Why Should I Hire A Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Why should I hire a bankruptcy attorney?

When filing for bankruptcy, there are a myriad of rules and regulations that must be adhered to. If regulations aren’t met and technical missteps are made, the errors can be costly in regards to a debtor’s rights. If you’re filing for bankruptcy, you have the right to file without the help of an attorney, also known as filing pro se. However, doing so may have long-term financial and legal repercussions. When filing for bankruptcy, here are five reasons why seeking legal counsel is a must:

Understanding the Different Types of Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy involves deciding between the different types of bankruptcy options. U.S. Bankruptcy Code offers five different bankruptcy filing options – Chapter 7, 9, 11, 12, and 13. Each type of bankruptcy is completely different, and offers different options regarding status (individual or business), debt extinguishment, and payment options. Having a thorough understanding of the types of bankruptcy available, and regulations and rules associated with each is critical. An attorney can help you to understand the different types of bankruptcy, and provide you guidance regarding which type is most suitable for your financial needs.

Avoiding Bankruptcy Fraud

Bankruptcy fraud is a serious crime in the United States, punishable by both civil penalties (such as loss of exemptions) and criminal penalties (like prison time or fines). If, when filing for bankruptcy, you do not disclose all property and assets, falsify information or records, or fail to fill out your bankruptcy forms accurately, truthfully, and completely, you may be at risk of committing bankruptcy fraud. In order to ensure that you avoid both civil and criminal penalties associated with bankruptcy fraud, it is essential that an attorney review your forms prior to submittal.

Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is much more straightforward and simple than Chapter 13 bankruptcy is. If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should know that doing so is much more complex and labor intensive, and requires constructing a realistic payment plan that can be presented to creditors. Additionally, if alterations to a mortgage or car loan are included in your bankruptcy needs, the paperwork is even more intense. Essentially, filing for Chapter13 bankruptcy requires an extensive understanding of bankruptcy law; if you are not trained in bankruptcy law, it is highly advised that you seek legal counsel.

As a note, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can also be complex if you are a business owner, have a high number of assets, have non-dischargeable debts, or have income that may disqualify you from filing.

Fulfilling Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Requirements

In order to file for bankruptcy, both credit counseling and post-filing debtor education courses are required for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You must receive credit counseling from an approved agency prior to filing, and you cannot receive a discharge of debts until debtor education requirements have been fulfilled. If you fail to do either, your bankruptcy claim will be denied. If working with an attorney, your lawyer can help you to understand the differences between the two courses, and how to attend both.

Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney Today

Being buried in debt can be a very emotional and exhausting experience, as well as one that is scary and stressful. If you are facing overwhelming amounts of debt and are considering filing bankruptcy, it is within your best interest to retain the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney. An attorney can help to put an end to debt creditor harassment, explain your options for filing, help you to get all necessary documents and paperwork in order, and provide you with a straight-forward and stress-free solution to your financial problems.

Sources

http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx

http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/BankruptcyFraudAndAbuse.aspx

Most asked questions about Bankruptcy

What is the difference between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7?

We provide two different types of consumer bankruptcies– Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 is the “Start Fresh” bankruptcy.  It will get rid of credit card debt, medical debt, old auto repossession charges and debts from lease or apartment deficiencies.  It may also get rid of old personal income taxes (Come in to see if your taxes qualify).  Chapter 13 is like a Chapter 7 “plus”.  If you qualify for a Chapter 7, it can do everything a Chapter 7 can and more.  It may allow you to “cram down” the price of your car to its true value (rather than what you owe on the contract) and might allow you to “strip off” a 2nd mortgage and get rid of it like a credit card.  It may also allow you to pay off IRS tax debt or credit card debt at no interest.

What is the benefit to filing for Bankruptcy?

Immediately after filing and giving notice to your creditors, the calls will stop. The foreclosure will stop. There will be no repossession or eviction. This “stay” allows time for you to get things in order and either make payments or arrange for an orderly return of property. And surprisingly, your credit rating will start to rise sharply after filing and discharge, causing you to possibly have a better credit rating than if you’d paid all your creditors off.

Will bankruptcy stop lawsuits and will it stop garnishments?

Yes–almost immediately for just about all lawsuits and garnishments. The “stay” as mentioned above, gives you some breathing room so we can look at your financial situation and see if we can get rid of the judgments or possibly pay them off over a longer period of time with no interest. Garnishments can take up to 25% of your gross income. If you get a court summons, come to us at Lauber Dancey to discuss your options. It costs you nothing and may save you a lot.

Will I lose my home? Car?

If you are current on your home and we can protect the equity, you won’t lose your home. If you are current on your car, you won’t lose your car. One of the first questions the attorneys at Lauber Dancey will ask is “What are your goals?” Do you want to keep your home? Do you want to keep your car? We will give you all the options so you can make the decision that is right for you and your family. And if the creditors are knocking because you are behind, we can protect your home and car by forcing your creditors to accept a longer payment through the bankruptcy court.

My car was just impounded! What do i do?

Yes! But you must move quickly. Get proof of insurance and make an appointment with Lauber Dancey immediately. We can get your car back within 10 days by filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As long as the car hasn’t been sold by the dealer, you can get your car back and make long term payments on that car, normally at a lower interest rate.

What is the difference between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7?

We provide two different types of consumer bankruptcies– Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 is the “Start Fresh” bankruptcy.  It will get rid of credit card debt, medical debt, old auto repossession charges and debts from lease or apartment deficiencies.  It may also get rid of old personal income taxes (Come in to see if your taxes qualify).  Chapter 13 is like a Chapter 7 “plus”.  If you qualify for a Chapter 7, it can do everything a Chapter 7 can and more.  It may allow you to “cram down” the price of your car to its true value (rather than what you owe on the contract) and might allow you to “strip off” a 2nd mortgage and get rid of it like a credit card.  It may also allow you to pay off IRS tax debt or credit card debt at no interest.