How can a person recognize that they are approaching the proverbial “last minute” when facing a pressing legal or financial matter? The “last-minute” is the time in a crisis where the balance teeters against one’s favor, placing them beyond any significant help; help that can have a real impact on a desired outcome. It’s true that there are people who can “pull one off at the last minute” but this is only noteworthy because it is the exception rather than the rule. So why go through all of the anxiety? When experiencing a financial or legal crisis, here are five significant indicators that one is approaching “the last minute” and it is a good time to seek professional intervention:
- When key decision-makers stop responding to your inquiries. So you’ve taken your concerns to the highest level of the corporate “food chain” and the person in charge stops responding to you, even after you have exercised professional persistence. This is a good indication that they cannot or will not provide a solution to your problem. If there is no reasonable explanation for their lack of follow-up, then you are approaching “the last minute”. Seek out an independent advocate as soon as possible.
- A complicated fact pattern is “growing even more hair,” and creates new problems. When one problem begets another problem that has far-reaching financial or legal implications, so that you soon are acting as a circus plate juggler, you are approaching “the last minute”. If you are experiencing a crisis in the “circus arena” that you are just not knowledgeable about, or comfortable with, contact a professional problem-solver licensed in the area of your concern.
- You hide from calls, avoid opening the mail, or “slip out” an alternative exit. You are approaching “the last minute.” If you were to do just one thing despite how difficult it may be: open your mail. Written legal notices are meant for the recipient’s benefit, not the sender’s. They most often contain time-sensitive notices that have legally enforceable expiration dates. Failure to respond by a certain date will cause one to forfeit their legal rights. It’s like letting the genie out of the bottle. It’s very hard to undo. If you can’t bear to open the mail, go to someone you trust who will.
- You’re “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. Address this slippery slope as soon as you recognize it. Contact a financial adviser to help you review your budget or direct you towards resources for financial relief. If you’ve dug yourself a large enough hole and feel financially paralyzed, then you are approaching “the last minute”. Escalate the problem to an experienced attorney who can help you sort through your financial crisis and negotiate with your creditors.
5. You are losing sleep. Maybe you are also feeling more apathetic, eating less, and/or withdrawing more. These are classic signs of depression. Depression is most often created by a crisis. You are approaching “the last minute” if you recognize that you are experiencing any of these symptoms of depression. Your mental health directly impacts your ability to constructively resolve a pressing problem. Seek medical attention immediately. Your personal well-being is paramount to any problem that you are facing, so give yourself a break and hand your matter over to a specialist.
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 over 25 years of real estate and lending law experience and the battle scars to support his tempered cynicism