What a Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Do for You
If you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, you have the option not to hire a lawyer, but that isn’t always smart. Whether your case falls under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you can end up spending more than you’d ever save not hiring an attorney.
If you want to know what exactly a bankruptcy lawyer can do for you, here are fairly good ideas:
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? A lawyer will make sure that your assets are disclosed and valued realistically.
Applying for Exemptions
A lawyer can best determine the state exemption rules that apply to your case, so as to safeguard most your assets.
Discharging of Debts
There are some debts that won’t be eliminated or discharged in bankruptcy. Others can be wiped out only when specific conditions are met. A lawyer can tell you which are which.
Step III – Bankruptcy Filing
Scheduling and Paperwork
When you file for bankruptcy, you need to file pages of financial information related to your debts, income, assets and every single financial transaction you had within the past few months (from date of filing).
A bankruptcy lawyer can advise you on many things like tax returns to provide, valuing of assets, determining expenses as “reasonable and necessary,” etc.
Ensuring an Accurate and Complete Testimony
When you speak in court or even during meetings with your creditors, you will swear that you’re telling the truth. In other words, when you have a legal expert checking the accuracy and completeness of your testimony, you don’t need to worry about perjury charges.
Dealing with Automatic Stay Violators
Some creditors keep collecting even after the borrower has filed for bankruptcy, which is illegal. Should that happen, a lawyer can take legal action against the creditor.
Negotiating with Creditors
Finally, in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your lawyer can work out a reaffirmation agreement or a redemption with a secured credit provider that lets you keep your home or car. If your case is a Chapter 13, your lawyer will negotiate with creditors regarding payment terms, interest rates and collateral requirements.