4 Things to Look for in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Before we launch into the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys, it’s important to understand the nature of exactly what Chapter 7 bankruptcy is. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called a liquidation or straight bankruptcy, can be used to clear debts, and give you a fresh start. However, the statutes regarding Chapter 7 filings can be complicated. Filing too soon or failing to use certain exemptions to protect your asset may result in you giving up certain assets that you would otherwise not lose. Because of the specifics of Chapter 7, working with a professional Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is recommended to ensure you get the best results possible.
In the period between October 1, 2005, and September 30, 2017, over 12.8 million bankruptcy petitions were filed by consumers in the federal courts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a useful tool for eliminating debt and starting over with a clean slate. That said, if you are considering filing, you might be wondering if you really need to hire a chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. Although you do not technically require an attorney when filing for bankruptcy, they can help the process go a lot smoother.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Before we launch into the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys, it’s important to understand exactly what Chapter 7 is. Also called a liquidation or straight bankruptcy, this form can be used to clear debts and reset your finances. However, it does require that you give up some qualifying possessions. Because of the specifics of Chapter 7, working with a professional Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is recommended to ensure you get the best results possible.
What to Look for in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
When looking for the right bankruptcy lawyers, there are a couple of things to consider.
Getting Your Money’s Worth
Because money is the reason for filing for bankruptcy, you want to make sure that the Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney you choose will give you your money’s worth. Usually, a flat fee will cover the initial consultation, the analysis of finances, preparation, review, attendance, and follow-up. However, this fee will usually not cover representation in the event that a creditor challenges the filing. While litigation only occurs in rare instances, it’s important to speak with your attorney and find out how they would handle the situation and how much extra it would cost.
An Expert Opinion
The main reason for hiring a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is for their expertise, and it is something you should make sure you are getting. The length of someone’s practice isn’t necessarily indicative of their expertise. Instead, you should look at how much of their practice is dedicated to bankruptcy and how many cases they have worked on overall. For instance, if a lawyer has a handful of bankruptcy cases and a majority of child custody cases, they may not have the case experience needed to provide you with adequate guidance.
Code Change Knowledge
Bankruptcy code has changed over the years, so your attorney should know the specifics. While it’s likely that some changes won’t affect standard Chapter 7 cases, you want to make sure that you have all bases covered and that nothing is going to be catching you or your attorney off-guard.
A Trusting Relationship
Lastly, it’s important that you feel completely comfortable with your attorney. While the relationship should be professional it should also not be impersonal. If you feel that your concerns aren’t being taken seriously or if your attorney doesn’t seem invested in your case, it may be best to look elsewhere. While this won’t necessarily mean the attorney isn’t skilled, having a trusting and comfortable relationship will certainly make the process a little bit easier.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a great tool for those looking for a clean slate. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to reach out to and speak with attorneys in your area, like the Law Office of Larry Karandreas. You truly have nothing to lose to but your debt.