Why Would Someone Need An Attorney For A Bankruptcy Case?

It’s definitely best to have an attorney, because the results are often not good when people try to do it themselves. If someone fails to list all of their creditors or does not list them in the right way, then those debts can survive bankruptcy, and the person might still owe debts which would make the bankruptcy pointless. A person could lose their assets if they listed them the wrong way. I have seen people who state the value of their assets incorrectly and then end up having to have an appraisal from the trustee and then go through selling their assets and things like that, whereas they could have avoided all that heartache if an attorney who knew how to list those things the right way were handling it, because he would know what to expect as far as whether the trustee would try and sell them or not.

It is very technical because the amount of information that needs to be produced is copious and the trustees will be very stingy about requesting documents, so a person should have somebody who knows how to deal with them, someone who knows what they expect and knows how to give them what they want so that they can do their job the right way and leave the person alone after that. If the person helping knows what they are doing, then they will avoid a lot of potentially serious problems. Going to somebody who just knows how to prepare the petition, but who is then not going to attend the 341 meeting, or just reading a book about preparing your own bankruptcy isn’t going to provide nearly as much knowledge as they would get from practicing bankruptcy on a daily basis. Those things can really cause big problems in the case and could cause the case to be dismissed without being discharged, or it could cause the person to lose assets that they should not be losing. It might also cause the person to have to pay the trustee money that they would not have to, if they knew how to do things like an attorney would.

What Are People’s Initial Concerns When They Meet With You? 

People are usually concerned about the stigma of filing bankruptcy and they are concerned about the costs. The main things that people are worried about are whether or not they will lose their property and whether certain debts are dischargeable. Sometimes they have concerns about whether they will have to go to court or what the trustee’s meeting is going to be like and things like that.

What Are Some Signs That Someone May Want To Look Into Chapter Seven?

A person should go talk to a bankruptcy attorney if they are unable to pay debts that are currently due, or if they do not have the income to make their minimum payments and all of their credit cards, car payments, rent and things like that are falling behind. It might not be a situation where the person needs to file bankruptcy at that moment, but there are a lot of things a person can do and there are a lot of benefits to knowing about those things if they are preparing to possibly have to file bankruptcy. There are steps that need to be taken, preventative measures that would help the person do better in the bankruptcy than if they waited until the very last second.

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99% of the time people try really hard to make it and not to have to file bankruptcy. They usually do not call an attorney until they absolutely do not have any other option. I do my very best with my client’s situation regardless of what stage they come to me, but if someone is having trouble making ends meet, then they should talk to a bankruptcy attorney, whether it is an issue with losing a job, having medical bills or anything like that. There are things that can be done right away to help them out and to prepare for the contingency if they does need to file for bankruptcy.

What Are Some Barriers That People Need To Be Aware Of?

The number one barrier in a chapter seven is that the person will have to pay the attorney’s fees and the court filing fee up front, because it has to be paid before the bankruptcy. They cannot have a monthly payment situation, because a chapter 7 is a discharge of all debts – so for an attorney to enter into a payment plan with the person, he would end up discharging his own debt by getting the person a bankruptcy discharge.  If someone cannot afford the full attorneys fee right away, and needed to have a payment plan, a chapter 13 bankruptcy could be beneficial, since they could keep that debt to the attorney in a chapter 13. Not being able to do a payment plan is usually the biggest barrier for people who are tight on money and trying to make ends meet. They would have been trying to make a minimum payment for a while but they were just out of money, which is another reason to try and look at things earlier on, to see what is coming and to plan ahead so that if they do have to have an attorney they can be ready with the money to do it.

What Are Some Of The Costs Associated With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Not Including Attorney Fees?

Not including attorney fees, people should plan for about $400 and $450 worth of fees, most of which is the filing fee which right now is $335, and then there are some other things like the fees for the credit report. I run credit reports from a special company that gives me really good accurate reports and really good accurate addresses for creditors to give a proper notice to them, and those credit reports usually cost $40 or $45 per person. There are also some fees for the online credit counseling classes which are usually $25. There can also be some miscellaneous tracking and postage charges but it usually adds up to somewhere between $400 and $450 for the expenses.

What Are The Steps For Starting The Bankruptcy And After How Long Can It Be Started?

The first step is to contact a lawyer so a free consultation can be set up, in which the problems with credit will be located and the best course of action will be determined, whether it is bankruptcy or something else. If the person is a good candidate for bankruptcy, then the next thing to do would be to fill out a worksheet and get all the documents needed: tax returns, pay stubs and a couple of other things. As soon as the lawyer gets all the documents, he will put them together and fill out the petition for the client. He will get everything set up and have the client look it over to make sure that it is accurate and sign it. As soon as that is done, the petition will be filed.

The relief is pretty much immediate once the petition is filed, because the creditors will stop calling within a week or so and for all practical purposes, the person would be done and discharged of their debts even though it would not have been technically done yet. The person would be done there because the creditors cannot get any money from them from that point on, so the next thing to do would be to attend that 341 meeting, but that is usually a pretty quick process. I pride myself in preparing my clients for that meeting and making sure it runs smoothly, so it would just take five to ten minutes if someone had me taking care of them. After that they would be done with it, so other than that the person would just sit and wait to receive the official notice of discharge in the mail, and then they would be officially done.

For more information on Working With a Bankruptcy Attorney, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (801) 441-2013 today.

By Court Koehler

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