If you've decided you can't take the collector calls and late notices anymore and you're going to file for personal bankruptcy, your next big decision is whether you should hire a bankruptcy lawyer.
It is a big risk to try to tackle your personal bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney. Bankruptcy is a complicated legal process involving both federal and state laws. While the actual paperwork is filed in federal court, state bankruptcy laws will dictate which property you can save from liquidation and which you cannot. A lawyer can best advise you how to proceed in your state.
There are different types of personal bankruptcy. The most common types are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is also called straight bankruptcy while Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize your debts. A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is better for your particular situation.
In addition, you'll have many deadlines along the way. If you miss just one, your bankruptcy filing could be rejected. A lawyer will make sure you meet all your deadlines, so you can see your filing through to conclusion.
Finally, the process for going bankrupt can be very emotionally draining. Having a bankruptcy lawyer can help keep you focused so you can make wise decisions.
You can talk to lawyers without having to commit to hiring one of them or even to filing the bankruptcy itself. This is because most bankruptcy lawyers are willing to meet with you for a brief introductory session, called an initial consultation. These meetings can be very productive. At an initial consultation, you can:
You'll also learn the best timing for filing bankruptcy. It is possible to file too soon. For example, you shouldn't file for bankruptcy right after making luxury purchases or property transfers. The trustee – the person assigned to oversee your bankruptcy – can decide to keep the purchases as debts and even void the property transfer.
On the other hand, it's possible to wait too long to file bankruptcy, especially if creditors are threatening to repossess your car or foreclose on your home.
A bankruptcy lawyer can guide you in the best timing for your bankruptcy filing.
The steps to finding a bankruptcy attorney are not difficult. First, you'll want to get some names of some lawyers. Ask your friends, family or acquaintances to see if they have ever hired a bankruptcy attorney before. You can also use the referral service here at LawyerLocator.com. Just call us at 1-888-490-2407, and we'll connect you with at least one bankruptcy lawyer near you.
Next, set up appointments with the attorneys on your list for that first meeting, the initial consultation. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time and gather some important documents that will help the lawyers to better assess your financial situation. Also pack with you some extra paper and a pen, so you can record the answers to your questions.
After you have met with each attorney on your list, it is time to choose one. Ask yourself:
The answers to these questions should point you to your best choice in a bankruptcy attorney. When you have hired him, you are ready to proceed with your bankruptcy filing.