Why and how to hire a good bankruptcy attorney to file your case

By: on 2011-09-02
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When it comes to filing bankruptcy, many people prefer to file on their own because filings and other legal expenses do put an additional strain on their pockets. This, however, should be avoided by any means. It is of utmost importance to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney and here's why.

5 Reasons Why You Should Always Hire an Attorney for Filing Bankruptcy

If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own, you will have to deal with extensive paperwork, learn about the local bankruptcy laws, exemptions, and much more. This is not easy as it might seem initially. Furthermore, you should particularly, not attempt to file chapter 13 bankruptcy on your own. Why? Well, because it deals with reorganization and is often more complicated than Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a fairly time-consuming and intimidating process and here are five reasons why you should seek legal advice and services.

1. Helps you understand the different alternatives to Bankruptcy

A professional bankruptcy attorney not only has legal expertise, he/she also has a profound understanding of finance. He/she will help evaluate your financial condition in detail and accordingly provide information on various alternatives to bankruptcy. For instance, an attorney might feel in certain circumstances that debt consolidation may be a better option than filing bankruptcy. Many might suggest you to go for debt settlement instead of bankruptcy. Remember, bankruptcy has a negative impact on your credit score and therefore it's important to make the right choice. Only a professional lawyer can help you do that!

2. Bankruptcy law is complex

Bankruptcy laws in the United States are fairly complex. For instance, depending on your financial condition you can either go for liquidation or reorganization. There are different chapters relating to this in the Bankruptcy Code. If you go for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation), you will have to pass a means test. If you fail to do so, you will have to go for Chapter 13 (reorganization). Remember, there's more to bankruptcy than just deciding on the chapter you are going to file under. Each chapter has its own nitty-gritties which only a professional bankruptcy attorney would know. No matter how much you get yourself acquainted with the bankruptcy resources online, it's always advisable to rely on an experienced attorney.

3. Paperwork can be quite frustrating

Bankruptcy paperwork can be really annoying if you are not aware about the nuances. Therefore, it's best to leave such work for an expert. The reason why it is important to hire an attorney is a single mistake in bankruptcy filing can dismiss or delay your case. If the case is dismissed, it means you will have to spend again on the filings and paperwork. A bankruptcy attorney ensures that your paperwork is filed on time and is completely flawless. If you are filing on your own and forget to disclose assets or include a creditor's name in the list, the consequences can be fairly negative! An attorney helps you avoid such mistakes. Here are some documents you will have to submit -

  • Copies of tax returns
  • Documents relating to property valuation
  • Registration copies, insurance papers (in case you own a car)
  • Bank and retirement account statements
  • Photo identification
  • Proof of social security number

Remember, if there's a single mistake in filing these documents, your situation could get worse. An attorney will make you understand your rights and brief you about all the legal procedures so that your case gets settled quickly and easily.

4. Legal assistance is crucial when creditors challenge your petition

Besides helping you put an end to creditor harassment, a professional bankruptcy attorney helps you get justice in case a creditor challenges the discharge of your debt. Without legal assistance, it will be extremely difficult for you to win the case. Experienced attorneys know how to handle complex cases and get the best possible outcome for you. For instance, whether you file for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, you will have to attend a 341 hearing (or creditors meeting) organized by the bankruptcy trustee appointed by the court. If the trustee is satisfied with the documents including entire procedures followed and no creditor objects to debt discharge, your case is settled within four to six weeks. However, if a creditor objects to a debt discharge, he/she gets 60 days to file an objection. In such cases, you will need a strong legal representation. A lawyer will fight for you in the court and help you get justice!

5. An experienced attorney can help discharge debts

It's folly to assume that debts can be discharged easily when you file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws, after several amendments in recent years, have made it all the more difficult to discharge debts. Depending on the chapter you file, there are certain debts that are dischargeable and some which are not. Similarly, a professional attorney can also help you take advantage of bankruptcy exemptions. For instance, if you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, it does not mean you will have to lose all your personal assets. With the help of bankruptcy exemptions, you can save some of your personal property.

Relying on an experienced bankruptcy lawyer is very crucial if you want to get the best outcome for your case. Consult one of the attorneys in your local area to deal with bankruptcy in a more organized and efficient way! Renowned and experienced attorneys have profound knowledge about the state and federal laws that deal with bankruptcy. Moreover, many of them can even help you deal with your problems by offering sound financial advice. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to hire a bankruptcy attorney.

Selecting a good attorney: The key to successful bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a very complicated process. If you commit mistakes in the bankruptcy process, chances are quite high that your case may be rejected by the court. So, it is for your own benefit, it is very much important to find a good bankruptcy attorney, who knows the nitty-gritty of Chapter 7 and the Chapter 13 bankruptcies well and can explain all the basics of these bankruptcies to you in the best possible way.

Importantly, good bankruptcy attorneys are well acquainted with local court rules where you reside. They can answer all your critical queries effortlessly related to bankruptcy. They can offer you valuable advice about the necessary paperwork and documentation which are required to support your case. However, hiring a good bankruptcy is not very cheap. It is important to find a genuine bankruptcy attorney at an affordable rate who can indeed help you achieve the goal of eliminating your debts.

Here are a few important tips to find a good bankruptcy attorney.

Scan through the website of the bankruptcy attorneys

To find out a good bankruptcy attorney, you are required to review his/her website. You can out the educational qualifications, years of experiences, specialized areas in the website. If a lawyer holds the certification of the American Board of Certification, you can be rest assured about the proven expertise of the particular lawyer in bankruptcy cases. However, here it is to be noted that majority of the bankruptcy attorneys do not hold this certification.

Check out with the state bar association

Every state in the country has a bar association. You can easily find the website of the bar association of your state through a simple Google search. The websites of the bar associations contain lawyer referral services, which link you to the attorneys in your city or town. If any disciplinary action had been taken against any attorney, you can also get that information in the website of the bar association. The bar association website is indeed helpful to find a good bankruptcy attorney.

Check whether the attorney is a member of NACBA

Before selecting any bankruptcy attorney, it is important to check whether the bankruptcy attorney is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). NACBA is a very well respected consumer bankruptcy organization in the country. Membership with NACBA raises the prestige and the respectability of a bankruptcy lawyer.

Check whether the bankruptcy lawyer offers free consultancy

There are many experienced bankruptcy lawyers in the country who offer free consultation services to you. After assessing your case they decide whether or not they can help you. An in-person consultation is indeed helpful to take the decision to select a good bankruptcy attorney.

Bankruptcy can help you eliminate all your debts. Anyways, follow the above mentioned tips to find a good bankruptcy attorney who can help you reach your goal.

Last Updated on: Fri, 2 Sep 2011

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