Hiring a bankruptcy attorney is no easy decision. It helps to come to the initial meeting prepared with questions to not only get a better idea of the process and what to expect but to also be sure that this attorney is the right fit for you. Below are some questions that can help:
Not every person needs to file for bankruptcy. In many situations, the time may not be right for bankruptcy, and the attorney may be able to provide recommendations on why it may be best to hold off for filing for now.
This could be for a number of reasons, such as the fact that the debtor is expected to receive a large sum of money from a tax refund. If he or she does not want to lose this money in bankruptcy, it may help to use that money for now to pay for living expenses and file for bankruptcy later.
The bankruptcy attorney will be able to talk with the debtor about what options are available. Is it best to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate all assets to pay debts or is it best to do a reorganization bankruptcy under Chapter 13?
The attorney will be able to help the client work through what options fit his or her situation. It is important that the client review his or her options and make an informed decision. Just because a Chapter 7 bankruptcy worked for someone he or she may know does not mean it may be the right fit for this specific situation. If the client had previously filed for bankruptcy, his or her options may also be limited, and the attorney can review this information during the consultation.
Every legal decision has its benefits and its negative aspects. The attorney may be able to walk the client through what negatives may be there for filing for bankruptcy, as well as how the client could benefit from doing the same.
Not many people realize what is involved in filing for bankruptcy. What happens once the petition is filed? The attorney can walk the client through the process, including the 341 creditors meeting up until the debt being discharged.
The attorney can also walk through the automatic freeze that takes place once the petition is filed, informing him or her how it will benefit the client and take some of the heat off of him or her from creditors who are likely breathing down his or her throat to be paid.
The client may also want to know how long the process will take. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, discharge can happen within months, if all goes smoothly. However, for a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy, the process can take three to five years, depending on the plan prepared.
Many clients prefer to ask how long the attorney has been doing bankruptcy or how many cases that attorney has handled. However, a better question to ask is how much of the attorney’s practice is dedicated to bankruptcy. This means that the attorney specializes in that particular area and is up-to-date on all of the bankruptcy laws, as they do change from year to year.
Another question is how that attorney prefers to be contacted. Many attorneys prefer email communication over phone. It ultimately depends on the attorney. It does help to know this information in advance, however, as it does need to gel with the way the client prefers to work with an attorney.
Money is almost always at the back of the client’s mind in any legal case. Attorney’s fees can be expensive, so it is important that this information is discussed openly and upfront. Ask the attorney what the fee agreement entails, what type of retainer will be needed and what the hourly rate for work will be.
The client should also ask about who else will be working with him or her on the case, such as office staff or paralegal support. Will these people be at the hearing or will the attorney be the one present? Who will be the client’s main point of contact?
At RLC Lawyers & Consultants, we are here to walk you through this stressful process of bankruptcy. To schedule a consultation, please call us at 561.571.9610 or send an email to email@example.com.