If you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, you have the option not to hire a lawyer, but that isn’t always smart. Regardless if your case is a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you might end up with greater costs than savings doing it by yourself.
If you want to know what a bankruptcy lawyer can do to help you, here’s a fairly good picture:
Stage I – Planning
First and foremost, your bankruptcy lawyer will determine what type of bankruptcy case you should file. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are meant for various scenarios and objectives. 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 how to value your possessions, such as your antique dining table or your flatscreen TV? With a lawyer, your assets will be declared and valued as accurately as possible.
Choosing and Applying for Exemptions
A lawyer can most expertly determine which state exemption rules you can use to protect most of your assets.
There are certain debts that don’t get discharged in bankruptcy. Others may be wiped out only after you have met certain conditions. A lawyer can tell you which are which.
Step III – Bankruptcy Filing
Scheduling and Documentation
The process requires filing pages of financial details in relation to your debts, income and assets, and expenses, and your most recent financial transactions.
A bankruptcy lawyer can tell you what you need to disclose, which of your expenses are “reasonable and necessary,” how to value your assets, and many other crucial issues.
Ensuring an Accurate and Complete Testimony
When meeting your creditors and speaking in court, you will swear or affirm that everything you say is true. Simply said, a lawyer will ensure that your testimony is full and correct so you can avoid perjury charges.
Dealing with Creditors Who Violate The Automatic Stay
Even if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, some creditors may continue collecting, and that is a violation of the law. 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. For a Chapter 13, your lawyer will work out a deal with your creditors as to favorable collateral requirements, payment terms, interest rates.