7 Important Questions To Ask Before You Hire Your Bankruptcy Attorney

It’s no secret that the cost of living in New York is extremely expensive. So if you’re struggling to manage your debt, you likely feel overwhelmed.

There’s a lot to worry about. Interest and penalties on your debt keep growing, and there seems to be no way to fight back the tide; you may be behind on your mortgage, and facing the possibility of foreclosure.

If you haven’t been able to keep up with your car payments, you may have to worry about the lender repossessing the car, which you may need to get to work.

Your employer may have received a garnishee order, or a creditor may have made a levy against your bank account. You know you need help.

Bankruptcy may be the right solution, and that means finding a bankruptcy attorney in New York that you can trust. But before you decide to work with a local bankruptcy lawyer, you want to make sure that they’re a good fit for your needs. Here are some questions you need to ask a bankruptcy lawyer before you agree to have them help you with your bankruptcy.

Will Filing for Bankruptcy Remove All of My Debt?

You have had enough with trying to manage your debt and you’re ready to start over. You want a clean slate. But depending on the nature of your debt, you may or may not be able to resolve all of it by filing bankruptcy. For example, most federally-guaranteed student loan debt will not go away after bankruptcy. Other debts that are the result of court orders, like alimony payments or child support, will remain after filing bankruptcy. If you owe money to the IRS, you can’t get around it with bankruptcy. Ask your bankruptcy lawyer up front how much of your debt will remain after bankruptcy so that you have a realistic expectation of the kind of results you will get.

Which Bankruptcy Chapter Should I File?

We’ve all heard of Chapter 13, but what does it actually mean? The two main chapters for filing bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, are very different. Chapter 7 is also known as liquidation bankruptcy. If you make little or no money, you can use Chapter 7 to sell your nonexempt assets and remove your debts.

If you make enough money, you can’t use Chapter 7. Instead, you’ll need to file under Chapter 13. Chapter 13 is known as a reorganization bankruptcy. The court will set up a payment plan that will allow you to catch up on your overdue payments, and if you meet your payments you can keep all of your assets. To figure out which one is right for you, ask your attorney. This way you will have an idea what kind of result you might get.

Will the Attorney Accompany Me to the Meeting of Creditor

Once you file bankruptcy, you will need to attend a meeting called the 341 Meeting of Creditors. This is a meeting where you will have to prove that you are who say you are and provide documents that prove the details of your financial situation. These will include tax documents and payroll documents. Your creditors can also attend. Find out if your lawyer will go with you to the 341 meeting of creditors. This meeting may be quick and painless if you have a straightforward case, but if not, you may need your attorney’s advice.

Note : I attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors with each of my clients. On this important day, you need the support and guidance of an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney. Call today for an evaluation of your case.

If I File for Bankruptcy, Will I Lose Money?

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may lose all of your nonexempt assets. This means using assets like cash to pay down your debts. Talk to your bankruptcy attorney about whether or not you will need to liquidate any assets in order to proceed with bankruptcy.

How Much Does the Attorney Charge?

You want your attorney’s help to get out of debt. That means you need to make sure you’re not putting yourself further behind the ball just by incurring significant legal fees. Talk to your attorney about how much they charge for a bankruptcy case like yours.

Will the Attorney Create a Monthly Payment Plan?

If you are facing bankruptcy, you may not have a lot of money to spare for attorney’s fees. If your lawyer can create a monthly plan, it may help you to afford their services. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may want to think about how your attorney’s fees will add up with your possible monthly debt payments.

What Do Your Fees Include?

Because bankruptcy can be a complex process, you want to make sure that the fee that your lawyer quotes you includes all of the services that you are likely to need in the course of your bankruptcy. Find out if there are any filings or court appearances that aren’t included in the fee. This way, you have an accurate sense of how much legal representation will cost you.

Find A Bankruptcy Attorney In New York

I have over 30 years of experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in the state of New York. While my office is based in the Bronx, I serve clients throughout New York. If you need a fresh start, call today for a free case evaluation. I’ve helped thousands of families through their bankruptcy, and have provided education on credit health that they’ve gone on to use successfully for years. I can put this same experience to work for you. Call today for a fresh start with a New York Bankruptcy Attorney you can trust.

Thomas M. Denaro
About the Author: Thomas Denaro
Thomas M. Denaro is an experienced bankruptcy attorney serving the Bronx and surrounding areas. He represents Bronx families in bankruptcy court, and has handled thousands of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases from beginning to end.