How Can A Good Bankruptcy Attorney Help You
Filing for bankruptcy is often a complicated procedure and finding a good bankruptcy lawyer is definitely worth the extra effort.
Sure, you can file for bankruptcy on your own and represent yourself, but unless you know the rules you have a good chance of having your case rejected by the court.
Do you really need to file for bankruptcy? Should you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy? What are the consequences of having a bankruptcy on your record and how long does a bankruptcy stay on your record? Did you know that not all debts are released in a bankruptcy? What about my house, can they take it away from me? A good bankruptcy lawyer can help you with all these questions and more.
Don’t waste your money on a cheap inexperienced bankruptcy attorney. You need an attorney that knows the ropes, one who can help you achieve your goal of getting out of debt. Hiring a good experienced bankruptcy attorney may cost you a bit more, but it may also mean fewer mistakes and errors. Here are five tips to help you find a good bankruptcy attorney.
5 Tips For Finding A Good Bankruptcy Attorney
1. Schedule an appointment with a free credit counseling service. They can discuss alternatives to bankruptcy with you and they may be able to recommend an attorney that would suit your needs.
2. Do some online research for attorneys that specialize in bankruptcy. Many bankruptcy attorneys have their own websites and you can review them without ever leaving your home. You should be able to find out where they went to school, how long they have been practicing bankruptcy law, how large or small their firm is and whether or not they belong to the American Board of Certification. Check out several attorney websites and make a list of their names.
3. Check with the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) to see whether the attorney is a member of the organization. Don’t count them out if they are not listed, not many are, but if an attorney is listed as a member that’s a plus.
4. Then check with your state bar association website and punch in the various attorney names. The state bar has records of complaints against attorneys and any reprimands they may have received. If you do choose to meet with an attorney who has complaints against them, don’t be shy ask what what happened. Just because someone complains doesn’t mean the complaint is valid.
5. Make appointments to meet in person with at least three or four bankruptcy attorneys. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, you just need to ask before making the appointment. Don’t just settle on the first one you meet with, visit several law firms.
Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
Really good bankruptcy attorneys are not cheap so expect to pay at least a couple thousand for good service. The fees will vary depending on how much work your case requires. You might think that hiring a cheap bankruptcy attorney is the way to go, think again, the professional advice of a well-experienced lawyer is worth the money. Less hassles and things get done right the first time.
A Few Suggestions
Check with a credit counseling service, you may not need to file for bankruptcy, there are alternatives. A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for years to come so think twice before filing.
If bankruptcy is your only way out, take your time in choosing a bankruptcy lawyer, interview several before making your final decision.
Make sure you provide the attorney with absolutely everything he needs, you don’t want to leave something out and end up having a debt that was not released when it should have been.
A good bankruptcy attorney is worth the effort to find. Choose the best one you can afford.
Another good source for checking on an attorney’s rating is Martindale.com, you can type in an attorney’s name or the name of their firm and see how their peers have rated them. The ratings are “based on evaluations by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. The first review to establish a lawyer’s rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the bar.” Very helpful site.
One bit of advice, if you plan on filing for bankruptcy in the near future, don’t make any big changes to your portfolio, don’t sign your house over to your son, withdraw all your money from your account, max out your credit cards and so on. This is highly frowned upon and can get you in big trouble, to the point of having your bankruptcy case dismissed or worse.