What Are Some Options For Hiring An Affordable Bankruptcy Attorney
Some of your friends or family members may offer to loan you the money to hire an affordable bankruptcy lawyer. This offer is wonderful, but make sure that your friend or family members know that you can’t repay the money until after your bankruptcy case is closed.
You can also stop paying your unsecured debts that will be discharged in a bankruptcy case and use that money to pay an affordable bankruptcy attorney. However, your to seek a judgment and wage garnishment. In addition, additional late payments will lower your credit score even further.
It’s typically possible to find a bankruptcy attorney who agrees to accept payments while agreeing to handle creditor calls and provide you with legal advice as needed while you pay the attorney fees.
Another option is to seek assistance from a local legal aid organization that will represent you in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. You also have the choice of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief without an attorney if you can’t find an affordable bankruptcy attorney. The Bankruptcy Code does not prohibit you from filing on your own .
If you’re exploring filing bankruptcy without a lawyer to deal with credit card debt and medical bills, we encourage you to see if you’re eligible to use Upsolve’s free web app to navigate the bankruptcy process.
Find The Right Bankruptcy Lawyer For You
Picking the right bankruptcy lawyer is a lot like picking the right head coach for a sports team.
It doesnt assure success, but without the right professional, success is a whole lot harder to come by.
Bankruptcy is a specialized area of law that can be far more complex than appears on the surface. The issues are not always obvious or simple.
It is not just about filling out forms.
- Assessing whether you should file and when is critical.
- Your assets and your financial future are at stake.
While price is the easiest selector, it is not a good basis for choosing a bankruptcy lawyer.
So, how do you find a reliable professional?
Who Is Eligible For Chapter 13
While it is much easier to qualify for Chapter 13 than it is for Chapter 7, there are some criteria that must be met. Most notably, Chapter 13 petitioners must be up to date on their taxes. If you have not filed your taxes, your petition for Chapter 13 will not go forward. Tax issues must be resolved first. Further, there are some debt limitations. Finally, you must have enough disposable income to create a viable restructuring plan. U.S. bankruptcy courts will not approve a Chapter repayment plan that is destined to fail. Where in a Chapter 7 the Means Test is used to determine eligibility, in a Chapter 13, it is used to determine the length of the plan and how much, if any, will be paid to general, unsecured creditors.
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How To Become A Bankruptcy Law Attorney
If you want to become a bankruptcy lawyer, youll need to obtain a bachelors degree and be enrolled in a law school. Youll pursue a Juris Doctor . Degree, which takes two and four years to complete.
You should realize that admission to prestigious law schools in the United States is competitive, and anyone considering a career as a bankruptcy law attorney should start preparing early. Youll need a considerable amount of time to complete your application and prepare for the Law School Admission Test as a minimum.
If youre accepted, your first year of law school will typically focus on courses such as legal writing, constitutional law, and property law. Once you complete your core modules, youll also have the opportunity to explore an area of specialization, like bankruptcy.
It will involve taking courses on prevalent issues, such as income taxation, creditors rights, negotiations, intellectual property, and other bankruptcy-specific courses, for example. Most law schools offer opportunities for moot trials and externships to help students gain hands-on experience during their years of study.
After acquiring your law degree, you must pass the written bar exam in your state to obtain a license for practicing law.
Dont Limit Yourself To Just Bankruptcy
While bankruptcy law can be lucrative, it is also unpredictable. The number of bankruptcy cases each year will vary greatly based on the condition of the overall economy. During years with economic unrest such as 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic the number of bankruptcy cases will be high and continue to grow well into 2021.
But, when the economy is doing well, the number of bankruptcy cases will decrease and this can negatively affect your practice. Many bankruptcy attorneys also practice estate law, business law, or real estate to ensure the financial stability of the firm year round.
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Getting Your Law Degree
Earning your degree typically requires three years of full-time study. The American Bar Association does not currently provide accreditation to any 100 percent online law degree program, and you need to graduate from an accredited law school to be eligible to take the bar exam in most states. Evening and part-time law degree programs are offered by some accredited schools, however, and can be an option for people who need to keep their day jobs.
