The journey to finding a reputable bankruptcy attorney is often a lengthy and challenging part of the bankruptcy process. As you try to determine if bankruptcy is the right solution for you, you may wonder what you should be looking for in a bankruptcy attorney, and what you should be expecting from your consultation.
Are You A Lawyer?
This first question might seem ridiculous at first glance; however, it’s important to ask. Many legal firms send legal support staff or even salespersons to consult with potential new clients, rather than actual attorneys. While support staff is a necessary component to successfully operating a firm, your first consultation requires legal analysis, which can only be conducted by an actual attorney. Furthermore, the approach of using a salesperson to use sales tactics to gain your business should be an immediate red flag.
Do I Pass the Means Test?
The bankruptcy means test seeks to determine whether you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and what disposable income you have, if any, to repay even a part of your debts. The actual process of calculating whether you pass the Means Test is rather complicated, but an experienced attorney can usually determine your eligibility for Chapter 7 right away, using the information you provide during your initial consultation. Your experienced bankruptcy lawyer can also explain the ramifications and alternatives if you do not pass the Means Test.
Do I have Any Non-exempt Assets?
Most people who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not have to “give up” any of their assets. A bankruptcy attorney should know which of your assets, if any, would be considered non-exempt and therefore property of a bankruptcy estate.
If Chapter 13 is Recommended, What Would My Repayment Payments Look Like?
It’s a good idea to ask your attorney to provide some estimate of your Chapter 13 repayment amounts during the consultation, as knowing a general range will be helpful as you decide whether to file. Failure to get this information during a consultation could be a red flag as it might indicate inexperience or lack of thoroughness on the part of the bankruptcy attorney.
Parker & DuFresne
Your bankruptcy attorney needs to be someone you trust after your consultation. Parker & DuFresne want to bring trust and our 25 years of experience to every client that we represent. Let us help you determine if bankruptcy is the right solution for you. Contact us today.