In recent years, it has no longer been uncommon for an insolvent individual to consider filing for bankruptcy. Of course, while most people still do not want the concept of “bankruptcy” to become a permanent part of their lives, there are times when certain individuals just have to face it. After all, the Bankruptcy Code exists in order to give insolvent individuals the chance to a fresh start financially. Or at least, give them more room to breathe while their finances are sorted out.
Now, if bankruptcy has crossed your mind, one of the first things you ought to know is the type of bankruptcy you should file for or the type you are eligible for. Then, other questions and requirements would follow. While it is true that some individuals go through and survive an entire bankruptcy case filing on their own, it is always easier (and wiser) if you have a competent and qualified Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney by your side.
Some Duties of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is not just there to represent you in a bankruptcy court. True enough, legal representation is his primary role but there is more to that and why you can have things much easier and simpler with a bankruptcy lawyer.
Other than legally representing you in a bankruptcy court, your hired Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney has other duties and responsibilities to handle. One of which is to have an initial discussion and consultation with you (or the person or business entity contemplating on filing for bankruptcy) so as to explain deeply and fully the processes involved as well as the short-term and long-term outcomes of a filed case. As such, make sure to hire a reliable lawyer such as san diego bankruptcy attorney.
In the initial talks, it is also the responsibility of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to check if you can indeed qualify for Chapter 7. If not, then he can advise you as to the type of bankruptcy you are most likely to qualify for. In other words, it should be clear right from the start that Chapter 7 will be filed so you can be possibly discharged from your accumulated debts primarily through the liquidation of non-exempt assets.
Steps in Choosing and Hiring a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
It is quite common for an individual to be unfamiliar with the entire bankruptcy process. After all, the law gives a limit to the frequency of bankruptcy filing an individual or a business can make. Now, here are the steps that can help guide you when considering filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
The first step is to deeply evaluate whether you really need a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to be filed. Know that your own evaluation and decision are the heaviest here especially since it is your life and finances that will primarily be changed, in most cases for the better. It is advisable that part of the first step is for you to learn more about the concept, process and possible effects of bankruptcy so all points would be clear to you before you make the first legal step.
The second step is to scout for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney who can represent you in court and who can help you with your case from start to finish. You can always ask for referrals from friends and family members; look into local directories or even use online resources so you can create a short list of lawyers in your area with the qualifications you seek.
Be sure to look not just for academic, professional and experience-related credentials and qualifications, but also know whether the lawyer’s personality, availability and professionalism suit you and your needs. Thus, it is best that you directly consult with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney candidates before you actually retain his or her services.
Fees and costs can vary from case to case. Generally, though, the expenses associated with filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case includes lawyer’s fees, filing fees, plus other fees needed with your particular case. Some examples of other fees you would have to shoulder include appraisal costs, credit report fees and maybe some fees related to court-needed documentation.
What to Do After Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney
Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, technically, would do the load of the needed work. This includes gathering of information, documentation and interviewing you. This, of course, does not mean that you would do nothing after he is hired. First of all, once you have hired a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, you would need to do the following:
- consult with your attorney
- make a list of all your assets including earnings and properties, and do the same regarding all your debts and loans to creditors
- work with your attorney as to which assets are to be filed for exemption, if any
- refrain from making any new loans and credits
Working with a Bankruptcy Attorney
For your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to have the best chances in court, it is best that you work well with your chosen Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. Expect that you need to be totally honest to your lawyer especially in the declaration of assets and debts. Also, be open with your lawyer as to the assets you want exempted. It also helps that you take a proactive stance and get updated on the proceedings even after the case is filed in court.