Here at Sadek & Cooper we offer free consultations to everyone. They help you determine if we’ll be a good attorney for you, and they help us determine how we should approach your situation.
In addition to coming with all your financial documents, it’s a good idea to come armed with some questions.
Is it the right time to file for bankruptcy?
Sometimes a solid bankruptcy case depends solely on the timing of certain events.
Examples could include whether you are expecting an inheritance or workman’s comp settlement, whether you’ve taken out new loans or run up your credit cards recently, or whether you’ve made any transfers which could be considered fraudulent. Making big purchases prior to bankruptcy can be a problem too.
Depending on what these answers look like it could be fine to file right away. But sometimes it pays to wait a month or two.
What form of bankruptcy should I be looking at?
Choosing between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is one of the bigger decisions you’ll have to make. They both come with their own challenges and advantages.
Much will depend on your goals. It will also depend on existing assets. For example, often you want to file Chapter 13 when you want to hold on to your house and car. But sometimes you could still file for Chapter 7, because your equity in either is low enough to make both pieces of property exempt.
Keep in mind if you want to keep secured property you’ll have to reaffirm the debt after your Chapter 7 to keep it, and you’ll have to catch up with any payments you stopped during your bankruptcy case. Keeping your house is still usually easier in a Chapter 13 case.
See also: Why Would I Want to Reaffirm a Debt?
How should I handle my finances during my bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy can create some confusion in terms of who you pay and when you pay them.
For example, during a Chapter 7 it’s generally wise to focus on utility bills, groceries, vehicle payments, and either your mortgage or your rent. You won’t be able to use credit cards, and you’ll need to plan for that.
If you’re filing for Chapter 13 you will have to put together a monthly budget the court will approve. You won’t be allowed to spend more than a certain amount of money at a time, nor will you be allowed to take out credit. You’ll need court approval for emergency spending, too.
And there are definitely purchases and transactions you should avoid in either type of case.
How much of my property is exempt?
Knowing how much of your property you’ll be able to keep can put your mind at ease about filing for bankruptcy. And if there is non-exempt property you’ll end up having to give up, it’s good to know that so you can plan for it and account for it.
For example if you really need to file Chapter 7 and have non-exempt equity in your home you may have to find a new place to live, one that’s within your means. This means you’ll need to prepare for a move.
See also: Will I Lose My Stuff During Bankruptcy?
What do I need to know about legal fees?
The free consultation is a great time to put your mind at ease about legal fees and how we’ll ask you to handle them. We’ll be able to discuss your situation and come up with a plan that’s right for you.
Once we proceed with the case we want you focused on fixing your financial life, not sweating over legal costs.
Who will be my direct point of contact on this case?
You need to make sure the lawyer you meet with is the lawyer you’ll work with. And while most lawyers use paralegals to help them prepare case documents, you don’t want that paralegal to be doing the bulk of the work on your case.
You want an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who will be accessible and available, and who has navigated many cases just like yours.
And that’s what you’ll get with Sadek & Cooper. So why not schedule your free consultation today?