During your first year of law school, you do a tremendous amount of reading while you further develop your analytical and critical thinking skills. Topics typically include the following:
- Civil procedure
- Property law
In addition to attending classes, you may have the opportunity as a first-year student to participate in moot court, where students argue a hypothetical court case.
In your second and third years, you have opportunities to select from a broader range of courses according to your interest. The offerings can vary from one school to another, depending on the school’s size and resources.
Membership on the editorial staff of a scholarly journal, such as a school’s law review, is a mark of distinction. Selection for these positions is usually based on academic achievement and writing ability. Editorial work is an asset to any law student’s resume.
Documents Your Bankruptcy Attorney Needs
Once you hire an attorney to assist with your bankruptcy case, it is important to provide the information they need to best advise and represent you.
Although every person’s financial life is different, some basic documents are virtually always helpful in better understanding your financial position.
Examples of important documents include, but are not limited to:
- Bank statements
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Job Description & Skills Required
Bankruptcy lawyers work in and out of the court room. Out of the court room, they advise their clients in the complexities of bankruptcy laws and counsel them in reducing their debt load by liquidating assets and paying creditors. Or, they may work on the side of creditors, attempting to extract as much money owed as possible from their debtors.
In the court room, they may present a debt-reorganization plan for the court to approve. Of course, their greatest aim is to guide their client away from full bankruptcy. However, when necessary, they also file bankruptcy documents for their clients. Each state has its own bankruptcy laws. There are federal bankruptcy laws known as the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to follow as well.
Both litigation and transaction skills are necessary to succeed as a bankruptcy lawyer. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, are helpful in guiding clients through the intricacies of bankruptcy law as well as performing well in court. The process of filing for bankruptcy can be a lengthy and emotional undertaking. A bankruptcy lawyer must handle their clients affairs with seriousness and delicacy since so much is at stake.
Skills in analysis, negotiation, and math are all great assets in this field. A background in finance provides a solid foundation for this type of law practice. Bankruptcy laws are apt to change so a bankruptcy lawyer must also stay up-to-date with industry news.
What Type Of Personal Bankruptcy Should I File For
There are two available options when filing for personal bankruptcy: chapter 7 and chapter 13. Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy, where the court sells all your non-exempt assets and uses the money to pay your creditors. Chapter 13, on the other hand, is a form of reorganization bankruptcy that allows you a more affordable repayment plan for your debts.
After assessing your assets, liabilities, and overall financial situation, your bankruptcy attorney should be able to determine which type of personal bankruptcy suits you best.
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How Much Will My Monthly Payment Be For Chapter 13
The answer to this question depends on several factors for this reason if you call and we do a free intake, we can give you an estimate rather quickly. Bankruptcy can help you get out from under considerable debt, but not all forms of bankruptcy allow you to keep many of your most important assets along the way. Those with regular income can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to help keep key assets like a home or car. In Chapter 13, debts are restructured over a three- or five-year period. If you make regular payments over that time, then some or all of your debts may be discharged. The Chapter 13 repayment plan is the legal document that lays out how youll pay back your creditors. It must be drawn up and filed with the bankruptcy court within 14 days of filing the bankruptcy petition , after which the judge and your creditors will have a chance to assess and possibly challenge the plan. If the courts ultimately okay your plan, youll then follow through to pay back your eligible debts. Its possible to DIY your own Chapter 13 plan, but the process can be complicated and detail-heavy. Thats why its best to work with a bankruptcy lawyer, who can help make sure your repayment plan meets all requirements for approval.
Passing The Il Bankruptcy Means Test
Illinois Chapter 7 bankruptcies come with a test. Its called the means test. This test determines whether you are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois. Heres how it works: You factor in your annual income and the size of your household; if that income is higher than the median household income for households of your size in Illinois, you fail the means test.
