Are you considering filing for bankruptcy, but you’re not sure whether or not you need a bankruptcy attorney? While it might seem tempting to cut some costs and go through the bankruptcy proceedings on your own, it’s important to understand all of the tasks a lawyer can do for you – from the first time you meet through the conclusion of your bankruptcy.
Review Your Finances
Before you begin the bankruptcy process, an attorney will help you determine if filing for bankruptcy is the best option for your situation. They will review your finances and examine your debt and present you with options for getting out of your financial hole. If a lot of your debt comes from student loans or back taxes that can’t be discharged through bankruptcy, then your bankruptcy attorney will present you with the facts and ensure you understand how – and if – filing for bankruptcy will help. If your attorney sees that most of your debt is from credit cards, then your lawyer will be able to explain how bankruptcy can discharge those debts.
Recommend What Type of Bankruptcy
If you and your bankruptcy attorney determine that filing for bankruptcy is beneficial to your financial situation, then he or she will help you decide what type of bankruptcy to file for. In most cases, individuals will file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
There are key differences between the two that your bankruptcy attorney will explain and ensure you are aware of. Under Chapter 7, you may need to liquidate some assets to pay off your debts. You will also need to prove you cannot afford to repay your debts to file for Chapter 7. With Chapter 13, instead of liquidating assets, you will establish a repayment plan to make payments towards your debt over 3 to 5 years. This type of bankruptcy is for those who can prove they have the financial means to make monthly payments.
There are pros and cons to both types of bankruptcies, so it’s crucial to work with your attorney to ensure you understand the ins and outs of the process and are making the best financial decision for you.
Help Protect Your Assets
If you decide to apply for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your bankruptcy attorney can help you protect key assets from liquidation by marking them exempt. Typically, you can put items on your exempt list that are essential to your daily life and your job.
Establish a Repayment Plan
If you opt for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then your bankruptcy attorney will help you create a repayment plan to present to the court. Your attorney will review your finances and your monthly obligations and determine how much disposable income you have before proposing the amount you will submit to the court each month.
Explain Other Impacts of Bankruptcy
In addition to helping you get through the bankruptcy process, an attorney can also help you understand the additional impacts of bankruptcy. This can include the effects on your credit score and how personal loans will be impacted or if your spouse’s borrowing abilities will be affected, and more.
Prepare and File Paperwork
Bankruptcy requires a lot of paperwork and forms that need to be completed in a certain way, and by specific dates. Your bankruptcy attorney will ensure these forms are filled out accurately, and that you are submitting the right documents (including financial statements, tax forms, lists of assets, and more) by the deadlines. Missing due dates can delay your case, or even cause it to be dismissed.
Represent You at Hearings
Your bankruptcy attorney will represent you at hearings throughout the bankruptcy process. One of the first hearings you will attend is the Meeting of Creditors. You may also need to attend hearings directly related to your Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 filing, in addition to any other hearings called by the court or your creditors.
Answer Your Questions
The bankruptcy process can be long and complicated. Your bankruptcy attorney will be available to answer any questions that come up along the way, and ensure you are comfortable with the plan and know what to expect.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney
Do you need an Oklahoma City bankruptcy attorney to help you throughout your bankruptcy process? It’s crucial to hire an experienced attorney to help you determine what you can and cannot do and answer all of your questions so you know what to expect. Don’t let debt ruin your life. Call (405) 529-9377 for a free case review.