If you’re going to file a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy by yourself, that’s one thing, but a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is far more complicated and requires a lot more interaction with the trustee, the creditors and the court. You will actually have go to court two or three times or more with a Chapter 13, whereas with a Chapter 7, you may never even be able to see the judge.
It’s almost impossible to imagine somebody filing a Chapter 13 on their own and doing everything right. An individual without an attorney is unlikely to get a Chapter 13 plan confirmed, but even if you did, it probably won’t be the best for you. There are many things an experienced bankruptcy attorney knows how to do, to get you the best outcome for your case; things that the average person won’t know.
The things an attorney knows could impact the length and the amount of your payment plan, and they could impact whether or not you are able to strip down liens and cram down loans. Doing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy by yourself could cost you as much as $50,000 or $100,000 in loans that you end up paying off that you wouldn’t have had to if you knew what you were doing. It’s really a bad idea to try to do-it-yourself any bankruptcy, but especially Chapter 13.
What Should Bring to a Meeting with My Attorney?
If you want to just come to the first consultation empty-handed, that’s okay, because we can talk about the process and which bankruptcy is right for you and things like that. But once you decide it’s time to actually fill out the petition I will provide you with a worksheet that lists all the things you’ll need, such as tax returns from the last couple of years and pay stubs from the last six months. As well as information on your budget and stuff like that.
I usually just have people fill out a worksheet and bring in their required documents, but the list is long, and it can be a task to put it all together.
The biggest question prospective clients have is how much they will have to pay and how long the plan will be. It depends on your situation and can vary widely, from $120 a month to more than $1,000 a month. The bottom line is, we try create a budget you can keep up with, so that you have a chance to catch up on your debts. In a Chapter 13, you will lose nothing and nothing will be liquidated.
How Much of the Debt Will the Debtor Have to Pay?
You’ll have to pay back through the plan any arrearages on a secured loan and during the plan period. That means, if you are behind $8,000 on your mortgage, you’ll have to pay that back during the plan period. Other debts, like unsecured loans, may not have to be paid back at all, or may have to pay a large amount; it all depends the level of income and debt.
That’s what’s complicated, and why hiring an attorney is a good idea; determining how much you are supposed to pay back is difficult. To summarize, the law says you can’t treat your creditors worse in a Chapter 13 than they would be treated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you could declare a Chapter 7 and your creditors would receive nothing, then you won’t have to pay back your creditors in Chapter 13, either. On the other hand, if you have some assets such as a car or a boat that’s paid off and lien-free, you will have to pay back at least the amount to your creditors that they would have received if the trustee sold them in Chapter 7.
If you would like more information on Benefits of Hiring an Attorney, please call (801) 441-2013 today, so that we can schedule a free initial consultation. Get the information and legal answers you’re looking for.