The bankruptcy process can provide some much-needed relief from staggering financial pressure. Sometimes, for any number of reasons, we find ourselves struggling with things like making minimum payments on our outstanding debt obligations. When this happens, bankruptcy might be the key to a brighter financial future. Bankruptcy, however, can be a complex and delicate process that you may want to seek out legal assistance for help navigating. When talking to your bankruptcy, there are certain questions you should be sure to ask. Not only should talking with your attorney about these things make you more comfortable with your legal representation, but it should also offer insight into the bankruptcy process itself and what you can expect from it.
What Should I Ask My Bankruptcy Attorney?
A discussion with your bankruptcy attorney, or a prospective one, should include him or her weighing the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy in the first place. While there can be many advantages of filing bankruptcy, it is not without its downsides and it may not be right for everyone. Talk to your attorney and he or she should be able to paint you a realistic picture of what you stand to gain and what you stand to potentially lose in bankruptcy.
You should also ask your attorney about which type of bankruptcy you should file. For individuals, there are two basic bankruptcy types: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In Chapter 7, a trustee takes custody of any non-exempt property and may sell it off to satisfy creditors. In exchange for this, your qualifying debts will be discharged with a few exceptions such as back taxes as well as child support. In Chapter 13, you will not have to give up assets, but will instead be entered into a three to five-year payment plan to repay your debts in full or in part.
Check with your attorney about the fees associated with your bankruptcy filing. This includes court filing fees and any administrative fees you will need to pay. It will also include what the attorney charges to handle the case. It is not uncommon for certain complications to arise in any legal proceeding and bankruptcy is no exception. Your attorney should be able to discuss these possible complications and how his or her fees will reflect them.
A particularly important question to ask your attorney if you are filing Chapter 7 is whether you have any non-exempt assets and what options you may have to save certain assets from being sold off by the trustee to satisfy your outstanding debt obligations. Your attorney should be familiar with which assets of yours can enjoy exemption protection, which means you can shield them from being taken in bankruptcy. For those assets that are non-exempt and, therefore, fair game to be taken in bankruptcy proceedings, your attorney should be able to advise you on what your options are for potentially keeping these assets. For instance, you may be able to make an offer to the Chapter 7 trustee in order to retain certain assets.
While your attorney should be upfront with you about the information needed to get your case started, you should make sure to ask about this as well. Proceedings will move along more smoothly if you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities regarding providing your attorney with all the necessary information.
Miami Valley Bankruptcy Attorneys
We know that you may have many questions about bankruptcy. At Miami Valley Bankruptcy, we have the answers you are looking for. Contact us today.