Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, it is incredibly important to meet with a bankruptcy attorney who will aid you through the legal process. Here are some questions to ask your lawyer before you hire them to ensure you are paying for a quality service.

Are You Experienced in Bankruptcy Law?
While it may seem obvious, asking your bankruptcy lawyer about their background is pivotal to a successful lawsuit. Finding out how many filings they have per month, how many bankruptcy proceedings they deal with on a regular basis, and if they have worked on any case similar to yours is crucial to weeding out any attorneys who may want to take advantage of you during this tough financial time.

What Risks Are Involved?
The first step in trusting your bankruptcy attorney is establishing their willingness to be upfront and honest about your case. They should relay their information in a language you can understand, and thoroughly answer any questions you may have. This can include the explanation of losing any assets or explaining exactly how repayment plans work.

What Chapter Bankruptcy Should I file?
There are three main bankruptcy cases, and they each come with their own set of limitations and guidelines.

  • Chapter 7 is designed for those with extreme financial difficulty who cannot pay their debts to start over with a clean slate. Generally, this takes around six months to complete and it only costs $306 to file but does come with some drawbacks. This can include liquidation of assets while it stays on your credit report for 10 years after it is completed.
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy is meant for corporations and joint partnerships to reorganize without liquidating assets. A trustee is not included in a repayment plan, if approved by the Court, the debtor takes personal responsibility in restructuring their finances.
  • Chapter 13 is available only to those with a steady income. The debtors must repay a portion or all of their debt over an extended period of time, and can retain certain assets through this payment plan.

Will You Be With Me Every Step of the Way?
It is smart to be aware of bankruptcy mills, a law firm that takes on many cases but offers low-quality service. Ensuring that your bankruptcy attorney will fill out your paperwork, attending court with you, and field any calls from creditors will help you develop a relationship with a lawyer you can trust.

Filing for bankruptcy does not need to be complicated. Keeping your dialogue open with your attorney will surely keep this a stress free case all around.