Groups » What Are Your Options: Bankruptcy Lawyers Assist You

For many decades, bankruptcy has been seen as something extremely negative and the opposite of reaching your financial goals. This process leaves a black mark on your credit score for years and it becomes even more of a burden for you to apply for credit. Bankruptcy is generally is seen as a last resort, but others do it as a way to get out of their debts for a short period of time. People claim bankruptcy for a number of reasons. Some people are simply overburdened with debt. Others have experienced a traumatic incident that depleted their finances. Whatever the reason for your bankruptcy, it is important to know that this can be a stressful experience.

Individuals and businesses often file for bankruptcy following their financial debacle. While there are many options provided by the US Bankruptcy Code, most people opt for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In 2012, there were 843,545 filings under Chapter 7. No matter under which chapter you file bankruptcy, the consequences are more or less the same. Your credit rating gets tainted because bankruptcy gets reflected in your credit reports for at least 10 years to come. Even if you have decided to file for bankruptcy, particularly under Chapter 7, here's what you need to know.

During bankruptcy you can lose a lot, or you can lose a little. Greedy creditors and people with whom you have debts will stop the calls after an automatic stay is applied but it doesn't end there. You want to make sure you're getting the proper help along the way to make sure you're not getting duped and you can keep what you're entitled to keep. Hiring the right legal team is an important step in this process. This team will be responsible for representing you and filing your bankruptcy properly.

The process of Hiring an Attorney

The more research that you do about bankruptcy the more you will understand. There are details related to this process that only an attorney can do. This includes filing your initial petition and throughout the process. Finding the right attorney is essential. Many firms offer a free consultation to prospective clients. This meeting will help you to determine if you've found your attorney. You can also use this time to ask questions about the process. Although there are attorneys in this field throughout your state, you may discover a selection of those that are nearby.

Hiring a local bankruptcy attorney is the way to go. There are many advantages to having one to get you through the bankruptcy proceedings. Whether it's Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 you have rights that you may not know of.

1. Ensure your rights are protected - Many times when people apply for bankruptcy they don't know what their rights are. Creditors and banks will recoup as much of their money as they can, sometimes tapping into your most valuable assets like retirement or social security. A good attorney will help you determine what they can get and what they can't get. It's already stressful enough being in the position you're in. There is no point in trying to add extra stress to your situation.

2. Stop the calls from creditors - The calls from creditors will eventually stop, but filing your paperwork is essential to ensuring they stop for good. Creditors are known to be ruthless but with an automatic stay applied, by law, they can't contact you.

3. Guidance for the future - Your future is undoubtedly going to change for the next few years as you settle your debts (and maybe liquidating your assets). A good bankruptcy lawyer will help give you the guidance you need to move on in life so you can have a fresh start.

4. Save as many of your assets as possible - Your assets come in many forms and sometimes you can lose everything in bankruptcy. You want as many of your assets intact so as to have something to build on for your future.

Before filing for bankruptcy

It's not as easy as it seems to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will have to go for a test that determines whether you are eligible to file the bankruptcy or not. The American Bar Association refers to this as a means test. The test factors your income into the process of determining your eligibility. If you don't qualify because your income is higher than required, Chapter 13 may be another alternative. Perhaps, the most important fact you need to know here is that your assets will be liquidated in order to make payments to creditors. You will have to let go your personal belongings to clear off debts. The assets, usually, are seized by the trustee appointed by the court. In case you do not wish to sell off your personal assets, then Chapter 7 is not for you.

Next, don't assume filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy comes free of cost. Initially you will have shell out hundreds of bucks to get the paperwork done. Furthermore, according to law, an individual or business cannot file for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy till eight years. If you feel, you might have to file for bankruptcy in these eight years, don't go for this Chapter. As mentioned earlier, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, especially, mars your credit history. You might not get any future loans and even if you get, these will attract a higher rate of interest. So, beware of these consequences before you file for bankruptcy under this Chapter or another one.

Filing for bankruptcy can be embarrassing and stressful. With the right people fighting for you, the chances of your getting through the proceedings are extremely good. You owe it to yourself to hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney for a fresh new start. Once you've filed it is a great idea to find ways to protect your finances. Living on a budget is one of the best ways to do this and to avoid future troubles with money.


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