Criminal defense attorney, Ted Barr, and I cranked up a new edition of Legal Line on Saturday. Although Ted and I had not been together on the air for about 10 years, it seemed like yesterday as we eased back into the groove we had cut so many years ago. A few bumps in the road, like Ted’s headset not being hooked up, some uneasy transitions by a board operator not used to Bob and Ted, but all in all we had a good start to this new venture.
A caller brought up a question worth commenting on involving creditor problems. It looks like he may need to file for bankruptcy, but he is starting a new venture. Will his new business be safe from attack if he indeed files for bankruptcy protection? Here is the simple advice we all need to heed: if you have any inkling that you might need to file for bankruptcy, don’t just sit around and think about it. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bankruptcy lawyer and engage in a strategy session to discuss your options, the pros and cons, and how to arrange your affairs, legally, to be in the best possible position to move on with your life. Do not wait until you have spent every last dime, drained your retirement account, and cashed in your life insurance. I’m not saying just to file for bankruptcy either. I’m suggesting that you have a strategy session early on with a bankruptcy attorney to understand your options and to put yourself and your family in the best possible position, all in a legal manner.
On a lighter side, here is what a caller to the online edition of Legal Line asked about. A caller recently explained that her family is living on the edge. “There is just too much month and not enough money.” We talked a little about the times and how tough they are for most of us. Then she told me about her husband’s method of picking up a little extra cash. It seems that when he goes to Lowe’s or Home Depot or maybe out to lunch with his buddies, he picks up the bill for everyone (on his credit card of course) and then gets the cash from his friends. Somehow the cash never ends up on the credit card bill, just in his pocket. He always seems to have a little extra spending money. What should she do?
Here’s where my extensive legal training really pays off. There is a little legal term called “precedent.” When a case is decided by a court of appeals, such as the Supreme Court, we say that the case sets a precedent for the particular set of facts and courts must follow the precedent in the future when they decide cases that involve substantially similar facts. Pretty slick, huh? In our caller’s case, there is a precedent. In Episode 100 of I Love Lucy (from the fourth season, airing on October 4, 1954), Lucy, who is in charge of the household, ends up on a budget administered by a business manager hired by Ricky. With only $5.00 in spending money for the month, but armed with an account at the grocery store, Lucy starts doing the grocery shopping for her neighbors. She charges their groceries to her account and pockets the money from the neighbors. The bill won’t come until the next month and will, she figures, be paid by the business manager. Luckily, a stock market windfall based on Lucy’s participation in the “market” saves the day (and Lucy). You can pretty much find the answer to most legal questions in an episode of I Love Lucy. Stay tuned.
And, check out Bob and Ted’s new edition of Legal Line next Saturday.