Individuals who are behind on their credit card bills, mortgage payments, medical bills, and car loans may consider bankruptcy as a debt-relief option. Bankruptcy is a great tool to help people start over financially.
Individuals who want to file for bankruptcy are often faced with the difficult decision about whether they should hire a bankruptcy lawyer to help them through the process. Bankruptcy law is an extremely complicated area of law. Most people considering bankruptcy are already under an immense amount of physical and emotional stress and do not need to add a layer of stress by hiring a professional who cannot do their job. A good bankruptcy attorney can hold an individual’s hand through the process and alleviate some of their stress so they can tackle their debt head-on.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the financial ability to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. Individuals who find themselves in this situation should, at the very minimum, consult with a lawyer. Most bankruptcy attorneys provide free consultations that individuals should take advantage of. Many bankruptcy attorneys can offer payment plans to help individuals who may not be able to afford the fee upfront.
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision and making sure that an individual receives excellent advice is crucial. This article will discuss qualities that individuals considering bankruptcy should look for in a bankruptcy attorney so they can make an informed decision when it comes to finding a bankruptcy attorney to represent them through the case.
Where to Begin
Choosing a bankruptcy lawyer can be a difficult decision. Individuals should begin their search by vetting likely candidates. Individuals looking for a good bankruptcy attorney should consider interviewing a handful of lawyers until they find someone they feel comfortable with. Individuals can begin their search by looking online for attorneys who focus on bankruptcy law. Individuals can call their local Bar Association or consult with someone from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney referral list. Sometimes, individuals may even be able to ask their family and friends for a referral.
When considering who to hire to help navigate the bankruptcy process individuals should start by finding someone who professionally conducts themselves. Many attorneys look terrific on paper but fall short in person. It is critical that individuals who are considering hiring a bankruptcy attorney find someone who they can trust and will work in their best interest.
Individuals should go into a bankruptcy consultation with the idea that they are hiring the attorney to work for them. Therefore, if a bankruptcy attorney makes them feel uncomfortable or puts them down because of their financial mistakes they should hire someone else. A bankruptcy attorney is someone that an individual must feel comfortable with because they will be sharing much of their personal information with them for the next few months.
They Understand Your Goals
Most people who file bankruptcy do not want to be in this situation and have found themselves in this situation through no fault of their own. The bankruptcy process can be an emotionally tolling process for someone, and individuals should want to hire someone who understands their needs, wants, and goals. Everyone’s situation is different but finding an attorney to understand a person’s unique situation is vital.
Attorneys who care will allow the individual to disclose why they fell into these financial circumstances. They will also ask questions about the surrounding circumstances that may have led to the individual’s financial demise and address concerns the individual has. If an attorney does not want to take the time to understand an individual’s situation or address all their concerns, they are probably not best suited for the job.
Find Someone Who Cares
When meeting with a bankruptcy attorney it is important to find someone who has a passion for the bankruptcy process. Individuals would not want someone to represent them in a criminal case if the attorney did not believe them and was aloof. Thus, the lawyer that an individual is considering hiring should have a passion for the process and believe that they deserve a fresh start. A good way to find out if the attorney cares is to ask why they started practicing in this field. It is important to listen to an attorney’s answer to this question. Many good attorneys will tell their clients they entered the bankruptcy field to help people. If an attorney does not have a genuine answer then they probably have no regard for the bankruptcy process. Usually, this careless attitude will become prevalent throughout the individual’s case.
Many people find lawyers who will rush them out of their office or off the phone as if they are just another number waiting in line. Many times, people can tell right off the bat that the attorney is not interested in their problems and just wants to be hired. Individuals who find themselves in this predicament, should move on and find someone who genuinely cares about the process.
Find Someone Who Will Give You Alternative Options
Individuals who are considering hiring an attorney to help them should find someone who will thoroughly go through their finances and provide them with the best course of action to help them get out of a financial rut. People consulting with an attorney should be wary of an attorney who does not go through other debt-relief options with them. Good bankruptcy lawyers will be able to advise an individual why bankruptcy is the best option for them and why other options may not be best suited for their situation.
Find Someone Who Will Not Overcharge for Their Services
Individuals who are considering filing for bankruptcy are typically concerned about the cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney, as they should be. Most people are surprised to hear that bankruptcy lawyers are not free. Many bankruptcy attorneys base their fees on the complexity of the case, location, and expertise.
Although the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer should remain a top priority, going with the cheapest attorney is not always the best route. Individuals should avoid filing their bankruptcy with bankruptcy mills that pump out thousands of cases. Many of these mills have paralegals working on their cases and minimum oversight. When complications arise these bankruptcy mill firms can put an individual in an even worse position than they were in before.
To avoid hiring a bankruptcy mill, individuals should ensure they meet with their lawyer before going to court and should have their lawyer with them at their court hearing. Individuals who have never met or spoken to their attorney should be skeptical of the law firm.
Additionally, individuals should not go with the most expensive firm either. Individuals should not assume that because the lawyer is the most expensive in town, they are the best. Many bankruptcy jurisdictions cap fees so individuals may be able to hire a lawyer who is just as good for an even lesser price.
Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer can seem like an overwhelming process. Individuals need to take time to research someone they feel possesses all the qualities they are looking for. Individuals considering bankruptcy should remember that when it comes to finding a bankruptcy lawyer, the ball is in their court. If they do not feel comfortable, they should find someone else. After an individual finds someone they feel meets their individual needs they will be able to move forward with their bankruptcy filing.