What does a bankruptcy attorney do?
Although it is possible to file bankruptcy without a bankruptcy lawyer, unless you have a very simple, no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this is not recommended. There will be numerous forms which must completed accurately, and ignorance will not be a sufficient justification for making mistakes in the bankruptcy filing process. So if you are filing bankruptcy a bankruptcy lawyer is generally an indispensable part of the process.
Bankruptcy lawyer and their duties
Bankruptcy is a very complicated legal procedure which must be done correctly to ensure you do not lose important assets, your assets are protected, and the court does not dismiss your case due to mistakes.
The first function of a good bankruptcy lawyer is to explain the bankruptcy process to you and help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you. Bankruptcy is an important decision with long-term consequences and is not the right option for everyone. For instance, many individuals may decide debt settlement may be more beneficial than bankruptcy.
Next, the bankruptcy lawyer can help you decide if you should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both types of bankruptcies can offer benefits. Your personal goals and your financial position will determine which type is best for you.
For instance, not all debtors can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Debtors whose income is too high or those who have too much disposable income will not be allowed to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have their qualifying unsecured debts immediately discharged. Instead, they will be allowed to file Chapter 13 and repay a portion of their debts through a debt repayment plan. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also be preferable for some debtors who want to protect certain personal assets.
Bankruptcy lawyers and the bankruptcy process
After you decide whether to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy the bankruptcy lawyer will help you prepare the bankruptcy petition and supporting documentation. Completing bankruptcy forms and schedules is the most difficult part of the bankruptcy process. A bankruptcy lawyer can ensure you have listed all of your property and debts on your bankruptcy schedules and the information is accurate. Remember, hiding or destroying property, lying on documents, or falsifying records is considered a serious crime. After the petition is filed, if creditors continue to make harassing creditor collection calls, the lawyer can contact the creditor and force them to stop.
Next, the bankruptcy lawyer will attend the Meeting of the Creditors with the bankruptcy trustee. Although the trustee will be in charge at the meeting, your bankruptcy lawyer will not only attend the meeting with you, they will also handle any creditor objections following the meeting.
A good lawyer is available to answer questions and is not simply trying to generate new business. They should be able to provide detailed information about all of your options to improve your financial situation, including how to rebuild your credit score. Talk to them about your specific goals. Find out if bankruptcy is right for you. If you feel pressured to file bankruptcy, find another lawyer.
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The cost of bankruptcy will depend on whether you hire a lawyer and which bankruptcy you file.