Filing for bankruptcy is one of the scariest things that one can ever do. Among the things that can force somebody to file for bankruptcy include large medical bills, unemployment, a massive amount of debt, or even marital problems.
Since filing for bankruptcy is not a matter that can be taken lightly, you need a bankruptcy lawyer by your side to guide you throughout the process. A lawyer will show you the options that are available and explain clearly some of the things that you can expect when filing for bankruptcy.
If you have decided to file for bankruptcy Choosing the right lawyer is essential. These are some of the things that you should look for in a bankruptcy lawyer.
- The lawyer should have experience with Bankruptcy law
I Just like any other area of law, bankruptcies are governed by complicated procedures that lawyers must adhere to in order to represent their clients most effectively. Attorneys who choose to specialize in bankruptcy law know the complexity of these cases. Hiring a lawyer who is not familiar with bankruptcy law might cost you a lot in terms of:
- Losing your property
- Your bankruptcy petition might get dismissed
- You might end up attending unnecessary hearings, etc.
To be on the safe side when hiring a bankruptcy lawyer, you should look for a lawyer who regularly serves clients in bankruptcy cases. Don’t get tempted to hire a lawyer who previously helped you with your divorce case or with an injury case unless they also practice bankruptcy law. But, you can ask other attorneys you know for recommendations on the best bankruptcy lawyer.
- The lawyer should know the local rules and what to expect from trustees
Various bankruptcy courts have their own local rules, proceedings, and forms you must follow to complete your case. When filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will appoint a trustee to oversee your case.
The trustee will play a significant role in the bankruptcy proceedings. A qualified, experienced attorney will help you prepare your case in accordance with all rules and requirements. The lawyer should have the necessary expertise to handle a case
Generally, how difficult your bankruptcy is, depends on your individual circumstances. For instance, if you are a low-income debtor filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your case may be much simpler than somebody who is filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to eliminate a second mortgage from his/her house.
The lawyer that you hire should have the necessary expertise to handle the kind of bankruptcy that you have. If your bankruptcy case is complicated, then you should ensure that the lawyer that you hire has dealt with similar cases before so you are sure that he/she will handle your case effectively.
- The fee should be reasonable
Before hiring a lawyer, you should check out the lawyers in your area and compare their fees. Generally, a bankruptcy lawyer’s fees depend on the following:
- How complicated a case is
- Whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
Even though the cost is a crucial factor, it should not be the only thing that you concentrate on when hiring a lawyer. When hiring a lawyer, you should choose a lawyer that you are comfortable with and one who charges a reasonable fee for the services that they offer.
If a lawyer charges a significantly lower or higher amount than similarly qualified attorneys in your area, this should be a warning sign, and you should look for another lawyer.
- The lawyer should communicate effectively
Communication is key when it comes to handling a case. Lack of effective communication can cause a negative impact on your bankruptcy petition. Even though lawyers are mostly busy, there is no excuse for them to fail to answer your questions or return your calls.
When you are consulting different lawyers, be keen to notice how soon they return your calls or respond to your questions. If you realize that the lawyer is not communicating with you effectively and on time, then it may not be the best idea to hire him or her. Instead, you should find a bankruptcy attorney who communicates with you on an ongoing basis and always takes time to discuss your concerns and address your questions.