Clearly there are too many laws on the books to memorize, especially when it comes to the complexities of filing bankruptcy. If you're unsure of the eligibility requirements for bankruptcy, how much it costs, how to handle court, what you'll lose, and what you'll gain, you need a professional attorney to walk you through it. The focus of this article is Chapter 7 and how an attorney can help you file. It also offers tips on hiring an attorney.
Choosing from the Thousands
There are quite a few in the legal field who specialize in bankruptcy. You should choose based on experience, price, and time available. How do you look in the first place? It used to be the Yellow Pages, but now it's the web. Most law firms and personal lawyers have their own sites, sometimes blogs, and many of them post articles online trying to help you with bankruptcy. Of course, you can go beyond looking online. You can go based on referrals from legal experts. You can also find local offices near you in some cases.
If you want to hire a professional attorney, the word "rates" may bring up nightmares of unpaid bills. Actually, hiring a lawyer costs very little, especially in Chapter 7 cases. Say you owe over $50,000 in credit or medical debt. Would you be willing to discharge that for a half of the total? Or would a third sound reasonable? You can often hire an attorney for $1,000 to $2,500. And quite often your debts are many times more than that. So as you can see, hiring a professional saves you money.
In order to search for the right attorney, you can save time by going online and contacting several. You might even make a few phone calls. Hiring a lawyer is not a process to be rushed. Take your time, unless you're afraid of legal ramifications by delaying too long.
Hire based on experience. Some attorneys may quote you a very small fee, but most professionals have a flat rate for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Consider beyond price: include years working, successful cases, time available for your case, and references.
Yes, price is a big issue. You are filing bankruptcy because you don't have a lot of money, not because you're rich. Once again, be clear on what you gain when it comes to price, and what you stand to lose if your filing is unsuccessful. If you hire the first attorney you find, and they delay your case, it can cost you in a big way. Price does not always equate with more experience, either. It varies from lawyer to lawyer, but the good ones want to help.
By filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you stand to save tens of thousands of dollars and for your stresses to be relieved. A professional attorney can walk you through all the steps, including educating you on the process, representing you at both the Meeting of Creditors and the hearing, and help you get a fresh start financially.
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