The Importance Of A Bankruptcy Lawyer
A qualified bankruptcy attorney takes the time to understand your particular debt challenges and goals. Whether youre focused on keeping your home, eliminating your debts or saving your business, your lawyer will explain which bankruptcy chapter or alternative debt relief method best suits your needs. From there, they will prepare the necessary documentation, represent you before the court and communicate with creditors until your bankruptcy is completed and you have regained financial security.
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It Helps To Hire A Bankruptcy Specialist
Now, start the vetting process. Many sites not just Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell include starred peer ratings, and, like Amazon, allow searches based on numbers of stars. At Martindale-Hubbell, pay particular attention to lawyers whose pictures bear small red hexagonal signs with AV in the center. That is their most distinguished rating.
A caveat: Be wary of four-star lawyers who have only a handful of reviews they might all have come from teammates on his softball team.
In all likelihood, youll want to hire a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. Though the last major revision to bankruptcy law was passed in 2005, interpretations of the law are constant.
You might read a phrase in the statute and think its cut-and-dried, Judge Peek McEwen says, but its not necessarily so. Only specialists can be counted on to know the latest rulings from circuit courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and how those rulings apply to clients.
Its a very good sign if the specialist attorney belongs to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys , which keeps them on the cutting-edge of relevant rulings.
Investigate whether your candidate attorneys are certified, which, according to the American Board of Certification , means that the certified attorney has met rigorous, objective standards and has demonstrated knowledge in bankruptcy and/or creditors rights law.
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Where To Find The Best Bankruptcy Lawyers In The Us
It is strongly encouraged that you hire a local bankruptcy lawyer for legal guidance on your bankruptcy matter. You can find affordable legal aid and organizations that give free legal advice here.
An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can assist you in weighing the risks and benefits of filing for bankruptcy and help you select the proper chapter of bankruptcy based on your circumstances. They can also aid you in drafting and filing the legal documents required to file for bankruptcy in court.
Your lawyer can handle any issues or disputes that arise from your bankruptcy filing. Lastly, they can explain the next steps you must take depending on if the court approves or denies your bankruptcy petition. Use LegalMatch to find the best bankruptcy lawyers in the U.S. today.
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Questions To Ask When Vetting Candidates
Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations, so it makes sense to use that opportunity to find a lawyer youre comfortable with.
When you take those meetings, its important to be prepared. Heres a list of some of the questions you may want to ask to help evaluate an attorney.
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What Can A Bankruptcy Attorney Help Me With
Filing for bankruptcy is a complex process requiring a thorough knowledge of state and federal bankruptcy laws so you can decide what chapter to file under and which exemptions to claim, among other things. A bankruptcy lawyer will help guide you through this stressful and time-consuming process. Some of the ways a bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you include:
- Explaining and guiding you through the bankruptcy process,
- Analyzing your financial situation,
Why Hire A Bankruptcy And Debt Attorney
A bankruptcy attorney can help you manage personal or business debts you are unable to pay. Bankruptcy laws allow people and businesses to get a fresh start by relieving most debts and repay the money owed to all creditors as fairly as possible. When you file for bankruptcy protection, all other legal actions against you are put on hold. Creditors cannot sue you, garnish your wages, repossess your car or home entertainment system, or start or continue with a foreclosure action against your home. There are different types of bankruptcy filings and each has its own advantages. Since bankruptcy can significantly impact your future purchasing power and credit rating, you should see a bankruptcy attorney to make sure the benefits of filling bankruptcy outweigh the consequences.
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Top Benefits Of A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Philadelphia
1. Stopping Mortgage Foreclosure or Vehicle Repossession. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is commonly used to stop pending mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure or looming vehicle repossession. Because the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a three to five year repayment plan, the bankruptcy filer can keep their home or vehicle and continue the regular monthly payments, plus pay towards the delinquency in a trustee payment.
2. Reorganization of Debt. If unsecured debt, such as credit cards, personal loans, collections and medical bills, are part of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy matter, the filer, unlike debt consolidation, will only make payments towards such debts based on what they can afford, rather than based on what they are due and owing. In a Chapter 13 plan, unsecured debts are generally reduced, thereby creating more affordability for ones most important assets, such as their home, car or even rental payments. It is also most common in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to lower car payments by way of a vehicle cram-down or paying the vehicle through the plan over a new three-to-five-year term, which in essence refinances the vehicle. You can read more about reorganization of debt here.
You can read more about the benefits of filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy in Philadelphia here:
Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyer
How Do Lawyers Get Paid If They Lose A Case
Lawyers typically charge for their time regardless of whether they win a case. Sometimes, the losing party is ordered to pay the other partys lawyer fees on top of their own. Some lawyers also work on contingency, meaning they will take a percentage of the awarded amount only if they successfully win the case.
Before hiring a lawyer, make sure you understand their fee structure.
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Choose An Attorney With Adequate Experience
Ask about an attorneys level of experience. Its not necessarily the case that someone with more years of experience is always better equipped than someone with fewer years of experience. What matters is the number of bankruptcy cases they have successfully handled.
The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys advises, There are some attorneys who have practiced bankruptcy law for many years, but have never really mastered the subject. There are other attorneys who have pursued a general practice, filing a case now and then. If they have been practicing for 25 years without much in-depth experience in bankruptcy, that does not translate to the expertise you need.
There are several ways to look into the track record of a lawyer. One is to ask them directly, as they will often provide you with some background about themselves and their case history. State bar associations typically maintain profiles for attorneys, including their areas of expertise and any disciplinary matters they may have experienced. You can also look up appellate court filings that a lawyer has been involved in and seek the results of those cases.
