If you are considering declaring bankruptcy, the first step you should take is finding an attorney. An attorney can make the bankruptcy process much smoother and faster. The choice of attorney should be made carefully. He or she will be responsible for charging you for the initial consultation, handling any court requests, researching the information that is not in the bankruptcy petition, preparing your financial statement for potential approval by the courts, and so on.
When you decide to go with an attorney, it is important to find someone you can trust. Ideally, your attorney should be a former state Supreme Court justice. If you have any private knowledge of the attorney general’s reputation, that is even better. It would help if you also considered that you are working with the person responsible for your case. Therefore, your attorney is more likely to be objective and present the best case on your behalf. That does not mean that an unlicensed attorney cannot be just as effective.
The attorney general does not represent each state individually. Instead, he or she works for the NCCA, which represents all 50 states. Before you hire an attorney, check out their track record and background in the state.
After you have checked out the attorney’s credentials and reliability, you should meet with him or her to discuss the entire legal process and the possibility of getting your bankruptcy case dismissed. Remember, a bankruptcy filing is a big deal and can affect your credit rating for at least seven years. You want a lawyer who will be honest with you about the status of your case. If your attorney tells you that your bankruptcy petition is not valid, do not take his word for it. Take the necessary steps to get a retainer request denied.
Also, when you speak with your attorney, don’t take the first offer. Ask questions until you feel comfortable that he or she understands what you need. Do not accept the first consultation fee. Most people are uncomfortable when they think of lawyers; therefore, they may feel pressure to accept an overly low settlement. This is why you should also get information about any other fees or additional charges.
It would help if you also asked about the fees that will be charged for the initial meeting. Sometimes attorneys charge an administrative fee after their initial meeting, even if you don’t take advantage of it. Others charge a retainer fee for the first few months. An attorney who is willing to spend the extra money may be worth his or her weight in gold.
If you decide to hire Bankruptcy Attorney, you should also determine if they offer continued professional support after the process is complete. Some stop taking calls after being hired and do not return messages left by potential clients. Others work closely with clients after they file and advise them even after the case has been settled. This should always be an option, regardless of how much the initial retainer cost.
Remember that an attorney for bankruptcy can provide you with advice and guidance. However, they cannot give you legal or other forms of legal advice. You will need to consult a lawyer if you need to obtain legal advice. If you take all of the above into consideration before hiring an attorney for bankruptcy, you will have a better experience and save money.
Make sure you ask about fees upfront. You may not be aware that some attorneys charge their clients based on the number of hours worked on your case. An attorney for bankruptcy may recommend that you seek representation from a law firm with a large staff because that is where your best opportunities for getting good advice will likely come from. A paralegal who works alone is unlikely to have as many hours available to work on your case and will likely charge a reduced rate.
Once you hire an attorney, you will want to make sure that he or she does not recommend that you file for bankruptcy before you have explored other options. It is easy to think that once the bankruptcy is filed, all of your problems will magically disappear. Unfortunately, things are not so simple. You will still need to explore other options, such as debt settlement or making other financial changes, before you can truly be debt-free.
Once you’ve decided to hire an attorney for bankruptcy, you must keep in mind that you will inevitably have to pay back any money you borrow from your new lawyer. Ensure you have enough saved up to cover this or find someone willing to lend you the money for a smaller payment. After all, you never know when the need will arise to ask for that money back.