If you are considering bankruptcy, you may be wondering whether hiring an attorney is worth the investment. While you have the right to file bankruptcy without an attorney, below are some benefits an attorney can provide. The majority of bankruptcy filers hire an attorney to assist them with their case. Below are some of the benefits hiring an attorney.
Some endeavors are more suited to DIY than others. Hiring a professional can save you time, money and unnecessary stress.
A Bankruptcy Attorney is Worth the Cost
A Bankruptcy lawyer will be able to assess any potential problems based on your unique financial situation, and they will help you plan appropriately. Even a fairly straightforward Chapter 7 case can involve complexities. For a Chapter 13 case, hiring an attorney could save you more than you’d save by filing on your own.
Know Your Options
An experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney will help you explore your options, including alternatives to bankruptcy. If bankruptcy is not a good fit for you, your attorney will have the knowledge to give you guidance on alternatives.
Should You File Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
An attorney will evaluate your debts, assets and goals to help you determine whether filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the best strategy if you decide to file bankruptcy. You may have assets such as a house, car or a retirement account. Your attorney will help you understand how each asset and debt you have will likely be handled based on the Bankruptcy Code.
Preparing Your Case
Your bankruptcy lawyer will prepare your case for court by applying the means test, which is a calculation indicating whether you qualify for bankruptcy. An attorney is experienced with the rules and exceptions in the law will be able to ensure that you select the right type of bankruptcy.
Each state has specific exemptions which allow you to keep specified property when you file for bankruptcy. An attorney will educate you on your property and how your state’s exemption system can be used to help you keep certain property. You may be able to keep your house, your car, your retirement account or other assets even if you file for bankruptcy. An attorney can give you the advice you need to make the decision that is right for you.
Which Debts Will Be Discharged
Not all debts can be discharged in a bankruptcy. For example, child and spousal support, student loans, and certain tax debts may not be dischargeable during bankruptcy. An attorney will advise you on which debts may not be dischargeable based on your circumstances.
Getting You Through The Bankruptcy Process
During the bankruptcy process, your attorney will help you:
Fill out the paperwork and schedules required by the court for your case. Bankruptcy attorneys understand how to fill out the forms correctly, and this will help ensure your case moves through the system as seamlessly and quickly as possible.
Your attorney will advise you on each step of the case so you know what to expect and make sure you understand what actions you need to take to get your debt discharged.
You need to provide a complete and accurate record to the court in your case. Your attorney will help you make sure that you are doing so by asking detailed questions and recording them in your case paperwork.
If your creditors do not abide the automatic stay, which goes into effect as soon as your bankruptcy is filed, your attorney can manage those creditors on your behalf.
If you want to keep an asset such as a car or house during your bankruptcy, and the law allows it, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf with your creditor to establish a reaffirmation agreement. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers, your attorney will negotiate payment terms, property values and interest rates to establish your repayment plan.
In the event that circumstances change during your Chapter 13 case, an attorney can assist you with adjusting your plan to calibrate with your changed circumstances.
If you would like to discuss your case with a bankruptcy attorney, Dignity Bankruptcy is here to help. We offer remote consultations for California residents. We have attorneys located in Santa Cruz and Truckee, California, and our clients can reside throughout the state. We will handle your case with the care and dignity.