What to Expect from a Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy, you can always do so without a lawyer, bu it isn’t always a good idea. Whether you’re a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, filing without an attorney can cost you more than you’d save.
If you want to know what a bankruptcy lawyer can do to help you, here’s a fairly good picture:
Stage I – Planning
The first thing a bankruptcy lawyer will do for a client is to determine which type of bankruptcy case to file. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases are unique from each other, both in terms of the specific scenarios involved, and the main goals to be achieved. For instance, Chapter 7 will wipe out most of your debt quickly, but you won’t be able to save your home if you’ve default on your payments. In any case, a bankruptcy lawyer will advise you on the best path to take.
Stage II – Preparation
Do you know what values to assign your possessions, from your five-year-old patio furniture to your diamond jewelry? With a lawyer, your assets will be declared and valued as accurately as possible.
Applying for Exemptions
A lawyer is the best person to decide how your state’s exemption rules can be used to protect as much of your assets as possible.
Some debts remain while you’re in bankruptcy. Others can be wiped out only when specific conditions are met. With a lawyer, you will clearly understand which are which.
Step III – Bankruptcy Filing
Scheduling and Documentation
Filing for bankruptcy requires filing pages of financial information pertaining to your debts, costs, income, assets and all your latest financial transactions.
A bankruptcy lawyer can give you advice on a host of issues, such as what you should disclose, what constitutes income, which tax returns to supply, and so on.
Ensuring an Accurate and Complete Testimony
When talking to your creditors or in court, you’ll be required to affirm the truth behind your statements or claims. In simple terms, an attorney will make sure that your testimony is complete and accurate so you can avoid being charged with perjury.
Dealing with Automatic Stay Violators
Even if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, some creditors may continue collecting, and that is a violation of the law. If that happens, a lawyer will know what legal remedies to take against the creditor.
Negotiating with Creditors
Lastly, if your case is a Chapter 7, your lawyer can propose a reaffirmation agreement or a redemption with a secured creditor that allows you to keep your home or car. For a Chapter 13, your lawyer will work out a deal with your creditors as to favorable collateral requirements, payment terms, interest rates.