If you are considering bankruptcy in order to find debt relief, you are not alone. In 2012 bankruptcies from unpaid medical bills alone impacted 2 million people. There are many reasons why people file for bankruptcy, but the common theme is always debt that is too steep to be paid. Filing for bankruptcy can be the first step towards getting yourself in better financial footing, and it is a step that is never made lightly. If you are considering it, finding a bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate the system, and get you the most favorable outcome. Here are a few tips for finding a bankruptcy law firm that will work best for you.
Look for Professionalism and Good Quality
Look for bankruptcy lawyers who are members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. This means they take their specialization seriously, and are committed to staying up to date with the laws, and providing the best representation possible. When you find bankruptcy lawyers in your area who are members, go one step further and check your state bar’s website to see all the certifications, specializations, and disciplinary actions the lawyer has received. In order to become certified they have to have been practicing for a set number of years, spent at least half of their time working on bankruptcy cases, and passed a specialized examination.
After you have a few selected, be sure to visit their websites where they should list additional information about the bankruptcy process that you may find helpful. They should also have forms provided that you can fill out to help determine if you qualify for bankruptcy.
Meet With A Few Choices
Once you’ve covered your bases, and done some homework on the bankruptcy attorneys you would like to speak with, schedule an in person meeting. Most bankruptcy lawyers will offer free consultations, meaning you won’t have to worry about cost if you speak to multiple candidates. This cannot only allow you to get their opinion on your case, but it can help you gauge your level of comfort with them. If you feel like you can’t be open, or that your concerns aren’t being heard, you’ll know to move on to the next.
You can bring the filled out forms with you to the meeting, as well as a check list of any questions you may have, so that you ensure you get all relevant information.
Qualities To Look For
While a personality you can get along with, and a prevailing sense of professionalism are important, here are a few qualities you should be on the lookout for:
- The Discuss Resolutions Are you better off seeking a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or a Chapter 13? Which option is best suited to resolve your financial problems. Chapter 7 is the cancellation of all incurred debts, while 13 is more of a court supervised payment plan. A good bankruptcy attorney should seriously discuss your options, and what resolutions is best for you.
- They Understand and Listen To You If you have concerns, questions, or opinions on the process, you want to make sure the attorney hears you, and understands the stressful situation you are in. You want someone who can understand why you are in the situation you are now, and honestly want to work to absolve your worries.
- Fees As with any legal service, there will of course be fees. The costs can vary, and it is important to get an estimate before you agree to anything. You don’t want to jump into bankruptcy only to end up with a $2,000 bill in the end anyway. You want to avoid the lowest and cheapest options, and law firms that advertise ‘quick’ resolutions. Their purpose is to get you in and out, without truly getting the resolution you need. However, you shouldn’t jump into the most expensive option either. A happy medium will more than likely get you the same results as a ‘high end’ lawyer, without the really expensive bill.