Is Bankruptcy Right For Me
Bankruptcy is one debt relief option among many. Before you decide how to proceed, its important to understand the immediate effects of seeking bankruptcy protection. Once your filing is accepted, the court prohibits creditors from taking collection actions against you. This automatic stay means that youll be legally protected against harassing phone calls, wage garnishment, service cutoffs and other creditor actions until the case is resolved. Even most civil lawsuits are paused so that a judgment doesnt put one creditors interests over anothers. However, issues related to eligibility, the liquidation of assets and the impact on your credit going forward should be considered before determining your next stop.
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How Can A Ontario California Collections Attorney Help
If you think that the collection agency is violating the law in its attempts to collect, you should probably call an Ontario, California attorney, since such actions on the part of the creditor might actually give you a claim for damages against it.
Also, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, a good California attorney can help guide you through the process.
Fill Out Bankruptcy Forms
Once youve settled on which type of bankruptcy youre filing for, you must fill out a court document known as a Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy. This eight-page form asks for information such as your name, address, Social Security number, dollar estimates for your assets and liabilities , and the kinds of debt you have.
You must submit several other forms along with the bankruptcy petition, and you must pay a filing fee unless the court agrees to waive it when youre seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Within 14 days of filing, you must turn in another batch of documents. All of these forms will ask for information like a list of creditors, a rundown of the property you own, and a summary of your income and expenses. Other forms that are strictly for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 case also must be submitted.
You can get help from a non-attorney petition preparer to fill out the bankruptcy paperwork. But a petition preparer cant provide legal advice and cant show up in court on your behalf. In other words, youre still handling the case on a pro se basis.
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How Do I Find A Bankruptcy Lawyer Near Me
Bankruptcy law provides individuals and businesses a second chance by helping them get out of debt. However, bankruptcy cases can be complex and confusing. Bankruptcy attorneys are well-versed in the various aspects of bankruptcy law, so hiring an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can make navigating the bankruptcy process easier.
This directory contains a list of trustworthy bankruptcy lawyers and law firms in your local area. Read the law firm overviews and attorney profiles in this section to learn which attorney is a good fit for your employment case.
The Lead Counsel logo next to a law office or employment attorney listing can help your search. This logo indicates that LawInfo has verified that the attorney has experience in their field of practice, is in good standing with the state entity that governs attorney licenses, and has a clean disciplinary record.
What Is Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is the practice of taking out one large loan to pay off a bunch of smaller debts that are charging higher interest.
Debt consolidation may or may not be a good idea, depending on your situation. Lower interest is a good thing, but turning unsecured debts into secured debts can be a costly mistake if you eventually file bankruptcy anyway. Unsecured debts can often be eliminated in bankruptcy, while most secured debts cannot. If you cant pay your secured debt or if the payments are late you may lose your home.
Also, the fees for setting up such loans can be expensive.
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At Bond & Botes, we now offer full service bankruptcy consultation and filing over the phone or by video from the comfort and safety of your home or office. Please call or to setup your free phone or video consultation.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Bankruptcy Lawyer In The Us
The amount it costs to hire a bankruptcy lawyer in the United States will depend on several factors. These include the type of legal services they are being asked to provide and the fee structure that a law firm or individual bankruptcy lawyer assigns to a particular matter.
Without considering any other specific details, the average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in the U.S. falls somewhere between $200 and $400 per hour. Of course, this is an estimate and will vary on a case-by-case basis. For instance, costs can be as high as $2,000 for a complicated bankruptcy case or as low as $500 for a straightforward filing.
The best way to calculate the total cost of hiring a U.S. bankruptcy lawyer is to speak with your prospective attorney about their hourly fees or rate structure. To learn more about the bankruptcy process or find a low-cost bankruptcy attorney near you, start by searching LegalMatchs database.
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How Can Filing For Chapter 7 Help Me
- As soon as we file for bankruptcy something called an “automatic stay” is put into effect. This means that no creditor is allowed to contact you anymore. Finally, the annoying and harassing phone calls will stop. Also, creditors cant sue you or garnish any of your wages. The automatic stay is put into effect automatically once we file.
- Chapter 7 completely gets rid of your credit card debt, medical bills, utility bills, civil judgments, and any other unsecured debt you have.
- Chapter 7 can stop utility shut offs automatically.
- If you want to keep your car you may be able to negotiate better payment plan.
- If a creditor has garnished more than $600 from you within 90 days of filing the bankruptcy, you can usually get that money back.
- You can finally have a fresh start and this hard time will be a distant memory for you!
Cost Of Filing For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
There are indirect costs associated with filing for bankruptcy, including management time. Most creditors are receptive to Chapter 11 and stand to make more money than in a repayment plan. For this reason, it is essential that management be paid the same rate as the most senior bankruptcy professionals.
While the fee for filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy is around $1,711, the true costs are in the attorneys fees. Initial attorney fees for individuals can cost upwards of $10,000, and can be higher if the case is complex. The fee for filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy for a small business is usually between $15,000 and $50,000, and may even reach $100,000. Because of the high initial costs associated with this procedure, you should seek several quotes and compare fees before making a final decision.
In addition to court fees, filing for Chapter 11 requires a fee for credit counseling. The fee is set by the U.S. Trustee Office, which is also responsible for regulating the cost of credit counseling courses. The court may allow you to pay the $550 administrative fee in installments if you qualify. Additionally, as part of the bankruptcy process, you must also file a plan to reorganize your debt. If your plan is accepted by a majority of creditors, it will approved by the court.
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