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 how exactly a bankruptcy lawyer can help you, the following should give you a good idea:
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 made for different scenarios and goals. For example, Chapter 7 will eliminate much of the debt in a short period, but you can’t save your house if you’re not updated with 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.
Choosing and Applying for Exemptions
A lawyer is the best person to decide how your state’s exemption rules can be used to protect as much of your assets as possible.
There are certain debts that don’t get discharged in bankruptcy. Others may be wiped out only after you have met certain conditions. With a lawyer, you will clearly understand 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 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 a Full and Accurate Testimony
When talking to your creditors or in court, you’ll be required to affirm the truth behind your statements or claims. In simple terms, an attorney will make sure that your testimony is complete and accurate so you can avoid being charged with perjury.
Dealing with Automatic Stay Violators
Some creditors keep collecting even after the borrower has filed for bankruptcy, which is illegal. In such a case, a lawyer will know how to make these collectors behave.
Negotiating with Creditors
Finally, if you have a Chapter 7 case, your attorney can negotiate with a secured creditor that might allow you to keep your house as well as your car. If your case is a Chapter 13, your lawyer will negotiate with creditors regarding payment terms, interest rates and collateral requirements.