Deciding to file for bankruptcy is a big choice, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, sometimes, it’s the only way to deal with financial difficulties. If you’re mulling over the idea of filing for bankruptcy, you need expert advice that will help you to file for bankruptcy the right way. Without proper guidance and legal advice, you may put yourself behind the eight ball for years to come.
To assist you in getting the guidance that you need so much at this stressful time, we’ve created a detailed guideline that will teach you how to file for bankruptcy the right way. When you follow our tips and suggestions, you’ll begin to envision a brighter future. There is life after bankruptcy, so don’t despair. Instead, access the “light at the end of the tunnel” by filing for bankruptcy the smart way, in order to assure that you may move forward as quickly as possible.
How to File for Bankruptcy – Step One
Before making the choice to file for bankruptcy, explore all other options. Bankruptcy is intended to be a last-ditch effort to stem the tide of the worst sort of financial woes. It shouldn’t be an option unless every other avenue of repayment has already been exhausted. The best way to decide if you’re really a candidate for bankruptcy is to consult with a credit counselor, who will offer valuable advice about paying down outstanding debts or re-negotiating existing loans from creditors.
In many cases, there are a variety of sensible ways to handle even the most serious financial stress, without actually filing a bankruptcy claim. This is a time to sit down, crunch the numbers, and realistically assess what is possible. If a credit counselor with the right credentials and experience advises you to file for bankruptcy, it may be time to move on to step two.
How to File for Bankruptcy – Step Two
Once you’ve decided that filing for bankruptcy is necessary and appropriate, you will need to educate yourself. Since there are two forms of bankruptcy, known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, it’s crucial to understand which type is right for your particular circumstances.
Often, the best way to make this decision is to visit a lawyer who specializes in assisting clients with navigating through the complex labyrinth of bankruptcy laws and regulations. Look for an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your home state, and then ask lots of questions.
While you may not be enthused about spending money on a lawyer when your financial situation is already at rock-bottom, you should know that the skills of a good lawyer will help you to move on to a better future. In a sense, competent legal advice regarding how to file for bankruptcy is truly priceless.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as straight (or liquidation) bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy features repayment plans. These days, people who want to file Chapter 7 claims need to prove their eligibility through a means test. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not require a means test.
A good attorney will help you to know which type of bankruptcy is best for you.
How to File for Bankruptcy – Step Three
Once you’ve determined which type of bankruptcy fits your situation, it’s time to explore options related to filing your bankruptcy claim. While many people do choose to file on their own, without a lawyer at their side, the smartest men and women don’t move forward without legal assistance. A lot of people who choose to forgo legal assistance during the process later regret their decision to go it alone.
However, you do have the power to file your claim on your own. If you choose to work with an attorney, this is the time to go over your particular case with him or her, and to get every last question answered. If you need a means test for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your attorney will be there to help you fill it out correctly.
How to File for Bankruptcy – Step Four
Calculating the cost of filing for bankruptcy is what step four is all about. When deciding how much it will cost to file your claim, factor in lawyer’s fees, which may be tallied on a flat-rate or per-hour basis. Typically, you will need to spend at least fifteen hundred dollars to file your claim through an experienced, capable attorney. However, the region where you live will play a role in how much your legal representation costs. Bigger cities will generally mean larger fees.
In addition to the cost of paying your lawyer for expert guidance, you must factor in court filing fees. In some cases, it’s possible to have these court filing fees waived. Again, your attorney will know if you’re eligible for a waiver.
How to File for Bankruptcy – Step Five
After retaining legal counsel, your creditors should contact you through your attorney. When your bankruptcy claim is filed, you’ll enter an “automatic stay” phase that protects you from being contacted by collection agencies, angry creditors and the like.
For many people who need to file for bankruptcy, this perk is very important. After all, the stress of dealing with disgruntled creditors and corporations is very significant. A lawyer will handle your creditors for you as you move through the stages of filing for bankruptcy. He or she will schedule a gathering of your creditors, which will move the whole bankruptcy process forward. You will need to attend this short meeting and answer some queries. Your attorney will take care of the rest.
The entire process of filing for bankruptcy takes about two to three months, depending on whether you’re going it alone or working with a skilled attorney. Obviously, choosing to join forces with a good lawyer is the best way to expedite matters. From start to finish, an attorney who has experience with bankruptcy law will act as an adviser, a confidante, and a shield between you and your creditors, while also taking care of paperwork and all other intricacies related to filing for bankruptcy.
Now that you know how to file for bankruptcy the right way, you’ll be prepared to get through this difficult time and then move on to the happy future that you really deserve.