Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on “This needs to be said”. I’m your host Katherine Jones. And there is an elephant in the room. I have our friend attorney Brent Westbrook on with us today. And I’m going to ask Brent a question he’s aware I am, but he doesn’t know what the question is, and this question is about what I thought of bankruptcy attorneys before meeting them. Now, this does not mean I’ve changed my thought because I do not know, his book is the reason I triggered this. This thought was triggered for me from a long time ago. So welcome back, Brent, how are you?
I’m doing well, Katherine. Thanks for having me on.
So your book is called, Defeat debt and unburden your life, protect your assets and remove the fear and anxiety of this title. Protect your assets is what triggered me. Sure. So here’s my question for you a long time ago, I thought that bankruptcy was only for rich people. They were the only ones able to afford it and to, to use it and that they were crooked and that they hid their assets. They went and bought all these things and then file bankruptcy. So they didn’t have to pay people back, but they’re living this lavish lifestyle. Have you ever heard anyone think like, I think I thought?
Of course, yes. I have definitely heard people that have that, that think that, that notion is true and, that, you know, it’s, it’s kind of this dirty tool that the rich use, right, to get ahead of everyone else. So it, you know, I do not see it that way. Obviously I have never had… To be honest with you, the top three reasons that folks come to see me, you know, it’s always, I don’t, I don’t know if I’ve ever filed a case that wasn’t, caused or that people didn’t need relief due to three things. It’s usually a loss of income. Okay, A medical event or divorce. Those are kind of the big three things I saw a statistic recently. I think it was about 70% of couples that go through divorce. At least one party has to, you know, seek bankruptcy relief.
So while, you know, I don’t, I don’t see the, the rich and crooked people using it as much. I think, you know, maybe if they’re setting up off shore stuff, you know, I, I hear about, things like that, that kind of speak to more of that, sentiment that people have you know but bankruptcy is really just, and we say, protect your assets, but these are assets. The laws allow you to keep and that are not subject to, you know, creditor’s claims they can’t be taken to pay your creditors, right? So when we’re saying protect your assets, we’re talking about things like a vehicle to get to work, right. And a home and, you know, a little bit of money in a bank account. So, you know, these are things that everyone’s going to need. You know, it’s, it’s difficult to live in, you know, I’m, I’m in the Midwest, in a suburb of St. Louis. So, you know, in the Midwest, it’s very hard to get to work without having a car it’s not New York or Boston where we have a, you know, a great public transportation system. so the, the things that my clients are protecting are all things that I think are necessary for a family, you know, to get to work and just things to, to operate on.
Thank you for dispelling that myth. I have not asked anyone that, but when I have read it for text assets, I was like, oh yeah, I do know because, been teaching me better and educating me that, you know, this is something that you use in this country to reset yourself. You don’t abuse it. You know, like somebody giving you a second chance, you don’t abuse that you, you show that, Hey, I’m working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen, but life is life. And this is to help us with that. So that’s been one of the most, profound things that I’ve learned through having you all on the show, because I thought it’s embarrassing to have to file bankruptcy and people are going to know, and I’m ashamed and they’re going to be the bad person. And I really have filed bankruptcy before meeting you all.
And I felt those things. So I understand what a person feels when they have to come and say, Hey, I’m in big trouble. It feels like you’re in big trouble. And I’ve, you know, I’ve ruined my entire life. That’s what I felt. So realizing I’m not rich. I don’t qualify. Like, you know, before I come meet you, I’ve already qualified myself. I don’t qualify for bankruptcy. So what are my other options So I would not have, if someone didn’t tell me years ago to do it, I would have never called someone like you, because I already knew I didn’t qualify because I wasn’t rich, you know, because we told each other, on our street knowledge, not really talking to an attorney and getting that understanding. So protecting your assets is about protecting what is necessary and bankruptcy is about resetting your life so that you can move forward because not filing bankruptcy, I experienced it being a huge delay. And it’s very scary when you have to make a decision and it’s going to be foreclosure or bankruptcy, or you’re just gonna, you know, just, oh everybody. And, and what, how do you ever come of that hole is what I, I envisioned in my head back then. Sure,
Sure. I think that’s common. I think everybody, you know, is scared of it. It’s, it’s not a process that, you know, I think anybody enjoys doing, it’s not something that people set out to do, but it, it can definitely, get, you know, honest people, a fresh start and, help them move on, reset and focus on the future.
