If you are experiencing financial distress and are unsure of your options, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide critical advice and assistance. Filing for bankruptcy allows you to make a plan to repay your debts or discard them altogether. You may be able to start over by liquidating your assets and repaying your debts, or you may need to get help for your financially protected business. These are four reasons why hiring a lawyer helps in deciding the best course of action to tackle your debt.
1. Help With Complex Laws and Filing Options
The laws surrounding the insolvency process are complex and varied and can be difficult to navigate without a legal professional to guide you. The filing process alone can be very complicated, and making the right choice on how to file could have a permanent impact on the rest of your life. When it comes to individual filing options, Chapter 7 is faster but has a cutoff on income, while Chapter 13 typically involves a 5-year payment plan. Choosing between the two can be confusing; for example, if you attempt to file for Chapter 7 as an individual, but your income is above the annual limit, you will need to take a test that relies on your expenses and income. This test can be difficult if you don’t have legal advice because it isn’t based on your current income or your actual expenses. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you make the right decisions and will counsel you on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 would be better for your particular situation.
2. Familiarity With Paperwork and Trustees
While technically you are allowed to file your own papers, most people who aren’t familiar with the process don’t know how to fill out the paperwork correctly and provide the required information. If you file without any legal help, and the trustee assigned to your case follows up by requesting additional information in order to confirm the claims you made in your documents, a bankruptcy attorney can be a valuable resource who knows exactly what information the court needs. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to provide incorrect paperwork and not know how to fix your errors.
3. Help With a Formal Court Hearing
Depending on which way you decide to file, you may be required to go to court and present your case before a trustee on multiple occasions. It is important to consider if you would be able to represent yourself or if you need a lawyer to handle proper courtroom procedures and etiquette. Experienced legal counsel would guide you through the process and handle the formal courtroom procedures with ease.
4. Assistance With Creditors
Creditors are required to stop calling and harassing you once you’ve hired a bankruptcy attorney. If they fail to halt the harassing calls after you’ve hired a lawyer, they will be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was created to eliminate abusive practices used in the collection of debts. Thus, hiring an attorney will ensure that you endure less harassment during your bankruptcy proceedings.
Facing your debts can be overwhelming, but with the help of an experienced lawyer, you should be able to resolve your issues quickly and efficiently.