If you are a consumer right now looking for an attorney to help you file for bankruptcy, you have almost endless options. Many attorneys practice bankruptcy in conjunction with other areas of law, and some even solely practice bankruptcy. With so many options, it may be tempting to find the attorney who will quote you the lowest price, and feel like you are getting the best bargain for your money. Sometimes, though, the cheapest bankruptcy attorney isn’t always the best bargain! If you don’t carefully choose the right attorney, you could lose out on important legal rights and benefits, and even end up paying back more money than you have to!
Here are some things to consider when you are researching and meeting with attorneys, to make sure you do actually get the best value:
Do you have other legal issues that may impact or help your bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy can be used as a tool to help other legal problems you may have. Most bankruptcies are filed as a result of death, divorce, or disability. If you are getting divorced, it may help your divorce case to file bankruptcy together before the final divorce decree is entered, or separately after. If you are elderly, or have an aging family member, with a substantial amount of debt, it may help probate move more smoothly to file for bankruptcy. If you are being sued for any reason, bankruptcy may be the quickest and cheapest way to resolve that lawsuit, as well as any other debt you may have.
A good attorney will consider how bankruptcy can help or hinder other legal cases you are or may be involved in. It is important for you to discuss these legal cases with an attorney, and equally important for the attorney to consider how the other case will play out with a bankruptcy.
Does the attorney only handle one type, or Chapter, of bankruptcy?
Many attorneys only do Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This is because a Chapter 7 is generally very easy, and the attorney doesn’t need to have a detailed understanding of bankruptcy law. This can result in the attorney filing a Chapter 7 for you, when there may be better options! Other chapters of bankruptcy allow a person to reduce interest rates on some loans, get caught up on delinquencies through payment plans, and sometimes even discharge the loan completely. While you may technically qualify for a Chapter 7, you may benefit more from exploring other types of bankruptcy filings. An attorney who doesn’t handle other types of bankruptcy likely doesn’t have the necessary knowledge to determine which chapter is the best fit for your individual financial situation.
How many years’ experience does the attorney have practicing bankruptcy specifically?
Some attorneys practice in different areas of law and pick up bankruptcy as a secondary area. This can be an advantage, especially if you are using bankruptcy as a tool to help another legal situation, but beware attorneys who lack substantial experience or assistance to determine the best chapter of bankruptcy for you. A bankruptcy attorney with experience will be able to help you take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to get the maximum benefit and help you get your fresh financial start!