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Guarantor Litigation Jitters

Guarantor Litigation Jitters.jpg

There's nothing like uncertainty to set our clients on edge. Uncertainty over serious matters, whether family, health or financial, can, for those subject to bouts of nervousness, bring on the "jitters." Jitters can be defined as extreme nervousness and/or edginess. Guarantors often get jitters before and during bank negotiations. I know about jitters - I sometimes have to overcome them myself. When a client tells me that he woke up at 3:00 a.m. and couldn't get worry about his legal issues out of his mind - I understand.

Guarantors are often "surprise" litigants. They have often forgotten that they signed guarantees. Reminders of their guarantees often come with lender default letters to borrowers. Such default letters usually spawn a legal check-up. The legal check-up necessarily addresses the nature of guarantor liability, the likelihood of successful negotiation, the likelihood of litigation and the different financial scenarios that can evolve from litigation. Such scenario planning can bring on the "jitters." The role of the effective advocate often includes that of a guide - a guide familiar with the hostile territory that surrounds guarantor liability.

Knowledge reduces the jitters. The more that you know, the more you can rationally explore options available to reduce risk. Knowledge can also support effective representation. An emotional response akin to crying, "The sky is falling!" leaves little room for rational thought. Jitters in moderation, if jitters can be in moderation, can be helpful in confronting problems. Awareness that fact-finding and engaging good counsel are a step to resolution can reduce the uncertainty that comes from imagining the worst.

Helping to deal with the emotional fallout from guarantor disputes should not be an afterthought of legal representation. Encouraging hope in stressful negotiations and litigation is as important as a strong and powerful team spirit in competitive sports. Attitude counts. Spirit counts. Courage counts. I have shared my faith with more than one client, and most have seemed to appreciate my efforts. Courage is a gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift, also called fortitude, enables a person "to overcome difficulties or to endure pain and suffering with the strength and power infused by God."[1]

So take courage. Fortitude is a gift to be prayed for (by those who pray) and contemplated by those who don't. Lender-initiated actions against guarantors are stressful. They are at times tedious. They can surely create an edginess that the guarantor would rather not have. My role becomes that of a guide and of a protector to the extent that I can protect. I do not forget my role as a human being is to reach out to others through understanding and attempting to alleviate their pain.

[1] Fr. William Saunders, Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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