What are the duties of a bankruptcy attorney? How do they help those desiring bankruptcy? Do they have to be licensed by the state Bar Association? What type of experience do they have? As a client seeking a bankruptcy attorney, what are the questions you should ask?
A bankruptcy attorney normally specializes in a specific field of law known as “filing” bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney is typically a lawyer who specializes in only the filing process of bankruptcy, having very little knowledge about all the different types of bankruptcy, and other issues with lenders. Therefore, he or she must be able to demonstrate interpersonal skills, technical knowledge, good judgment, and understanding of the financial records that will be required. He or she must also have experience dealing with creditors and debt collectors, as well as having dealt with situations similar to yours.
A good bankruptcy attorney will assist you in deciding whether you can qualify for bankruptcy protection. They will then determine what types of bankruptcy protection will be best for your particular situation. They will review your financial records and draw up a plan or template for you to follow. This plan will outline how you propose to pay off your creditors in a timely manner, while still leaving you a reasonable amount of income for yourself so that you can avoid or delay any collection activity that may occur.
The federal bankruptcy code gives the debtor some protection from certain creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service. The debtor must provide documentation that he or she has made all possible payments to creditors in a timely fashion. Federal court will review this documentation and render its opinion on whether the debtor met the standards for chapter seven bankruptcy protection. If the debtor fails to meet the guidelines, he or she will be forced into federal court to answer the creditors’ claims.
After reviewing the debtor’s case, the bankruptcy attorney will provide the debtor with legal advice. In many instances, the attorney will supply their client free legal advice and then require payment. It is important that you understand what these costs may be before you commence representation with an attorney. If you are unable to afford legal advice on your own, it may be in your best interest to seek out other sources of legal advice, such as family or friends. While representation by an attorney is not required, many individuals find that it is very helpful and necessary.
Once the bankruptcy attorney has provided the necessary legal advice, they will assess the debts of the debtor. In many instances, they will consult a credit counselor to help them determine which debts can be included in a chapter seven bankruptcy petition. Debts include medical bills, student loans, tax debt, utility bills, and a variety of credit card accounts. In many cases, the debtor will receive one lump sum payment to eliminate all of these creditors’ debts, including those of the individual filing bankruptcy. In some instances, the creditors will be provided smaller payments over a period of time until the full amount is repaid.
Once all debts have been determined and a plan has been developed, the bankruptcy attorney will file the petition with the court. Depending on the nature of the case, the petition will either be filed personally or by the Office of the Clerk at the courthouse. It is important that the petition be filed in the correct venue in order to receive the appropriate court processing. If the petition is filed incorrectly, the court could deny the petition, which could make the process much more difficult.
Bankruptcy attorneys provide an essential service to individuals and businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties. Because bankruptcy attorneys are experienced in the legal process, they are often able to better represent their clients than individuals who have not had experience with legal proceedings. The above information is intended to serve as a general outline of the bankruptcy process. The actual legal process will vary from case to case. Bankruptcy attorneys are a good resource to use if you are considering the possibility of using this legal option.
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