Bankruptcy

Protect Yourself From Unscrupulous Bankruptcy Attorneys – Follow This 6-Point Checklist

Can bankruptcy be a solution for your debt problems? There is no straight answer to this question. But, one thing is for sure, getting bankrupt must always be the last option, not the first choice. People often end up making wrong decisions mainly because they consult wrong bankruptcy attorneys. An unscrupulous lawyer works with the only objective to make money from the client. They do not give a damn about your debt problems, or for that matter, how to solve it. Finding an honest lawyer sounds like a big joke because honestly and lawyers often do not come together. Therefore, the only way to get the best legal advice from your attorney is to educate yourself about the procedure of bankruptcy. The more informed you are, the better you will be able to protect yourself. You will have to be well prepared before you decide to take a drastic step like filing bankruptcy. Here’s your 6-point checklist.

1. Are You Sure There Is No Way To Avoid Bankruptcy?

Before you proceed, you must ask yourself if bankruptcy is the only way left out for you. Get a clear answer to this question. Have you explored all ? In most cases, there is always an alternative unless you are trapped in the worst possible financial situation. The bankruptcy attorneys who straightaway start telling you about the procedure of getting bankrupt without trying to sort out some alternatives are very much likely to be the unscrupulous ones. An honest lawyer will do his/her best to find out ways on how to pay off all your debts and get your finances back on track without filing bankruptcy. This first step is crucial, as you have to decide whether you have to go for it or not; so make sure you spend quality time brainstorming on it.

2. Does The Means Test Consider All Your Income (Regular And Irregular)?

Generally, the Means Test does consider all your regular and irregular income in order to decide which type of bankruptcy you qualify for or whether you qualify or not at the first place. Still, there can be a few incomes that are not used for the qualification process, such as the payments you are receiving as a victim of war crime or Social Security benefits.

3. As Part Of The Means Test, Which Part Of Your Expenses Can Be Deducted From Your Income?

Gone are the days when the debtor had the right to state which expenses he/she thinks are necessary and then the trustee would raise objections to anything that seemed not necessary. Now, after the introduction of the Bankruptcy Reform Act, the provisions have become much stricter – it is entirely up to the IRS to decide which types of living expenses can be considered as “essential and reasonable”. You just cannot have a say in this regard. Beware of those bankruptcy attorneys who ask you to prepare you list of expenses and guarantee that they will get the same included in the Means Test Calculation.

4. How To Pre-Qualify For The Means Test?

Unless you know which type of incomes and expenses the court is going to use for the means test calculation, it will be an impossible task to find out the exact figure. But, you are still recommended to do some guesswork, as this way, you will at least get to know if you are even close to qualifying. The formula is very simple – you just have to deduct your essential living expenses from the total income and find out if the output is greater or smaller than the median income of an individual (with the same family size) in your state. Here’s the list of .

5. How And When To Go For Credit Counseling?

It is mandatory for a debtor to get his/her financial situation reviewed thoroughly by a credit counselor within a 6-month period after filing the petition for bankruptcy. It is important for you to understand that the consultation with bankruptcy attorneys and counseling with a debt counselor are two different things. You must attend at least a one-hour counseling session with a government approved credit counselor. You can attend this session either online or in person.

6. How To Choose The Best Lawyer?

There are plenty of things that you must take into your careful consideration in order to make sure that the lawyer you are consulting with is not only experienced but also honest and reputable. You must hire a lawyer who has specialized in this field of law and is an expert in both types of personal bankruptcy (chapter 13 and chapter 7). The most important thing is that the lawyer must also be able to offer some non-bankruptcy options to you. Besides that, the attorney must be caring in their attitude and behavior – pay attention to how they treat you in person or on phone. Last, but not the least, make sure you are talking to the attorney, not his/her clerk.

can help you ensure a favorable judgment but only if you have hired a reputable lawyer. So, you have to be very careful with your selection. It is important for you to keep in mind that bankruptcy is going to stay on your credit report for the next ten years. Therefore, you must learn from your mistakes and start showing some financial discipline. Life after bankruptcy is difficult and so is the recovery process. Still, things can be a little easier if you show a positive attitude and put some serious and consistent efforts into it.


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One Response to “Protect Yourself From Unscrupulous Bankruptcy Attorneys – Follow This 6-Point Checklist”

  1. Richard says:

    The article will insist you to go for a second thought on the decision of Bankruptcy. There may be any other option instead of it. It can become possible only if you can find honest and responsible attorneys, who can show you some alternative path to pay off your debts. The decision about regular and irregular income and the essential expenses will be taken by IRS, as mentioned in the article. This point is very useful for a person who has decided to be Bankrupt. Credit Counseling should always be done by Counselor of any Government approved Centre. It is necessary to search about the background of the lawyer before hiring him/her. You can ask your lawyer to suggest some options to avoid Bankruptcy. If lawyer is honest, he/she will definitely try to save you from being bankrupt. Once you have declared bankrupt, it will be on your record so you will have to follow some strict financial plans to repair your Credit Score.

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