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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 113493
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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MY FAMILY OWNED AND RAN A HOME MEDICAL EQUIPMENT BUSINESS

Customer Question

MY FAMILY OWNED AND RAN A HOME MEDICAL EQUIPMENT BUSINESS FOR 60 YEARS TILL WE WERE FORCED BY OUR BANK TO CLOSE AND SELL OUR ASSETS TO A COMPETITOR; OUR LAST DAY IN BUSINESS WAS 3/31/2013. IN 2005 WE AGREED TO AND I SIGNED A REALSTATE CONTRACT FOR A 5 YEAR TERM TO HAVE A STOREFRONT AND LOCAL OFFICE. IN THAT CONTRACT, I SIGNED A CLAUSE THAT PERSONALLY GUARANTEED THE CONTRACT. WE FULFILLED THE CONTRACT AS WRITTEN AT THE END OF 2010. AFTER THAT, WE AGREED VERBALLY TO CONTINUE OCCUPYING THE BUILDING AND WERE ABLE TO GET THE RENT PAYMENT REDUCED BECAUSE OF THE CASH-FLOW PROBLEM WE WERE HAVING. WE MADE THE DECISION TO VACATE THE BUILDING BY 5/1/2012 BECAUSE WE COULDN'T PAY THE RENT SINCE 1/1/2012. THE BUILDING OWNER HAS SINCE PASSED-AWAY SOMETIME LAST YEAR. HIS ATTORNEY IS STILL PURSUING ME PERSONALLY TO PAY ABOUT $13,500. COVERING PAST-DUE RENT AND LEGAL EXPENSES SUPPOSEDLY ON BEHALF OF THE WIFE AND SURVIVING FAMILY.
A FRIEND OF MINE WITH EXTENSIVE REALSTATE BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS BEHIND HIM TOLD ME THAT WITHOUT A WRITTEN AND SIGNED CONTRACT YEAR-TO-YEAR AFTER THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT WAS FULFILLED, INDIANA LAW MAKES HIS PURSUIT OF ME PERSONALLY NOT VALID. I HAVE NO $$ PERSONALLY TO PAY THAT DEBT AND IT WAS SUGGEST TO ME I FILE CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY. ANY SUGGESTIONS?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If your lease expired in 2010 and you fulfilled the contract as written, what are they still trying to pursue you over?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
ALTHOUGH WE HAD NO FORMAL WRITTEN CONTRACT FROM THE ORIGINAL COMPLETED IN 2010, WE STAYED AT THE LOCATION AND PAID RENT AS AGREED VERBALLY UNTIL JANUARY OF 2012 THROUGH APRIL OF 2012. . .WE OWED HIM $2000./MO. FOR THE 4 MONTHS WE WERE THERE BUT COULD NOT PAY BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. AFTER THE FORMAL LEGAL FILEING TO COLLECT THIS DEBT, WE PAID OUT TO HIM ABOUT $2000. OVER A PERIOD OF 13 MONTHS. WHATEVER THE BALANCE OWED IS, WITH THE LEGAL COST THE ATTORNEY WANTS TO BE PAID ABOUT $10,000. I CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY HIM AND DON'T BELIEVE I SHOULD EVEN BE PURSUED FOR THIS DEBT.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Thank you for the explanation. So, if you did not pay him what was owed based on your verbal agreement, that is still a contract. The costs of collection to the attorney you may dispute based on them not being reasonable, but that would mean you would have to file in court a motion to object to legal fees in the case where you owe them the money. This also means needing an attorney to fight them in court. However, your money may be better spent in filing bankruptcy and hiring an attorney to file the bankruptcy and get ALL of your unsecured debts extinguished to give you more breathing room into the future.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. I HAVE TO ASSUME YOUR OPINION IN THIS MATTER TO BE CORRECT; SO....EVEN WITH NO FORMAL CONTRACT RENEWED AND BEING SIGNED ETC, MY PERSONAL LIABILITY REMAINS. I'LL HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO FILE BANKRUPTCY. THANKS AGAIN.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
IF you had a verbal agreement once the contract expired, then you would still owe the money, yes, I am afraid so.
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