Understand Why You Need A Bankruptcy Lawyer
First of all, its important to know why you need an attorney when you file for bankruptcy. Legally, its possible to file on your own. But even though you can do it doesnt mean you should.
People often assume it would be better to file for bankruptcy without an attorney because of the cost. Its true: you will need to pay more to file when working with a bankruptcy lawyer. But that expense can save you a lot of money in the long-run. Even in the simplest of bankruptcy cases, filing without a lawyer is risky. One mistake and your entire case might be dismissed. This means you are back to where you were before considering bankruptcy and maybe even in worse shape. If you are filing to protect your home or stop a wage garnishment or bank levy, the outcome can be dire if your case is dismissed.
Whatever money you save by not hiring a bankruptcy lawyer isnt worth it if you arent able to get the result you need.
It Is Fairly Unlikely For An Ordinary Persons Bankruptcy To Be Challenged At The Meeting Of Creditors It Is Generally The Paperwork That Trips People Up
There are few things that are easier to understand the concept of being broke. Almost everyone has been there and you would think it would be very easy to explain. However, if the person you are explaining it to is a bankruptcy trustee, it might not be quite as simple as you think.
Documenting the fact that your pockets are empty and the reason for it is the key to a successful bankruptcy. Although you are not required to be represented by counsel when you file for bankruptcy, it is always a good idea.;
The Drawbacks to a Do It Yourself Bankruptcy
When a person represents themselves in court, it is called pro se. It is possible to file for bankruptcy pro se. If you do, you will not have to pay a lawyer to represent you. Although this may seem like an economical way to get things done, it can end up costing you more.;
If you fill out your paperwork incorrectly, your bankruptcy may not go through and you may end up having to file again. The filing fee for a Chapter 7 in the state of New York is $338 and $310 If you file a Chapter 13. The court expects you to pay this no matter how dire your financial situation.;
What are the Steps to Filing Bankruptcy?
The first thing you will need to do when you file for bankruptcy is collect all the necessary documents. You will need things like bank statements, pay stubs from your job, and your most recent tax return.
The Two Types Of Bankruptcy Filings Available For Consumers Are:
Chapter 7 Chapter 7 involves getting rid of your debts through a process known as a discharge. Debts such as credit card bills, medical bills, and personal loans not secured by collateral can be eliminated through a Chapter 7 without making payments. In essence, you get a fresh start. Chapter 7 also can allow you to get out from under a burdensome home mortgage or car loan if youre willing to relinquish ownership of the house or vehicle. Most people who file a chapter 7 are able to keep a home or a car if thats what they choose to do. In very rare circumstances, if you have significant equity in any assets, like a house you own your assets may be taken and sold to pay your creditors.
Chapter 13 Chapter 13 involves re-paying your debts over 3 to 5 years through a court-approved plan. Your payment plan is administered by the Chapter 13 trustee for your region, who collects payments from you and distributes money to your creditors. Chapter 13 allows you to keep assets like a car or a home and catch up delinquent payments through your payment plan. Depending on your financial situation, you may only pay other creditors pennies on the dollar. Any remaining balance you owe for debts such as credit cards, medical bills, or personal loans not secured by collateral are discharged at the end of your plan. Chapter 13 plans are unique and different for every individual.
Inheritance Received After Bankruptcy
If you become entitled to aninheritance within 180 days after the bankruptcy is filed, the bankruptcytrustee will get your entire inheritance, or as much of it as needed to pay offyour creditors.; Two things are importantto note.; First, it doesnt matter if youknew about the inheritanceeven if you did not know about it, you would stilllose it.; Second, it doesnt matter whenyou actually get the money, as long as you become entitled to get it within 180days of the date the bankruptcy is filed.;So, if the person who leaves you an inheritance dies 100 days after youfile for bankruptcy, then you will lose the inheritance, even if the money isnot distributed until years later.;
So, before filing for bankruptcy,its important to know if you may be entitled to an inheritance.
How Does A Payment Plan Work For A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you often make an upfront payment of $500 $1500 then you make a majority of the bankruptcy attorney fees in the 3 or 5-year payment plan. The payment is spread out in the monthly plan payment. You will also find that there are trustee fees in Chapter 13 that can be around 10%. Many attorney fees are standardized across the district in what is called a no-look fee.
You often have to pay upfront due to the amount of work that the attorney has to do to file the Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
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Filing The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition Yourself
When you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition yourself, you will need to either mail the petition to the Court or personally deliver it to the Court. The court offices are now open daily to receive bankruptcy filings. You will pay the court fees when you file.
While attorneys are required to file bankruptcy petitions electronically when you file your bankruptcy yourself, you are permitted to file it in paper format on official bankruptcy forms. You should call the Court to ask how many copies to bring with you.
