Filing for bankruptcy is a big step that requires significant planning and many elements to consider. Rather than attempt to navigate the complexities of bankruptcy alone, it is strongly recommended to hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney who can place you on the right track at the outset.
With the numerous attorneys available in your area, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Fortunately, most will offer free consultations, allowing you to make an informed decision on who should be entrusted with your case. The following are 10 questions to ask your bankruptcy attorney before you hire them:
1. Should I file for bankruptcy?
The attorney should be able to explain Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy options, and recommend solutions for your individual situation by outlining solid pros and cons of each option.
2. What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?
They should provide you with a clear and concise response, differentiating between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 for each benefit.
3. What are the negative effects of filing for bankruptcy?
They should provide a detailed comparison of the repercussions of filing for bankruptcy as opposed to taking a different course of action.
4. How much of your practice is devoted to bankruptcy cases?
The most qualified bankruptcy attorney will focus at least 50% of their practice on bankruptcy law and have at least 3 years of relevant experience.
5. What information is needed to get started?
They should provide a detailed list of the information required for your case, as the more paperwork is available, the more likely your case is of being successful.
6. What is the best way to contact you?
You and your attorney should establish common ground on the type of communication you are most comfortable with and the attorney’s response rates.
7. Who will accompany me to court?
Going to court is one of the most critical elements of a bankruptcy case, and hence you need to ensure that your attorney is able to accompany you for guidance and strong representation.
8. How much is the attorney’s fee?
Attorney fees vary from state to state, and Chapter 13 is more costly than Chapter 7 (approximately $3,500 vs. $1,200). The attorney should provide an exact number at your consultation.
9. Do you use a written fee agreement?
The answer to this question should be yes, as you must always have a written and signed agreement with your attorney outlining the fees and corresponding services to be performed.
10. What is included in the attorney’s fee?
This should include all costs from filing the bankruptcy petition to closing your case, including any potential surprise costs. The attorney should also have affordable payment plans.
Contact Sheppard Law Offices
When you seek a qualified bankruptcy attorney, we welcome you to contact Sheppard Law Offices for a free initial consultation today. Attorney Kenneth L. Sheppard, Jr. will be happy to answer the above questions and more to help you make the right choice on your path towards restoring your financial freedom!