Reasons Why You Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer and What Can Happen if You Don’t Have One
The decision to seek bankruptcy protection is one that should never be made in haste. It’s also important that you hire a lawyer to help with the process. Even though it’s possible to seek bankruptcy protection without legal representation, there’s no doubt that hiring the Kepple Law Group will make the process simpler and easier to manage. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a bankruptcy lawyer as well as what could happen if you decide to handle the bankruptcy on your own.
A Lawyer Can Assess Your Situation in Light of Current Bankruptcy Laws
Bankruptcy lawyers know all the current laws and the regulations that apply within the local court of jurisdiction. Unless you’ve spent a lot of time researching those laws, there’s likely a lot that you don’t know. Even then, you may not be sure how to relate those laws and regulations to your current situation.
A lawyer can look into the particulars of your situation and relate them directly to those laws. In doing so, the legal counsel is in a better position to determine if the court is likely to approve the petition and grant the protection that you seek.
Administering the Means Test and Evaluating the Results
The means test is a process that makes it possible to determine if you’re eligible for any type of bankruptcy protection. It involves careful consideration of your income level as well as your assets. The results can determine if your eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if the court would be more likely to accept a different kind of bankruptcy petition.
The Kepple Law Group in Peoria, Illinois knows how to administer this test and assess the results. While the test is relatively simple, it does involve asking a series of questions and interpreting the answers as they relate to current bankruptcy laws. With a lawyer managing the test, it’s easier to determine what, if any, form of bankruptcy would be in your best interests.
Your Legal Counsel Can Explain the Process Using Terminology That You Understand
There’s more to filing for bankruptcy than filing a petition. You will also have to take and successfully complete financial classes approved by the court, face a meeting of creditors, and comply with other requirements set by the court. Your lawyer can explain each of these and provide you with guidelines and completion dates that apply to everything required by the bankruptcy court.
The Lawyer Can Help You Compare Each Option for Personal Bankruptcy
The means test may indicate that you are eligible for more than one kind of bankruptcy protection. At that juncture, it helps to know which one would be best in the long run. Your lawyer can help you compare each option based on the nature of your debt, the amount owed, and how long it would take to obtain a discharge. This is especially helpful if you have some debts that cannot be discharged as part of a Chapter 7 action.
Taking Action if Creditors Continue to Pursue Collection Attempts
The bankruptcy court will notify your creditors once the petition is filed. They are supposed to cease all attempts to collect account balances at that point. If one continues to make attempts, one call to your lawyer is all it will take to rectify the situation. Between your legal counsel and the court, the creditor will be informed in no uncertain terms to cease contacting you directly. The promise of censure and possibly fines is often enough to end all attempts to contact you.
Of course, it’s possible to file a bankruptcy petition without having legal counsel. The fact that you can do this does not mean it’s in your best interests. Choosing to file the petition and represent yourself paves the way for several potential issues:
Failure to File Supporting Documentation
There are documents that must be filed along with the bankruptcy petition. Obtaining forms from the court is only the first step. You will also need to research what type of supporting documents must also be presented. Failing to provide everything required by the court will lead to a delay at best and a rejection of the petition at worst.
Errors Within the Filing
Since this is something you’ve never attempted before, there’s more of an opportunity for something to overlooked. It’s not just forgetting to include a form or document. You may also respond to sections on the submitted forms in a way that is not clear to the court. There’s also more of an opportunity to provide information but not in the right field of a form. These can also complicate matters and delay the court’s decision about the petition.
Possibly Forgetting to Include a Creditor
One of the tasks that bankruptcy lawyers like Casey Kepple perform on behalf of their clients is to obtain copies of credit reports. The data in those reports is used to confirm information provided by the client. This helps to reduce the risk of leaving a creditor out of the bankruptcy petition. Keep in mind that attempting to add a creditor to an existing petition is not the simplest task, especially for someone with a limited knowledge of how bankruptcy works.
Missing Deadlines and Having to Start Over
Bankruptcy courts set deadlines to receive various forms related to a bankruptcy petition. If you happen to miss one of those deadlines, the process may have to start over. That means spending more time with a fresh filing and making sure you are clear on what needs to be submitted when. In the meantime, your creditors are free to continue making collection efforts, up to and including suing for the balances owed.
Getting Lost in the Process
There’s a lot that has to be done during a bankruptcy filing. It’s easy to get lost in the process, especially if you’ve never done this type of thing before. You may begin to feel overwhelmed and wonder if the effort is worth it. By choosing to seek help from a lawyer in the first place, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
The bottom line is that you hiring a personal bankruptcy lawyer is the most practical way to seek bankruptcy protection. If you’ve tried every possible way of regaining control of your finances and nothing seems to work, call for a free 30-minute consultation today. With a lawyer on your side, you can look forward to putting your financial issues in the past and start preparing for a better future.