If you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, it’s true – you aren’t in an enviable position. It’s certainly not fun, but it’s not the end of the world either. Hiring a good attorney is a must when you find yourself in such a situation, as they can make all the difference and lead you through the whole procedure while answering all your dilemmas.
Their services depend on their practice areas and each one of them has different prices. Yet, most of them are usually willing to offer a free initial consultation. Why not use such a great opportunity and make the most out of it by asking the right questions?
1. What are the positive and negative sides of the bankruptcy procedure?
First things first – you should hire an individual who’s capable of providing you with the big, realistic picture of the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy. A prospective lawyer should be able to give you detailed answers and it definitely shouldn’t be someone who focuses only on one side of your case.
An experienced lawyer always knows how to identify if you would still be responsible for paying any debts after filing for bankruptcy and inform you of the short-term and long-term implications of filing under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 for you. A true professional should be able to list all positive and negative consequences of either perspective and help you decide if it’s worth it.
2. Is filing for bankruptcy a good fit for me?
An experienced lawyer should be able to recommend a convenient plan of action to you, taking into consideration the particular situation you’re in. They need to explain clearly the whole procedure and determine what’s involved in each stage.
You should be interested in asking about the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 paths of procedures, as well as their implications. Here skilled attorneys will provide understandable, convincing and reasonable recommendations.
3. What does your fee cover and how much do you charge?
Generally speaking, the attorney fee should include the cost of filing your case in court. However, it can depend on your location and the experience of the person. You should know that paying less for fees doesn’t mean you’ll end up paying less overall and that you won’t lose some money on that way. If you decide to give a go to someone less experienced to save a few bucks, you risk a lot, and doing so, you can have your case delayed or rejected and end up owing more than you were in the beginning.
You should be extremely cautious with this part of the process – and the best way to do it is to keep records of how much you’ll need to pay in fees and how much in other expenses. Some other costs might include federal filing fees, as well as other additional expenses that may emerge in some cases. They should describe what exactly is covered by each type of fee and confirm if there’s an option for different payment arrangements if needed.
4. What information do you need for this procedure?
Professionals will always ask for specific information and documentation before they decide to go on with the process and work for you.
You should make sure that you provided everything that’s necessary for the court, while they should provide you with a detailed list of all things needed for completion of your business bankruptcy process. Having all documentation ready will minimize the chance of receiving dismissal and rejection in court.
5. Who will attend court with me?
Appearing in court is often the most stressful aspect of this process, which is why you want someone to guide you and advocate for you in such moments. That’s why hiring a professional is never a bad idea. An expert is always a better option to accompany you than a paralegal or associate – they’ll be familiar with your case and they’ll be able to represent your interests well enough.
Having this in mind, it should be one of the primary questions to ask, so do not make any decisions until you make sure if they plan to be there for you during court appearances. It’s also significant to find out what’ll happen in case they can’t make it to the court hearing and whether they have any back up plans for such situations.
6. How much experience do you have with handling business bankruptcy cases?
Many attorneys handle other types of cases and aren’t really specialized in this type of procedure. Since these laws are complex and often changeable, you should choose someone who knows the state and federal laws thoroughly and who learns more about them with each passing day. Yet, there are also people who can handle more than one type of case, such as Paul Silk Cooper, who resolves family and bankruptcy cases at the same time. The wider their knowledge is, the better.
However, what you should take care about most is the knowledge about this specific branch of law. It’s always recommendable to hire an individual who has been practicing this type of cases for a minimum of three years.
7. Will you use a written fee agreement?
Every prospective attorney should answer yes to this question – you should never rely on oral agreements. There needs to be a written fee agreement, as if you don’t make sure it exists. the financial consequences could be drastic.
The agreement should include the specific amounts you’ll be paying and the services that are covered by the sums you agreed to pay. Make sure you insist on a type-written agreement signed by your attorney.
8. How do you prefer to communicate?
Having a professional who’ll reduce all the stress in the times when your business collapses might save your nerves and make you much calmer. This requires effective communication – and to achieve this, it’s fundamental to point out the most suitable ways of communication for both of you. You should be straightforward and inform them in case you can’t receive phone calls at the specific time of the day and respect their time off.
Yet, it would be good to know that the person who’s advocating you can answer your queries anytime and be at your disposal as much as possible. Try to find the golden mean so you don’t miss any important part of the procedure or remain uninformed.