When it comes to finding the right bankruptcy attorney to handle your needs, it pays to do some research. Don’t just pick a name out of the phone book, or choose the attorney with the lowest fee.
Filing for bankruptcy is an emotionally and financially draining process. Choosing the right attorney can help guide you through the complex procedure, while keeping your stress to a reasonable level.
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious step, requiring excellent advice and the right representation. Here’s how to find, and then choose, the best bankruptcy attorney for you.
Look for an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney if you Have the Funds
Years of practice is not always the best indication of this. Ask how many bankruptcy cases the attorney has handled and what types. If a lawyer has handled tons of Chapter 7 cases, but not many Chapter 13s, the lawyer may not have enough experience.
On the other hand, if the lawyer only handles Chapter 13 bankruptcies, that might be a red flag. You don’t want to be represented by someone who pushes clients in the direction of Chapter 13 when a Chapter 7 might be better option but just a little more difficult to file.
All exaggerations aside, bankruptcy is one of the most complicated areas of law. There are dozens of federal and state laws to deal with and stacks of forms to fill out and file with the court. If it’s not done properly, your case could be thrown out of court, or you could lose some belongings that you should have been able to keep.
Save Time and Money by using Bankruptcy Software
We recommend that you don’t purchase a bankruptcy software program until you have downloaded the demo and tried it out several of them, to see which one you like. Save your valuable time.
Bankruptcy Software Guides you Through the Tedious Process of Completing Bankruptcy Paperwork
Bankruptcy practice promises a lot of clients but its complexity can make it intimidating for lawyers who don’t plan to specialize. Bankruptcy software is designed to fill that gap.
When it comes to software, at minimum you need a program that will streamline the process and prepare a bankruptcy petition. But given the options on the market there are many other things to consider before purchasing.
Some of the Top Most Trusted Bankruptcy Softwares
- Best Case
Best Case Bankruptcy is a streamlines petition preparation and the electronic filing process for Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15 by utilizing wizards, calculators and workflow tools to make filing simple.
EZ-Filing Bankruptcy Software saves you time and money by integrating access to CIN Legal Data Services due diligence products directly into the bankruptcy software. EZ-Filing makes bankruptcy easy.
- New Hope’s Bankruptcy
There are several different options out there to help you when faced with financial distress. Neil Thompson is a leading New Hope bankruptcy lawyer with years of experience. He can help you understand your options and offers confidentiality and compassion during this difficult time.
How to Determine the Right Bankruptcy Software
Consider how many people in your office will use the software and how they’ll use it. Some licenses require an attorney to file the petition; others allow paralegals or virtual assistants to e-file under the attorney’s license. Pricing is also different depending on how many people will use the software. Take that into consideration before making a decision.
Another aspect to consider is post-filing forms, like motions to convert. Do you like the pre-designed forms that come with the package? Does it have the functions that you want? Most software offers a free demo so make sure you see how the post-filing works, not just the petition itself.
Filling for Bankruptcy by Your Self Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
While there are several forms of bankruptcy, most individuals filing personal bankruptcy will choose either chapter 7 or chapter 13. In chapter 7 bankruptcies, which are the most common type, non-exempt assets are sold to pay off creditors, and remaining debt is discharged.
This excludes non-dischargeable debt such as child support and student loans. While chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for those with little income and assets, chapter 13 is a better choice for those with higher income or more significant assets.
In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, instead of immediately discharging debt, you’ll have a 3-to-5-year plan to pay off creditors, at the end of which most of your remaining unsecured debt will be discharged. A bankruptcy attorney will help you decide which chapter would be most beneficial in your situation.
Filling for Bankruptcy Chapter 9
The purpose of chapter 9 is to provide a financially-distressed municipality protection from its creditors while it develops and negotiates a plan for adjusting its debts. Reorganization of the debts of a municipality is typically accomplished either by extending debt maturities, reducing the amount of principal or interest, or refinancing the debt by obtaining a new loan.
Similar to other chapters, chapter 9 is significantly different in that there is no provision in the law for liquidation of the assets of the municipality and distribution of the proceeds to creditors.
Such a liquidation or dissolution would undoubtedly violate the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution and the reservation to the states of sovereignty over their internal affairs. Indeed, due to the severe limitations placed upon the power of the bankruptcy court in chapter 9 cases (required by the Tenth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decisions in cases upholding municipal bankruptcy legislation), the bankruptcy court generally is not as active in managing a municipal bankruptcy case as it is in corporate reorganizations under chapter 11.
The functions of the bankruptcy court in chapter 9 cases are generally limited to approving the petition (if the debtor is eligible), confirming a plan of debt adjustment, and ensuring implementation of the plan.
As a practical matter, however, the municipality may consent to have the court exercise jurisdiction in many of the traditional areas of court oversight in bankruptcy, in order to obtain the protection of court orders and eliminate the need for multiple forums to decide issues.