If you see no way out of your financial troubles, it may be time to hire a bankruptcy attorney. We can show you how.
The attorney search process isn’t difficult to define: You get the name of one or more bankruptcy lawyers, interview them and select the best one. Let’s look at each step more closely.
Finding Bankruptcy Lawyers
Seek out personal recommendations from trustworthy sources. Ask your friends, relatives and acquaintances if any of them have ever hired a bankruptcy attorney. If they have, you’ll want to know what they thought of their lawyer. Ask them:
- Did your lawyer seem knowledgeable?
- Did your lawyer explain the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies?
- Were you able to get the relief you were seeking?
- Could you recommend your bankruptcy lawyer?
Interviewing Bankruptcy Lawyers
Next, set up appointments to meet the bankruptcy lawyers on your list. Most bankruptcy lawyers will take the time to introduce themselves and answer your questions in a brief meeting called an initial consultation. There may be a nominal fee for this meeting, but it will be worth the time and effort to make sure you find the right bankruptcy lawyer for you.
To prepare for your meetings, gather some documents that will help paint your financial picture. Include:
- A list of present and past debts
- A list of the property you own and how much money you have in bank accounts, stocks and other financial accounts, such as retirement accounts and mutual funds
- A copy of the deed to your house, if you own one
- Proof of your income, using tax returns and paycheck stubs
- Any recent communication you might have from collectors
Also take some time to think about the questions you want to ask. Jot them down on paper, and bring them to your initial consultations. Make sure you have writing material, so you can record the answers.
Selecting a Bankruptcy Lawyer
After you have interviewed the bankruptcy attorneys on your list, it’s time to choose one. Compare each one, looking at their experience, their advice and their legal fees. Then consider which one seemed most trustworthy.
If you have several bankruptcy lawyers who rate similarly, call some former clients. Ask the kinds of questions listed above for friends who have hired bankruptcy lawyers in the past.
When you find the best bankruptcy lawyer for you, you are ready to put your financial troubles in your past.