When you file a bankruptcy petition yourself, the court fees are the same as that charged when an attorney files a case for you. The Chapter 7 petition fee is $338 unless you qualify for and apply to have the fee waived. Information about obtaining a waiver of the filing fee can be found here Waiver of Filing Fee. Again, it is ill advised to use a bankruptcy petition preparer to help you with this debt relief project.;
Attend a Meeting of Creditors with a Bankruptcy Trustee
After you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the Court will see that a bankruptcy trustee appointed to your case will oversee your case and your creditors will be notified of your bankruptcy filing. You are required to send a copy of your statement of intent if you have secured debts to the creditors yourself. The Court will not send this document for you. The trustee will ask you about this at your meeting of creditors.
Documents Required to be Provided to the Trustee
An Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney From Amourgis & Associates Attorneys At Law Can Help You By:
- Exploring alternatives to bankruptcy, such as credit and personal financial counseling, loan modification and debt consolidation.
- Helping you determine what types of bankruptcy you qualify for and which type may best suit your financial circumstances.
- Assisting you with gathering the financial documents and information you will need to prepare your bankruptcy petitions.
- Connecting you to the required bankruptcy and credit counseling courses you must take in conjunction with your bankruptcy petition.
- Ensuring that your bankruptcy petition and other court filings are correctly prepared and properly filed with the court.
- Representing you and advocating for your interests before the bankruptcy trustee and the court and representing you at court hearings, including responding to any objections from creditors.
If you are considering a bankruptcy in Ohio, schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation today with an Ohio bankruptcy attorney from Amourgis & Associates, Attorneys at Law. We have six convenient office locations to serve you in Akron, Cincinnati, Independence , Columbus, Beavercreek, and Canfield. Let us help you understand your rights. We can help you move on with your life without the weight of unnecessary debt.
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How To Choose A Reliable Tri
Now that you know how important it is to have a lawyer by your side, the next thing you have to do is to identify the right legal expert to help you in this process. Start off by identifying lawyers with experience and expertise in bankruptcy cases. Do not settle for a general lawyer if you are looking for this specific form of legal representation. An attorney with substantial bankruptcy experience will be knowledgeable regarding nuances in the law, that a general attorney may not know.
You need an attorney who knows how much of a reduction in your debt to request. There are specific reasons that judges look out for that allow debt reduction, and your attorney should know what these are and how to best use them to your advantage given your specific set of circumstances.
Other considerations are the reputation of the attorney, and their fees. Hire an attorney who comes recommended, or has a good reputation in the legal community. ;Hire someone you can trust to maintain professionalism and transparency throughout the filing process. And, of course, money is a consideration. Work with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who is willing to charge reasonable legal fees.
What Is Pro Se Bankruptcy Filing In North Carolina
In North Carolina, or anywhere else in the country, individuals dont have to hire a lawyer in order to declare and file for bankruptcy. A registered entity such as a corporation or LLC would need a lawyer. Individuals can choose pro se.
You are allowed to fill out the appropriate bankruptcy forms on your own. You then file those forms with the court by yourself. And you defend any challenges to your filing yourself.
The government provides the paperwork online for anyone to use for free. Some of the forms are quite straightforward. Youll list your personal details and disclose your financial situation. Many of the forms, however, are much more intricate.
To maximize the relief available, it may require knowledge of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the local rules of the District the case is being filed in, precedential caselaw, and North Carolina statutes.
That seems simple enough. Youve probably filled out plenty of government forms, from your taxes to the census to a voter registration card. Once you look at the full extent of the digital files youll need to download, answer accurately, and submit correctly, you may reconsider.
You should think carefully before you file bankruptcy without a lawyer. Namely, there are numerous risks to pro se bankruptcy filing and many advantages to hiring a bankruptcy attorney.
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Get Your Bill Collectors To Pay
If youre being harassed by bill collectors, they may be violating the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act or your states equivalent. If so, you could be paid $1,000 per instance of harassment, plus actual damages, plus attorney fees and costs.
This will require that you keep accurate records and have an attorney willing to follow through. Not all bankruptcy attorneys handle this type of consumer litigation, but they will refer you to someone who does.
Ahwatukee Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers
An Ahwatukee Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as a reorganization bankruptcy, because your debts are reorganized by a payment plan that allows you to pay off your creditors over the course of three to five years with your monthly income.; Unlike in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will probably be able to keep most if not all of your assets as they are not used to satisfy the claims of your creditors.; Additionally, Chapter 13 is a consumer bankruptcy that is designed to alleviate the financial burden that our clients carry with them while trying to keep up with their bills.