The following are the Chapter 7 income limits for Illinois households as of August 2021:
- One person: $57,983
- Four people: $107,226
- Five or more people: Add $9,000 for each household member exceeding four
You probably just did the math in your head. If you passed, thats great you likely qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois. If you failed, you still have another chance. Even if your income exceeds the limit, you can still qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your reasonable monthly expenses leave you with too little to pay into a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
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Will Bankruptcy Hurt My Credit Score Or Rating
Some creditors will actually consider you a better risk after Bankruptcy than someone who did not file Bankruptcy, because
- Your discharge frees you from old debts, improving your ability to pay new debts
- You cant get another discharge for several years.
Your Bankruptcy could appear on your credit report for up to ten years. It may be more difficult for you to obtain new credit as long as your credit report shows your Bankruptcy filing.
However, being credit worthy is like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. Some lenders and merchants will be less reluctant than others to extend new credit to you. In fact, from the point of view of many creditors, after you file Bankruptcy, you are a better risk for a new loan than someone who did not file Bankruptcy. This is because your discharge relieves you from the responsibility of paying old debts, which will improve your ability to pay new debts, and after receiving a discharge you will have to wait several years before obtaining another one. Department stores and gasoline companies are often the first lenders and merchants who extend new credit to people who have filed Bankruptcy. As you incur and repay new debt, you will build a new, and more favorable, credit history.
Bankruptcy Attorney Salary And Job Outlook
The debt issue has become more prominent due to factors such as unemployment, layoffs, salary reduction, and an increased cost of living. The trend has led to many people being unable to repay their debts and opting to declare bankruptcy instead. It has led to a visible increase in the demand for bankruptcy lawyers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , the employment of bankruptcy attorneys grew by about 10 percent between 2012 and 2018. According to ZipRecruiter, a jobs website, the average annual salary for a bankruptcy lawyer is currently around $71,888.
The salaries vary significantly, though, depending on skills and experience, geographic location, and employer and client demographics.
- The mean bankruptcy attorney salary in New York is $86,296, significantly higher than the national average.
- Massachusetts bankruptcy attorneys make $85,589 on average annually
- Bankruptcy lawyers in Florida earn $66,679 on average annually
- North Carolina bankruptcy lawyers earn $61,076 on average annually
The economy may also affect a bankruptcy attorneys salary. During tough economic times, bankruptcy lawyers are generally in high demand, and clients are willing to pay top dollar to hire the best representatives.
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Why File For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Instead Of Chapter 7
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a powerful tool to bring house payments current rather than lose a home to foreclosure, to repay tax debt, or to get caught up on child or spousal support. Some people file for Chapter 13 simply because they are not eligible for Chapter 7. In that case, it may simply be the best available option. Beyond that, Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection is actually the better choice for some financially distressed borrowers. For example, it is often best for people who could repay a significant portion of the debts, if only they were given more time and/or different terms. Chapter 13 can also work best for distressed borrowers who own nonexempt property that they want to keep.
Central District Of Illinois
Nearly half of all Illinois counties fall into the coverage area of the Central District of Illinois. This large district is split into three divisions one in Springfield, one in Urbana, and one in Peoria. This district provides a handy map to help you determine the division where you will need to file your bankruptcy documents.
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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.
What Should I Expect From A Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy, like most legal matters, is a process and the safest route is to have an attorney guide you through the process if you want to succeed.
A good bankruptcy attorney will give you peace of mind if they provide at least these four things:
- An initial consultation usually free! to get an overview of your case
- Advice on options available, including what type of bankruptcy to file
- Completed paperwork necessary for filing bankruptcy
- Representation when the case goes to court.
The bankruptcy process begins with a 30-60 minute interview between you and a lawyer. If you are married, both of you should attend so that all questions can be answered honestly and accurately. The attorney will be able to lay out your options including the potential to file bankruptcy without a spouse.
Making guesses about how much you owe and who you owe it to is not a good idea. The attorney will want some paperwork that backs up your answers on how many assets you have and how much you owe. Dont hold anything back if you want an honest and accurate assessment of your situation. The advice youre attorney gives you is only as good as the information you provide.
