Questions To Ask Your Bankruptcy Attorney
Hopefully, if you’ve decided to file for bankruptcy, you have made the decision to go with a qualified bankruptcy attorney. But now comes the hard part: Selecting the right one. When you go to meet your bankruptcy attorney, they will certainly explain the bankruptcy process to you, but what about you? What questions will you ask your bankruptcy attorney?
Of course, you want to ask basic questions about your attorney’s experience. That much you probably knew. But what about experience specifically in these areas:
–Your chapter of bankruptcy – Your attorney may explain to you which chapter is best for you. How much experience does your attorney have in that specific chapter of bankruptcy? If your attorney does not have experience in the three main bankruptcy chapters—7, 13 and 11—is the attorney just suggesting you file a specific chapter because it’s best for you, or because it’s the only one they are familiar with?
–What chapter to file – This is a key question to ask. Your attorney may suggest what chapter for you to file. But why? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each chapter of bankruptcy? Your attorney should be able to explain why each kind of bankruptcy is right or not right for you.
–Does the attorney handle contested matters? – Rarely does a typical bankruptcy end up contested with adversarial proceedings. However, in the event that it happens, does your attorney represent you for those matters, and what is the cost? What is the chance that your case could be challenged by a creditor or by the trustee? And what will your attorney charge to help you if these kinds of issues arise in your case?
–What will happen to your car? Your rent? – We often ask about our debts, or about creditors in default. But what about creditors that aren’t in default? Or secured debts, like car loans or mortgages? What about any rental agreements?
–Will your attorney go with you to court or the 341 meeting of creditors? – Is your attorney just helping you file your paperwork, or are they going with you to the meeting of creditors? There are a lot of steps to bankruptcy. You may need to challenge creditors’ motions to lift an automatic stay, or you may need approval from a bankruptcy court for a reaffirmation agreement. Will your attorney be there to help you with that?
–Are there other options? – A good bankruptcy attorney will be upfront with you if bankruptcy is not right for you. They should explain all the other options that you may have to handle your debt, even if those options don’t involve bankruptcy. If bankruptcy is the best option for you, your attorney should explain why that is the case.