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Focus On Bankruptcy Attorneys With Local Expertise
Besides being familiar with bankruptcy laws, the attorney should be familiar with the local laws of the court where your bankruptcy case will be filed. Bankruptcy procedures tend to vary from locality to locality. Thats why you should look for a bankruptcy attorney who has practiced in your filing locality. They can use their knowledge of the local court procedures and personnel to your benefit.
When Incurring Major Medical Expenses
One of the most common reasons why someone may need to declare bankruptcy is because they have incurred major medical expenses. Receiving medical care, prescription medication, surgical procedures, or other healthcare services can be extremely expensive in the country today. Even if you have insurance in place and your claim is approved, your of the expenses can still be too much to repay. In these cases, your bankruptcy attorney can advise on how their services can help you either restructure your debt into a more favorable repayment plan or have it eliminated entirely.
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Why Hiring A Bankruptcy Attorney Is Probably Better Than Filing On Your Own
Hiring a qualified lawyer guarantees that your bankruptcy filing is done correctly, and you may even save money as a result. The US federal court website published a list of all the ways a bankruptcy lawyer can help you .
Our lawyers at Sasser Law Firm will give you a crucial benefit that you lack: experience. Weve handled thousands of cases for both individuals and businesses.
Since weve done it so many times before, we know what errors cause problems and seek to avoid them in our clients filings. Weve undertaken Chapter 7, 11, and 13 cases, so well be able to tell which bankruptcy is the right one for you.
When you file bankruptcy on your own, youll have to read legal jargon and apply it to your situation. That can be difficult, but years of practice have made us efficient and our goal is to advise you quickly.
You may have pressing financial obligations that you need to resolve quickly, like an impending foreclosure. We can figure out if theres a way to avoid the most serious consequences and maintain your life at a sustainable level. We know it is unpleasant to file bankruptcy, so well do our best to be the steady expert you need in this difficult time.
Finally, we may tell you that bankruptcy isnt your best bet. Our goal is to give you the best possible advice and help you resolve your debt issues in the best way possible If you should wait to file or avoid bankruptcy, well tell you that.
Fill Out The Paperwork
Filling out the official bankruptcy forms is generally the most complicated and time-consuming task if you choose to file bankruptcy without a lawyer.
Download the bankruptcy forms package to save the time and stress involved in tracking down the necessary materials. The packages are inexpensive and provide you with all the forms you need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state.
Once you complete the forms, attach the relevant documents and submit the paperwork with the filing fee either in person or by mail. It’s important that you promptly respond to any correspondence from the bankruptcy trustee. Failure to do so can get your case dismissed.
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When Is It Feasible To File Without An Attorney
The general rule is the simpler your bankruptcy, the better your chances are to complete it and receive a bankruptcy dischargethe order erasing debton your own. Your case is likely simple enough to handle without an attorney if:
- you pass the first portion of the Chapter 7 means test
- you don’t own much property
- you don’t have any priority debts you can’t discharge, and
- creditors aren’t alleging fraud against you.
However, keep in mind that even the most straightforward Chapter 7 requires you to fill out extensive paperwork, gather financial documentation, research bankruptcy, and exemption laws, and follow the local rules and procedures. At the very least, if you want to file pro se, use a good self-help bankruptcy book like Nolo’s How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer, J.D.
Thats Why You Should Have An Experienced And Compassionate Personal Bankruptcy Attorney On Your Side:
- An attorney can help you explore whether bankruptcy is your best option.
- An attorney can ensure that your bankruptcy petition proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Contact Amourgis & Associates, Attorneys at Law, today to speak to one of our Ohio bankruptcy lawyers about your rights and options. We offer a free initial consultation. You can learn more about how our firm can help you resolve your debts and financial difficulties.
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What Does A Bankruptcy Attorney Do
The word bankruptcy is so fraught with negative images that consumers tend to forget the real purpose behind filing: A) It provides protection from creditors; and B) It offers relief from some, or maybe even all debt obligations.
And that is exactly what a bankruptcy lawyer should do: Protect your assets from debt collectors and find a way to free you from financial responsibilities.
While its permissible to file for bankruptcy pro se on your own statistics say you will get a much happier result if you hire an attorney, regardless of whether you choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
According to Ed Flynn of the American Bankruptcy Institute, lawyers represented consumers in 91.5% of the 486,347 Chapter 7 cases filed in 2017. Lawyers had their clients debt discharged meaning eliminated in 96.2% of the cases. ;Put another way: 428,097 people walked out of court debt free.
By contrast, people who represented themselves in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, were successful just 66.7% of the time.
The stats are even more dramatic for consumers who chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Consumers representing themselves succeeded just 2.3% of the time. That number soared to a 41.5% success rate debts were discharged after completing a repayment plan when a lawyer represented a client in a Chapter 13 case.
So, if your financial status has soured and you want protection from creditors and relief from debt obligations, a bankruptcy lawyer could be your ticket to a fresh start.