And the next part of your title here, remove the fear and anxiety of debt. So pick your assets and then remove the fear and anxiety. And I was like, yeah, cause I, I was all kind of scared to death and being desperate and, you know, I made my mom, let me move back in with her. I was like, I have to… I’m going to be homeless. You know, just all of that. And just really didn’t know there could be a plan. There’s a strategy it’s rushed, but it’s not rush and you have solutions. And I didn’t, I didn’t know that. And not that my attorney was bad, but my attorney did what I came for, you know, helped me start a bankruptcy. But through talking with you, I’ve learned so much and to be more calm about it, to not have the fear and anxiety. So I guess you all, that’s what you learn when you’re getting, when you’re getting your license to be, an attorney that people are going to be anxious and they’re going to be fearful, but I’m not an attorney. And I felt that fear. So as an attorney, how do you get someone like myself, that’s coming to you for help to say, you know, calm down, you know, we’re gonna get through this
Right, well you know, the easiest way I think is to listen, first to what people have going on and really understand what it is that’s causing that anxiety and then just laying out for them that there is a solution. You know, one of the most common age demographics that I see this with are the baby boomer population right now is people are retiring. They may only be on a fixed income. And, you know, sometimes creditors, if they’re only receiving social security creditors, can’t, attach social security, it’s exempt. So sometimes, you know, these folks really, you know, maybe judgment proof where, it would be difficult for these creditors to collect any money from them anyway. But especially I find with that age group, it just creates fear and anxiety with them that you can tell it’s just all over their face, it’s affecting their health. They’re nervous about it. And I think that once they find out that, and I tell a lot of people, you know, these are just numbers on a piece of paper at the end of the day. And, you do have the ability to, you know, hit, reset, make this go away and, you know, move on and focus on the future. Life is just too short to let these things, you know, affect your health and, and take years off your life, you know?
Yeah. And, and that, that is powerful thinking of an attorney and the word caring, seven years ago would have been like, that’s not real. Like you go to them in trouble and you’re supposed to be scared. So you never do this again. You know, that, that is really the feeling. No one told me that that’s not what I, that’s just the feeling I got that you only see an attorney when you’re in trouble or rich, you know, I need to protect my, so my husband won’t take them on, right? But no, I just, just the view of the attorney and then thinking, oh, you’re not out to get me. That’s what I want that this needs to be said, audience. And whoever they talk to understand that a consultation is a conversation and it’s specific to you, your situation, because I’m talking about that time.
I went through bankruptcy is not like someone else listening is not like their time or what they’re experiencing today. That was more than gosh, 20 years ago that I filed. So, I’m pretty sure a lot has changed and probably have been, has been more, made more comfortable at least the last seven years on my show for you to know an attorney is there to help you, to, to get on track and to help you understand that, to know, because if I was an elderly person in the situation I was in 20 years ago, I yeah, yeah, my health forget about it. I’m sure I would’ve had a weak heart or something because I don’t know that if I’m collecting social security, I am, may be in a position of being protected. I don’t want to say a hundred percent because we’re not consulting anyone.
We’re giving information. You need to call and talk with him or yourself, but in your book, people can get a copy of it. I have it. I know. I just, we just really scratched the surface of it because getting into a conversation with an attorney is difficult. I feel, and I want to help people have it eat, make that easier for them to pick up that phone or to send you an email, to reach out to your website and to say, just in case, you know, or can I look at my situation can you look at my situation Can we, can we discuss this And you may find, you don’t have anything to worry about. You may find that you came right in the Nick of time. I don’t know, but if you’re concerned about your fit, your finances and think in bankruptcy, attorney Westbrook is somebody you can be in touch with. Sounds like you want to jump in and say something, come on here. Okay.
No, I was just going to say, you know, exactly what, what you mean there. I mean, most attorneys give free consultations. So, I think most, most people that visit with the attorneys will, will have some peace of mind at the end and at least know what their options are.
Yes, yes, no. What your options are. I think that that is so empowering to have options, especially in that moment when I felt I had no way out. And even at that time, the only thing, I can recall right now was chapter seven and chapter 13 was really what the attorney talked to me about. But at least I didn’t have one option. I felt freer knowing there was this or that. And even talking with you all, there’s more than this or that. There’s also life after bankruptcy, how you helped me rebuild after that. So, so much has changed. And I want people to really look at this as an option. So thank you so much for educating us and talking with me on “This needs to be said”.
Thank you. Before we get out of here today, I definitely want you to end with how to get in touch with you outside of this needs to be said, but leave us with, you know, one thought when it comes to bankruptcy or our finances or, that divorce or whatever would make me have to pick up the phone to call you.
Sure. No, I just, I think it’s important to know that, you know, bankruptcy’s not just for the, the rich that are being crooked and attempting to hide assets. These are… this is really a process that’s designed to give, hardworking people that have, been hit with an unfortunate situation, a fresh start in a second chance. Don’t be afraid or nervous to reach out to a lawyer and I think if you do, and just knowing your options is going to give you a peace of mind. So I would encourage anyone that’s struggling with or having anxiety about their debts, being able to pay their bills. I would really encourage them to reach out to a lawyer in their jurisdiction.
Thank you. Give them your information and your location in your area.
Sure. So we do cases in the Eastern half of Missouri. We’re in a suburb west of St. Louis, Missouri in St. Charles, Missouri. We also have a satellite office in Troy, Missouri. Phone number for us is (636) 493-9231. And you can also find us, with our website. It’s just www.westbrooklawgroup.com.
Thank you so much attorney Westbrook until next time you have a super day.
You too! Take care. Thank you.