Sometimes bad things happen to good people, such as losing a job or unforeseen medical bills, and they don’t see any other option besides bankruptcy. The laws in the United States allow these financially troubled individuals the option for a new start in life. How do you know if bankruptcy is an option for you?
First of all, what is a good definition of bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is when a person owes more than they can pay and they work with a lawyer and their creditors to pay off the loans on a different payment schedule or get rid of the debt completely. To determine if you fit into this definition, you should schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer. He will be able to evaluate your income and debt ratio. He can then review all your options to make sure that bankruptcy is the one for you.
In a down economy, a bankruptcy lawyer may be in high demand and a good one may be hard to find, but following a few simple steps can make the job a little easier.
Do your homework. Because filing for bankruptcy is not a pleasant thing, many people put it off until they need one as soon as possible and don’t research them as they should, so if you think there is any possibility of needing to file in your near future, you should begin searching now. Don’t get referrals from friends and family. Because most people don’t have to file for bankruptcy, this is not an area where you can get referrals from family or friends.
Get professional referrals. You can, however, ask for help from friends who may be or know someone who is a lawyer. That person can then refer you to someone who knows the way around in bankruptcy court. Visit the offices of various lawyers in your area. You can see their organizational skills. If they are not organized in their offices, then they may not be organized in the courtroom.
Ask questions and evaluate the answers. These questions can include how many personal cases they usually handle at a time, if the lawyer can be reached if needed, and if not, who will be their contact person, and what the procedures will be. If the lawyer is being evasive, then he is probably not the one that you want to hire. Check his certifications. You want to make sure that he upholds the standards of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Observe the lawyers in court. Spend some time in the courtroom so that you can observe the bankruptcy lawyers in action. You can see how they handle cases in the courtroom. Know your role. A good bankruptcy lawyer will make sure that your role in the process is understood and what exactly is expected of you. Don’t necessarily go the cheapest route. Sometimes the cheaper lawyers will take shortcuts that lead to costly mistakes. Understand the fee. Know exactly what your fee covers. Bankruptcy should always be a last resort in your financial crisis, but if you do find that bankruptcy is your only choice, then there will be a bankruptcy lawyer that will help you through the process every step of the way.