Financial trouble is nothing to be ashamed of, nor something you should dread. Why? Because you have bankruptcy at your disposal, one of the most powerful and potent tools available in the law. Your best bet is to hire an experienced Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in San Diego, CA and kickstart your way to financial freedom. However, do you know what questions you should ask during your initial consultation?
What should I ask my bankruptcy lawyer before hiring them?
Don’t be afraid to ask all of the questions you have during your bankruptcy consultation. In fact, this is one of the best ways to see if your lawyer is the right choice for you. The “right” attorney will provide you with honest and pleasant answers, allowing you to build confidence in your bankruptcy attorney. However, you do not want to work with someone who is intentionally vague, disinterested, and downright unprofessional. In either case, the attorney’s professionalism, or lack thereof, also speaks volumes of their character. Anyways, here are some important questions to ask. But you should feel to add to the crossfire with questions of your own:
Which chapter bankruptcy should I file?
Make sure your attorney knows bankruptcy law. He or she should be the one to help you choose the right form of bankruptcy to file based on your unique circumstances and the specific requirements and needs. For example, to qualify for Chapter 7 your income must pass through an income & expense “means test” before you can wipe out your debt. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically the “fresh start” bankruptcy affording the most relief. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also the fastest option for those looking for immediate financial relief and a complete wipeout of their debt.
On the other hand, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be best for you because it allows individuals with a steady source of income to consolidate debts into affordable monthly installments. This is especially helpful if you are paying for a home and car but have fallen behind and risk losing those items to foreclosure or repossession. If you do fall behind on your house or car payments, a chapter 13 allows you to keep the property and get caught up and pay over a 3-5 year period of time. However, Chapter 13 cases can be complex. Even with all this information at your disposal it’s best to rely on your attorney to assess your situation and provide advice on which chapter to file which will maximize your bankruptcy benefits.
How much of your practice do you dedicate to bankruptcy?
You want a “bankruptcy”. . . . . right? You always, and we truly mean always, need to hire an attorney who has the experience, expertise and training to handle all the issues which may arise in your bankruptcy case. Bankruptcy is an especially dense field of law. When it comes to filing bankruptcy, you don’t want a one-stop shop lawyer who files 1 case per year. Or does not have the experience if there is a challenge or complication to your bankruptcy case. No! You want a stone-cold and dependable expert who is capable of handling every single step of your process with confidence and expertise, not just a lawyer who dabbles in bankruptcy.
How will we communicate?
It’s important to choose a means of communication that works for you. Throughout the course of your bankruptcy case you will need to talk with your lawyer, provide important copies and originals of documents and eventually sign and submit the documents to be filed in Court. Lots and lots of communications so it is important that you can talk with your lawyer.
If you like emails, let your attorney know that. If you prefer text messages about your bankruptcy case, let them know that as well. The majority of bankruptcy lawyers communicate via email, but there are also those professionals who prefer phone communication or texts.
Emails are OK when you’re just going over technicalities, and to submit documents. However, you do need to reserve the possibility of in-person meetings and phone communication either in times of great personal stress stemming from your situation or when you need immediate advice and assistance. Choose a lawyer who is available and accommodates your needs for communication. Remember, this is your case and you should not settle for anything less than what you expect.
What are your fees?
You get what you pay for? First, you need to know that attorney fees vary drastically. Second, also know that it’s always better to pay extra for a more knowledgeable and experienced lawyer with lots of bankruptcy experience. With this expertise, they will fill out your bankruptcy petition accurately and provide the correct documentation to prove-up your case. The fees [paid in a Bankruptcy will save some money and ensure you get the best possible representation for your case and wipe out as much debt as possible.
That being said, you need to know what the fees are and what kind of assistance they include. There are three parts to the fees in Bankruptcy. The attorney fees, the filing fees and other potential fees. A good bankruptcy lawyer will allow you to pay these fees and costs over time prior to your case being filed. Additionally, the fees are typically a fraction of the total amount of debt you are wiping out so the balance is always in your favor.
Ask about the total fees and a convenient payment plan. In this way the bankruptcy is affordable to you and you can get your case filed in a reasonable amount of time. whether paying for your attorney will secure all the assistance you require, such as dealing with your creditors, filing all the documentation in your stead, and handling every other aspect of your claim. If it doesn’t, keep looking.
Will you implement a written agreement?
Finally, only work with attorneys who require a written agreement. Never rely on lawyers who swear by oral agreements and the gravity of their word. This protects both yourself and your attorney and it should consist of the services they offer and the fees you need to pay.
Who can help me file Chapter 13 bankruptcy in San Diego, CA?
The point is to only work with an attorney who can provide the answers to all your questions in a patient and pleasant manner. Otherwise, keep looking. This is one of the best ways to ensure you’re hiring a good bankruptcy lawyer and potentially spot several red flags that point to the fact you might be talking to the wrong person. Remember, your bankruptcy claim is only as strong as the professional representing you in court.
Good news is that you won’t have to look for a reputable lawyer too far because you can always count on Bankruptcy Law Offices of Mark L. Miller. We offer a full range of legal services regarding your bankruptcy claim and we’re always willing to answer any questions you might have. Our team of attorneys will deal with your creditors, assemble the required documentation, and be there for you through it all. Find our offices in Old Town, San Diego.