Big news here at Creditor Rights headquarters: My wife and I are expecting a baby! We don’t know the gender yet, but we’re reading Baby Name Books cover to cover, looking for that perfect mix of tradition, syllables, and what sounds good.
From my perspective as a collections lawyer, I think it can be bad, because I’ve seen one generation’s financial and legal troubles wreak havoc on the other generation. This goes in both directions, with sons causing fathers trouble, and vice versa.
Just this past year, I’ve seen liens on a son’s land ostensibly attaching to the father’s land; wage garnishments on the father’s wages based on the son’s unpaid debt. Bankruptcies showing up on the wrong person’s name, etc.
Much of this stems from our online world, which often indexes information about us based on Name and Location (see Facebook). Two people with the same name who live (at some point) at the same address are going to confuse google, banks, property records, and everybody else.
You might not care about confusing your collection creditors (some people relish in this chaos), but, when one generation’s finances go bad, you’ll care about the impact on your ability to get a loan and sell your house, without having to explain the embarrassing details of your dad’s money troubles.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s a great tradition and a wonderful shared bond between generations. But, when one generation has legal or financial troubles, it’s not just a name that is shared–it’s also the dirty laundry of money mistakes.