You learned in school not to write all your papers by just looking on the internet. It was a sign of lazy work and arose suspicion of cheating. And the information that you found on Wikipedia wasn’t to be trusted. Who knows who wrote that?
Times have changed since I was in school. Now the internet is a vital source of information and authorship can be verified on reliable websites. And it takes a long time for editors to publish books, and a long time to get to the library to check them out.
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir when I say that the internet is the go to source for all sorts of practical information. You’re here reading this blog on bankruptcy looking for bankruptcy information.
As I return to my long neglected blog here, I can’t help but think about how the “freshness” of information on legal topics spoils quickly. The law, and bankruptcy law specifically, changes quickly. And old information may be unreliable information.
Bankruptcy laws change faster than many other types of law. Here are just a few reasons:
- Law doesn’t mean just what is on the law books. The law, and what your attorney will be referring to when making decisions about your case includes the cases that have recently been decided. In short, the law is what the elected officials sign, but it is also what judges say. That means decisions, general orders, local rules, regulations and decisions are also part of the law.
- The bankruptcy code was overhauled in 2005. Not many other laws have been overhauled since then. After an area of law is overhauled, all sorts of unclear issues need to be taken care of by the courts and the law tends to changes happen until the law is settled. For an example of a rare law that has been overhauled since bankruptcy was, take a look at Obamacare. Notice how much mail you get from your insurance provider about changes due to Obamacare?
- Bankruptcy is federal law that relies on state law. Without delving into the separation of powers issues, the bankruptcy code is federal law, but it relies on state law to determine what property you can keep and to determine what you own. State law is a big part of what a debtor’s actual experience in bankruptcy will be like.
- The income and exemption limits frequently adjust. We just learned in the news that median income jumped by 5.2% in 2015. That means that next year you will be able to qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy easier. A lot of numbers that are vital to your bankruptcy case change regularly. They include chapter 13 debt limits, IRS expense allowances, tax rates, interest rates and exemption limits.
I am happy to write about legal topics. I think about bankruptcy and how it affects individuals all the time. And I have in the past written on some of the trickiest and most confusing topics related to debt and distressed homeowners. I write for my neighbors so I am able to give specific and timely answers to California Bay Area bankruptcy law.
But the topics that I wrote about in 2010 are now outdated to one degree or another. And any other blogs that were entirely accurate in 2010 and now also outdated. So please recognize the blistering pace of legal change, and exercise caution when researching information as important as bankruptcy and answers to straighten out your family’s finances on the internet.
Of course, all information on the internet is ill-fitting to your particular situation. The very best research is conducted by meeting with a specialized professional to run your situation through all of the filters and analysis that make up the law today. Most attorneys who work with bankrupt individuals offer a free consultation. Take them, or us, up on the offer.