approach, which is do nothing to do little, it doesn’t really have an end to get it kind of just like phase out. Okay. And phase out the calls become less. And then the letters become less than, then, but the bankruptcy, sort of, puts an ending to it because, you know, the colors would be basically completely wiped out once the bankruptcy was filed, and it also has a goal in mind. So look, we’re going to file this thing in a year, but you’ve gotta make payments to me, you know, during the meantime. Okay. And that would be the second option that we would have. Okay. The third option that we offer, to senior citizens and, again, this woman did not, she accepted option number two, which is the, pay something each month towards the back of seat.

As we also have a debt settlement option, in which we offer the credit of something. And, and, it’s no, it’s nearly a nominal amount, somewhere, less than 50% of what they all, we would offer somewhere around 10 or 20% of what’s on. Okay. And so we would, you know we would reach out to them and say, hey, listen; we have a little bit of money here, as the money built up in our account. And so, you know, the person would fund our account; let’s say just for conversation’s sake, $200 a month. And then we left that money, build up in our account and then one is built up. We would contact the creditors and say, hey listen; we’ve got a little bit of money here. Would you take it to settle, and that’s what we were trying to do. Okay. So we and they would do, they would take that option if they really did not want to file bankruptcy, or if they didn’t qualify, if there was a qualification in their background, that prevented them from filing, and they’d wanted to do something, not do nothing, they’ll do very little. Then we could make them enter into an agreement with us to pay a little bit of money each month.

Okay.

That’s called jet settlement. You know, those are really the only three options that are available for a senior citizen, on the scenario that I told you earlier. And, all the three options, the most popular one is the bankruptcy. I would say that would do that would handle three quarters of the folks because they just want to spend and do it. And the other two options to be split up between those that, just, you know, can’t afford to do anything, or they have a little bit of extra money that they would prefer to settle the debt, for, you know, for whatever their reason was, what reason Okay. So what that does is, at the beginning of the, of the, consultation, it, it sort of gives some options that, and some information that would, you know, will allay some of the fears that they bring into the call.

And so, you know, by giving them those three options, they are then empowered to make a decision. And, you know, they could, they would ask specific questions about each of the options over the overall of the phone call, or we could follow up on the second call if it was something they wanted to absorb. So, again, the idea is to, conclude the consultation with the plan. Okay, and, and not, you know, not to have a plan. And so, in this specific case, a woman, who had lost her husband and was, struggling to work a part time job because of her inability to stand beside it, the bankruptcy was the best option for her, because she did not want to deal with the calls, and could not afford, and she didn’t have enough money to fund the debt settlement.

So that was just one individual. But I’ve described to you a class of individuals, who have, common problems. OK. Again, health problems, loss of a spouse, loss of a job, inability to find a job considering with COVID out there also, which is a real possibility. Yeah. They don’t want to go back into the workplace because they’re afraid of being in public. So, you know, for whatever the life circumstances that is interfering with their ability to maintain a healthy financial lifestyle, we would look at whatever that is, and try to tailor a solution based upon the three options that I’ve described to you. So, yeah…

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And I, and I know that you, you said this word like maybe a hundred times, and it’s, I got it options because that’s what people need. And I love that. I was like, yes, there’s options, because when you talk to me, I’m hearing what you tell me. Of course, I don’t know what you know, but the fact that a person has options. And then when you brought up, you know, it was just this person reflecting and said, I’ve been through losing a spouse, you know, I’ve survived cancer, lay it on me, you know, what cause, cause when they come to you, they don’t know if they have another option. They think, well, I don’t even know what to do. I’m stuck. So getting unstuck, knowing that you could do very little, you could do a reduced rate as a senior citizen, or you could do, you know, all out bankruptcy if you have the money up front, but being able to really evaluate, because people don’t think about that.

I wouldn’t even sit and think about that. Hmm. What do I have, and what am I trying to do, because I’m stuck right now. I’m not thinking about, do I need another car. Am I working on my credit until you talk to me, or am I exempt? I’m not a senior citizen, of course, but I’m thinking, Hmm, do I need another car, you know, and, and in other people, I’m sure you, you know, would be thinking the same thing as they are listening. I’m not a senior citizen, but those are great questions. What do I need? What do I have right now? Or what do I need right now that I don’t have, and I’m stuck and I need to get these phone calls to stop. What do I do? And I think I’m really feeling number two, like the lady did, because I feel like I am doing something. Even if I don’t have a lot of money right now, but I could pay on it, and you guys take the calls. It’s been in a year. We can make it stop bankruptcy.

Yeah. The bankruptcy filed. The other, is that your credit would get rebuilt. So you just really, you really just, you know, where you have a year to do it. And yet you would feel the calls. So it’s a viable option in any right above being able to near the car. I mean, if you’re in your seventies, you know, your chances are, and you might need at least one more car. You know, if you’re in your eighties, well, maybe you can get by with your last one. And you know, if you have a child that will, co-sign a loan for you or help you out, or maybe a public transportation. So we have to look at each circumstance and see whether or not it’s reasonable or not. But, most people who get to that stage in life are not comfortable with the fact is their credit is going to be bruised.

And so by doing the bankruptcy option, there is life to rebuild your credit after the bankruptcy, because the bankruptcy will clear the credit report. If you don’t do anything or do very little, it’s not going to help your credit score. So you’re going to have, you’re going resign yourself to the fact that your credit is not going to be good. And for a lot of people at a certain age who fought to maintain good credit – that is just unacceptable. So, you know, that’s one thing that we, we talk quite a bit about, credit and how it’s affected them throughout the process.

I love it. I love it. I want to say thank you so much for sharing this information, with this needs to be said, audience, and thank you for your work that you do in the world. Thank you for making bankruptcy a good work, because it’s good to be able to reset yourself. I’m a gamer. So I used to restart the game when I was about to lose. So as time has gone on, I’ve been playing, I’ve been playing for over 40 years. So think about Atari. So you hit the little button and you reset it, right So that’s what I think about when I talk, when I talk with you, you get to hit the button and reset it and get you some extra money and I’ll get you some extra life. So this is, this is awesome. And for the audience, if you have to make this decision, what better way to make this decision then with an attorney who cares about your outcome

And he’s very honest about what he can do for you, and what he can’t do for you. I liked that you said we can’t get you more money, and we can’t fix your health, but this is what we can do. And that’s what people, they do want to know. They don’t know what the answer is. They say, hey, you know, and then we say, tell me the answer. And we don’t want you to tell me, tell me two answers, so I can choose one, and you gave us three options. Peter, I know that this was a general statement or general conversation for someone who fits this profile as a senior citizen. And I thank you for doing that. And I hope that you’ll come back again and we’ll talk about another scenario because what I do believe, not that I know, but I believe that everyone could be one of your clients. And, and I mean, you know, like every category could be someone that comes to you and they need to hear that. It’s okay to do that. It’s okay for me to reset my life. You know? So, thank you. And I hope you do come back and share some more with this. Okay.

Well, thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you, and I can’t wait to talk to you again. Soon

Before we go, let people know how to get in touch with you.

Sure. You can go to my website, Daiglelawoffice.com, and I have quite a bit of information on my website. You can also order a free copy of my book on the website. Also, I would love to talk to you, if, if any of the scenarios that I’ve discussed today, or something that may be for you. And you can reach me at (508) 771-7444, and we can schedule a consultation.

So until next time, Peter, have a wonderful day.

Okay, Katherine. Bye. Bye Now.

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