Be Careful About Information On the Internet

By Kenneth Lenz, Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney
I suggested the decision was too important to make without getting legal advice

I know you’ve heard it before (and it’s been written about before), but I just finished meeting with a new client — she almost hadn’t come, having emailed me yesterday saying she had done research on the internet and concluded she could not do a bankruptcy if she wanted to try to get out any of her equity in her home.

I suggested the decision was too important to make without getting legal advice (which anything you find on the internet isn’t), and that she should be careful about information she found on the internet.  After all, some of it is simply wrong, some of it was right when posted but wasn’t updated and now something has changed, and some of it is simply not applicable (but that’s not necessarily clear from the context).

I suggested that while it was of course for her to decide, for something this important I would not want to rely on my own online research before concluding what my options really are. The decision she was trying to make (about whether to file bankruptcy or not — was too important to make based on only what she found on the internet.  She agreed, and we met.

It turns out she had concluded, based on her research on the internet, that only a married couple, filing jointly, could protect only $21,625 homestead equity. The reality is that a single person using the Connecticut exemptions can protect $75,000.00 equity in their house (their homestead), and a couple or two family owners who both reside in the house could double that exemption to $150,000--an amazing difference between what was found on the internet and what it really is.

And, by the way, be careful, too, of the flip side of this — be careful of the information you put out there about yourself, as Peter Orville discusses in  his post Be Wary of Your “Friends”.

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