Local attorney sees increase in bankruptcies for unlikely people
August 26th, 2010 @ 5:20am
By Cleon Wall
SALT LAKE CITY — When you hear that someone has filed for bankruptcy, you may think they are younger and just got in over their head or maybe got hit with an undue hardship like medical bills. Bankruptcy attorney Stephen Enderton says those clients are still out there, but others you may not expect are also using his services.
"What we're getting is those who had that nest egg, who had that buildup, and they would never have had a problem had the economy not stopped," he said.
Enderton, who is also the state co-chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, says some people have been living off their savings — some for over a year.
"The sad thing is, in a bankruptcy a 401K and an IRA [are] exempt, and the people that are coming in now are using them to live on just to get past that," Enderton said. "And so there are people who are doing everything in their power, including using exempt assets to try and avoid this situation."
Many of Enderton's clients lost jobs, had small businesses or now have new jobs that pay a lot less than the old one.
"So even though they have a job, it's certainly not enough to support the lifestyle that they had," he said.
Enderton says it's tough for these hard workers to come in to his office. "They're shell shocked, they are broken hearted," he said.
But Enderton says it's his job to show them that bankruptcy may be the best thing for them.
"I want them to understand the system, I want them to understand where they're at and I want them to understand that this is not the end of the world," he said.