If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, the last thing that you likely want to consider is paying attorney fees. After all, you’re probably in this situation because you have too much debt and not enough income. So, the idea of paying an attorney thousands of dollars probably doesn’t make you feel good.
While you can certainly represent yourself in a bankruptcy case, it is usually not in your best interest to do so. The bankruptcy process requires more than simply completing forms and turning them in with the requested information. Attorneys offer a host of benefits that can save their clients time, money, and stress. Click here for more information.
In general, the complexity of your case, as well as your personal expectations, will play a large role in your decision-making process. Learn more below about the functions of an attorney during the bankruptcy process and whether or not you need one.
When It’s In Your Best Interest to Hire an Attorney
If your debts are piling up and you cannot fathom a way out of your current financial situation, bankruptcy may be a viable path. In rare cases, people decide to forgo hiring an attorney and choose to navigate the bankruptcy process on there own. However, if your bankruptcy is complex in any way, it may benefit you to work with an attorney. Common situations that may be a sign that you should hire an attorney include:
- Calls and letter in the mail from creditors threatening to sue you
- Negative home equity
- Insufficient income to pay for everyday expenses
- A high number of creditors that you owe
- Complex financial history
When You May Not Need an Attorney
It is not impossible to file for bankruptcy alone. However, it is more challenging for the typical person that is not trained in bankruptcy law. If your case is relatively simple, you do not have many creditors, and you are confident that you can represent yourself, then it may be okay to file your case without the help of an attorney.
It should be noted though, that going through any bankruptcy process without the appropriate legal representation could leave you vulnerable to increased scrutiny by the judge, bankruptcy trustee, and your creditors.
The Benefits of Working With a Bankruptcy Attorney
Attorneys are a great asset to have when you are in the process of planning a bankruptcy. This is not something that you should just jump into without full knowledge of what you are doing, as well as the potential consequences of doing so. An adept attorney can potentially advise you of other debt repayment options and whether or not bankruptcy is right for you.
Additionally, all bankruptcy procedures are governed by the federal government. It is in your best interest to work with an attorney that will ensure that you are following the correct procedures, carefully answering all questions, and represent you at meetings with creditors to negotiate on your behalf.
Finding The Right Attorney For Your Case
Contemplating bankruptcy is the first step and considering legal representation is the second. The third step (which is equally as important) is to find the bankruptcy attorney that is right for you. Fortunately, most attorneys offer a free consultation. During your initial meeting, you can ask questions about cost, expectations, other options, etc. Ensure that you inquire about their experience with cases similar to yours. Every attorney may not be prepared for your specific set of circumstances, ask as many questions as you can before you hire one.