Each year thousands of people file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, which can be a rather confusing process. At the moment, if you are in a similar situation, then your first job is to find a good bankruptcy lawyer near you who offers the right counseling and direction. Unfortunately, numerous individuals have to bear the brunt of inferior legal services as bankruptcy filings are considered as a volume business by firms. Therefore, before you settle on an attorney, you should scrutinize their services well in advance.
Following are some factors that you should pay attention to for hiring the best bankruptcy lawyer near you.
Expertise and experience
For a favorable outcome, it is essential for your lawyer to have a profound knowledge of the bankruptcy code as well as relevant experience in handling cases of such nature. A missed deadline or misfiled paperwork could easily damage your case. Hence, it is imperative that you hire a person who exclusively practices this discipline of the law. Choosing an attorney who has limited or zero experience in bankruptcy can inflict serious damage to your financial health in the long run.
When you are browsing for lawyers, inquire about their educational background and specialization. Ideally, a person handling bankruptcy cases should possess a bankruptcy certification from the American Board of Certification. Association with NACBA (National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys) is also a good sign, indicating that the person has a proven expertise of the bankruptcy code.
As a client dealing with bankruptcy it is crucial for you to have a lawyer that is not just experienced and intelligent but also approachable. If the quality of your communication is poor, then it could cause grave repercussions to the case. It is natural if your attorney criticizes some of your past actions or gives you hard advice, although they still have to be amicable enough for you to have open and honest discussions. In your first meeting, if you sense that your prospective lawyer is indifferent and can’t offer special attention to your case, then you should seek other options. Similarly, ensure that you steer clear of law firms that handle an unacceptably high number of bankruptcy cases all at once.
The fees charged will depend on the complexity of the case. Also, for filing Chapter 7, you are not expected to spend much money, whereas, a Chapter 13 filing will relatively cost more. To make sure it’s worth the investment, ask the lawyer about their pricing structure and the types of services covered. Moreover, your asset worth also decides the quality of services you need. For instance, if you only have a few assets, clearly there isn’t much to lose, therefore a decent bankruptcy lawyer will work. Conversely, if you’re gotten assets such as real estate in the mess or are involved in a problematic legal spat, then look for the best bankruptcy lawyers near you, even if they charge expensive fees.
If you’re wondering, “How can I find the best bankruptcy lawyers near me?” Then don’t fret. Here’s what you can do.
- Contact the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys or American Bar Association that lists down the best bankruptcy lawyers near you.
- Check the online directories that can help you boil down to the best bankruptcy lawyers.
- Ask your family, friends or colleagues for reliable references for best bankruptcy lawyers near you.
Expenses involved in filing for bankruptcy
It’s obvious that you must be contemplating about the fees that you have to manage, assuming that you have been dealing with monetary concerns for quite a while and might not have much left to spare. So, you need to be acquainted with the types of costs involved before filing a bankruptcy case. At the moment, your bankruptcy case will demand three separate expenses.
- Payment for court filing
Currently one requires approximately $340 for filing Chapter 7 and $310 for Chapter 13.
- Fee for credit counseling
Usually, your attorney will provide with names of independent organizations that offer the pre-filing credit counseling sessions and post-filing monetary management course. They can charge anywhere between $25 and $50.
- Fee for lawyer’s services
As mentioned before, it is tough to estimate your lawyer’s compensation. The fee is determined using various parameters such as qualifications, experience, reputation, and services. Usually, for a Chapter 7 case, the attorneys can charge a flat fee anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. On the other hand, for filing a Chapter 13 case, your lawyer might have to be paid around $3,500. However, these fees are subject to change depending on how difficult the case is.