Understanding Bankruptcy: When is the Right Time to Hire a Lawyer?

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A lawyer is a valuable resource in any legal matter. Whether you need help negotiating a contract, filing a lawsuit or understanding your rights, finding the right lawyer is important.

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding designed to free individuals and businesses from debts they cannot afford to repay. However, it is only for some.

You Have a Lot of Debt

If you have a significant amount of debt, consider bankruptcy. However, it is important to understand that bankruptcy can have long-term credit consequences and may not erase all debts.

An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine which debts will be discharged by the court and which will not. A good bankruptcy attorney can help you value your assets and use exemption rules to limit purchases lost in bankruptcy.

Find an attorney from a law firm near me who will treat you with empathy and respect, no matter what the circumstances of your case are. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or look into attorney referral services. Once you have a list of qualified candidates, schedule meetings with each one, use these meetings as interviews and choose the lawyer whose style, personality and approach matches yours.

You Have a High-income

Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process that often requires the help of a lawyer. A good bankruptcy attorney can ensure you have the proper paperwork to receive the benefits of a fresh start.

It’s important to find a good bankruptcy attorney by doing your research. You can check online listings, ask friends for referrals, and look up attorneys in the NACBA directory. Many lawyers provide free consultations. This is a great way to interview potential candidates and see how they approach their cases.

If you meet with a bankruptcy attorney and they are dismissive of your questions or give you one-word answers, it’s best to move on to another candidate. You want an attorney who will treat you respectfully and make you feel comfortable during this stressful time.

You Have a Lot of Assets

Filing for bankruptcy allows individuals and companies to address debts they cannot afford without the possibility of losing assets like homes or cars. It also will enable creditors to recover some of their obligations by liquidating assets and creating repayment plans for those debts that are not dischargeable.

Different types of bankruptcy filings exist; a lawyer can help you determine the best situation. Some include Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which provides debt forgiveness, and Chapter 13, a wage earner’s plan that allows those with a steady income. In a bankruptcy, assets are divided amongst creditors, with Secured Creditors (like banks) getting paid first, Unsecured Creditors next and Stockholders last. Depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, some assets may be exempt from liquidation.

You Have a Good Credit Score

Many believe bankruptcy permanently ruins their credit, but this is untrue. Bankruptcy will negatively affect your score, but the impact varies by how much debt is discharged and the type of credit you obtain post-bankruptcy.

A good bankruptcy lawyer can guide you to the best way to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, including a budget that helps you manage your spending and a strategy for obtaining a secured credit card. These cards require a cash deposit and can help you prove your financial reliability to lenders. Your lawyer may also recommend working with a credit counseling agency that can teach you money management skills and create a debt repayment plan. This will make it easier to get loans in the future.

You Have a Family

Many people assume that those who file for bankruptcy are irresponsible with money. However, medical bills and other financial emergencies are a major reason for bankruptcy filings. Other causes include job loss, poor financial decisions and debt from divorce.

Filing for bankruptcy is a serious matter with significant long-term credit penalties. A ding on your credit report remains for 7-10 years and can make it difficult to get loans at reasonable rates in the future.

Bankruptcy lawyers can help you navigate the process. Trying to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer is a risky proposition. Federal and state bankruptcy laws are complicated. Judges and trustees are not permitted to offer legal advice. Shepherding a case through the courts requires great attention to detail.

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