When the attorney has enough documented evidence to evaluate your case, he should offer advice on how to proceed. A good attorney does not always recommend filing bankruptcy. Its possible your problem could be resolved through less drastic means like debt settlement or maybe even a debt management program.
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Illinois Chapter 13 Bankruptcies
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is sometimes called a wage-earners plan. Thats because you develop a debt repayment plan based on your income. This plan, which lasts three to five years, covers some of your debts, and whatever is left over is discharged at the end. In other words, Illinois Chapter 13 bankruptcies can take three to five years, but they let you keep your assets.
How Do I Qualify For The Bankruptcy Chapter
Before choosing the bankruptcy chapter to be filed, you must undergo the bankruptcy means test. The key factor that determines your qualification is your monthly income. Your salary must be less than the median income in your state or you must pass the bankruptcy means test to evaluate whether you may fairly be expected to pay off debts through your disposable income.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if the income of your family falls below the medianincome of Michigan, it means that you pass the means test. On the other hand, if the income of your family exceeds the median income, you may still be qualified to pass the means test after you deduct a list of the allowable living expenses.
On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is considered an expensive option since it requires a debtor to have a stable monthly income. To qualify, you need to pay all non-dischargeable debts and the value of your non-exempt property using all your disposable income.
Whether you intend to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is a good idea to seek legal advice from a credible Royal Oak bankruptcy attorney. He or she will assist you with your bankruptcy petition and help ensure that you successfully go through your bankruptcy case.
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Why Hire A Bankruptcy Attorney In Tampa Early On
We highly recommend our clients to be proactive and contact us for debt relief help before it becomes too late. Much like a personal injury case, the most successful Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases are dealt with early. A delay in getting legal advice and retaining experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorneys can result in costly financial expenses that could have been avoided by getting our professional help early.
Work With Bogin Munns & Munns
Dont let debt control your life. Our bankruptcy attorneys can handle your bankruptcy matter with the care you should expect from a firm that has been around for over 40 years. If you are considering bankruptcy, please fill out our online Bankruptcy Questionnaire or call us to discuss your case during a consultation.
We have 13 locations throughout Central Florida and North Central Florida, including Orlando, Clermont, Cocoa, Daytona, Gainesville, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Melbourne, Ocala, Orange City, St. Cloud, Titusville, and The Villages. We are happy to meet you in the location that is most convenient for you.
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The Process Of Filing Chapter 11
During a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the organization or business usually has a chance to plan its own reorganization. It may downsize, liquidate, or renegotiate debts. Ultimately, it is up to the courts to decide whether its reorganization plan is acceptable.
The organization or company will also have to abide by the reorganization plan to maintain the agreed-upon terms set by the court.
Send Your Tax Return To Your Trustee
The court will assign a bankruptcy trustee to you after you file your forms. They will oversee your case and attend your meetings with creditors. They will need to verify the information in your bankruptcy petition, and to do that, they will need the tax return you most recently filed. You can mail your return to your trustee.
Each trustee has their own process for verifying information in bankruptcy cases, so dont be surprised if your trustee reaches out to request additional information or documents.
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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.
Licensed Insolvency Trustees Have A Legal Obligation To You
A Licensed Insolvency Trustee will be able to answer all your questions. Canadas insolvency laws are complex. Were here to reduce your stress by telling you all the facts and helping you get out of debt. LITs are designated officers of the court and have a standard of fairness and transparency to uphold. The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy is responsible for granting licenses and ensuring that all LITs follow the rules and regulations of the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act .
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Print Fill Out And File Your Forms
Once you have made sure you will be able to pay the filing fee , its time to print out and complete your forms. Every possible form you could need for bankruptcy in Illinois is available online.
This is often the trickiest step in the Illinois bankruptcy process. These forms ask for a lot of information, and mistakes could lead to debts being left out when you get your bankruptcy discharge or even make it so you dont qualify for bankruptcy at all. This is why many Illinoisans work with a bankruptcy law firm that can fill out the forms for them perfectly.
After the forms are filled out, you have to file them with the proper bankruptcy court in your district.