A bankruptcy consultation is a great way to gather information about the process of filing for bankruptcy. A consultation is also a great way to get a sense of whether a specific attorney is right for you or if you need to interview additional people.
Most attorneys offer a free consultation. It’s probably a good idea to schedule consultations with at least two firms to at least get a feel for how different attorneys approach bankruptcy. In addition to an attorney’s experience, you’ll also want to feel comfortable and work with someone whose communication style matches your own.
What should you ask during a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney?
Is Bankruptcy Right for Me?
This is a complex question and should result in a comprehensive answer that addresses your personal financial situation, the various types of bankruptcy, and what options you have. It’s important for an attorney to not only tell you why bankruptcy might be right for you, but also to address the negative consequences of filing. For many people, the pros outweigh the cons, but an experienced attorney will make sure you understand there are cons, even when bankruptcy is the right choice.
Are You Strictly a Bankruptcy Attorney?
There are many attorneys who can help you file for bankruptcy, but that doesn’t mean bankruptcy is their specialty. It’s important to work with someone who is an expert in bankruptcy, and who devotes at least half, if not all, of his or her time to working with bankruptcy clients.
What’s my Responsibility when Filing?
A bankruptcy attorney will help you file, but he or she cannot do all of the work. You’ll need to provide financial information and sign paperwork. If your bankruptcy paperwork is incomplete it can result in denial of your case, so make sure your attorney explains everything you need and that you understand your obligations when filing.
How will we communicate?
Communication style is one of the most important factors in hiring an attorney. You need to know what to expect and make clear your wishes about communication. Your attorney has other responsibilities besides your bankruptcy case, so he or she is unlikely to be at your beck-and-call 24 hours a day. However, you should not feel neglected and as if you are being ignored when you need to communicate. Setting up a communication plan in advance can temper expectations and alleviate a lot of problems long-term.
How Much Will Bankruptcy Cost?
In addition to court fees, you’ll also need to pay your attorney. Make sure you understand the fees up front and discuss what is included in the fees. The price you are quoted initially should cover everything from filing to the completion of your case. There are occasionally unforeseen costs when a case is complicated, but you need to have a clear idea of what the process will cost you and your options for paying the costs of bankruptcy.
For more information on the costs associated with bankruptcy, check out this article from NOLO.comhis article from NOLO.com.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy or you are interested in scheduling a consultation, we’d love to talk. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule a consultation.