It's Scary Just Thinking About Them: Real Estate Attorney David Soble Reveals 13 Things People Should Know When Faced with a Legal or Financial Challenge

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Proven Resource managing attorney addresses the most common areas that clients should consider when attempting to resolve their problem.

Proven Resource: Just a little knowledge can set you on the right course.

There was once a young attorney present at a client meeting where a senior attorney was trying to sort through a business matter for a client, a restaurant owner, who had successfully created a horrendous legal mess for himself. For years, he was doing his own "legal work" without any benefit of counsel and it had caught up with him. The partner slowly looked up from a stack of business documents and legal notices, and in bewilderment asked the client, "how did you get to be so old and be so stupid at the same time?" Hearing this sent shivers up the young attorney's spine, and one could only imagine what went through the client's mind.

Effective legal and financial professionals earn their business from experience.    Listed below are 13 items from my experience that address real concerns of past and present clients. How scary it is to operate in business without having even a portion of this information, lest someone at a later time provide a sharp rebuke like that received by the restaurant owner? The items listed herein do not appear in any particular order of importance. They are:

1. A bank is just a company. It may be licensed federally or by the state, but nonetheless it is just a company that specializes in finance and money. A bank is not part of the government, but is highly regulated by the government. A Bank must follow the same laws as individuals do when seeking legal redress. A bank competes with other banks or companies for your business. If you are unhappy with your bank, withdraw your money and go to another bank or credit union;

2. A foreclosure notice date is not the date that one needs to leave a home. Believe it or not, there are people who target uninformed property owners experiencing a foreclosure. They try to gain access to the home for a host of illegitimate reasons. They try to convince the homeowner that they must vacate their property. Don't leave a home or apartment against your will or until you speak with an attorney;

3. Collection companies must get a judgment against you before they can garnish or execute on your property. A collection letter is not a legal complaint, it is merely a notice. Consumers have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to contest the validity of a collection account;

4. A long festering problem cannot be resolved by the flick of a switch. A problem may have taken months to create and it is going to take some time for a professional to unwind;

5. Except for winning the lottery, marrying into money, or coming into a large inheritance, there is no way to get rich quickly. Financial success takes effort and perseverance. There is an old expression, "a fool and their money are soon parted." Investigate business opportunities that sound too good to be true;

6. It is folly to entrust a financial or legal problem to unlicensed people or to people who may be licensed professionals, but inexperienced in the area that needs professional attention. For example, a real estate agent is licensed to assist in a real estate purchase transaction, however, they cannot draft a rental agreement or provide legal opinions concerning the legality of a real estate matter;

7. It is equally unwise for these same people described above in Item 6, to pay a charlatan in full and up front! Remember that the old expression, " a fool and their money are soon parted," is old for a reason. Investigate when in doubt;

8. Should it be any surprise that signing a legally binding document without understanding the fine print, or ignoring the fine print altogether is asking for trouble? Also, don't sign blank forms that can be filled in at a later time by bad actors. These forms can still have a legally binding effect and people are often surprised when these terms are enforced against them at a later date;

9. Don't wait until the last minute to seek legal assistance. To do so is to risk losing one's legal rights by taking action on the brink of a legal deadline. Stop procrastinating!

10. Retain copies of important legal documents and put them in a safe place. Real estate, medical, estate and insurance documents require safe and accessible storage;

11. But for legitimate charitable work, some people actually believe that a stranger will do competent work for them for "free";

12. Make sure to file important documents pertaining to real estate with the county recording office. Having a deed to a property could prove worthless without filing one's property interest with the county. For instance, a Power of Attorney concerning real estate must be filed with the county in which the property resides in order for it to be official. In the same vein, people often fail to obtain a copy of their filed discharge of a mortgage or a release of lien. Releases and discharges are the only evidence that a loan has been paid off. One should secure these legal forms immediately, or within a short time frame from paying off a loan;

13. Recognize the problem with giving out an outrageously inappropriate personal email address inconsistent with one's purported professional persona. I know this is totally unrelated to our topic, but it is just a pet peeve of mine.

About the Author: Since 1990, David Soble has been a real estate and finance attorney in Ohio and Michigan. He advises national banks, lenders, loan servicers, consumers and business owners on residential and commercial real estate, finance and compliance issues. He has been involved in thousands of real estate transactions, being responsible for billions in real estate loan portfolios throughout his career. He has 23 years of real estate and lending law experience and the battle scars to support his tempered cynicism.

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David Soble
Proven Resource
since: 07/2012
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