Questions To Ask Your Bankruptcy Lawyer

April 5, 2012 by  Filed under: Bankruptcy 

Filing for bankruptcy can be an overwhelming process for some people. While it isn’t intended to be difficult, the stress of dealing with creditors and debt collections can send anyone over the edge. Although some people are successful in navigating the process alone, hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is strongly recommended. Having representation on your side can ease the burden of dealing with creditors and maximize your chances of a successful case.

Knowing What To Ask

Preparing for bankruptcy is extremely important and making sure to ask your lawyer the right questions before you file is invaluable. First, ask your lawyer: Do I qualify for bankruptcy and, if so, for which type of bankruptcy? The differences between a Chapter 7 and 13 filing are important to the overall success of your case and financial future. If you are filing for Chapter 7, be sure to find out if you meet qualification standards beforehand. In the event you do not qualify, you may find it more suitable to file for Chapter 13.

Next, ask your lawyer: Are my finances in order? While this may sound like an odd question, changes to your financial history prior to filing can complicate the process. If you accumulate more debt, pay down debts or have an increase in income prior to filing, you may be disqualified from filing. The general rule of thumb is to avoid taking on new debts, paying off debts, acquiring more income or inheritance or moving around assets within the 180 days prior to filing. Any one of these actions could be viewed as suspicious to the court and even lead to your case being dismissed.

You may also want to ask: What will happen to my assets? It is important to determine if any of your assets may be at risk for liquidation in bankruptcy, especially if you are filing for Chapter 7. Bankruptcy exemption laws protect some of your assets from creditors, but you need to find out which ones may not meet these exemptions. Further, it is important to know whether filing for Chapter 7 or 13 is better if you are working to stay out of foreclosure or repossession.

Finally, ask: What will my credit be like after the discharge? While filing for bankruptcy doesn’t directly damage your credit, there are some credit issues to be addressed after your debts are discharged. It is important to find out what is expected of you in terms of rebuilding your credit after your case is closed. You will want to monitor your credit for changes and make sure that they debt resolution is reflected on your credit report. You may have to dispute information and request an account update to be sure your credit report is accurate. It is also important that you develop a post-bankruptcy credit plan that includes securing one to two small lines of credit to begin establishing a positive credit history.

Ryan understands that financial hardships can affect honest, hard-working people. His area of expertise is bankruptcy law and aims to provide all his clients with the fresh start they are looking for. His business philosophy is guided by one thing, helping people get back on track. As a Austin bankruptcy attorney his practice has given him the opportunity to directly impact the lives of many people.

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