3 Questions to Consider Before Visiting a Bankruptcy Attorney
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Three Questions to Consider Before Visiting a Bankruptcy Attorney

July 20, 2012

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Before filing for bankruptcy, many consumers opt to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more information about the debt relief process, but there are questions you should ask yourself before heading to the attorney’s office.

According to a recent report from Patch.com, filers should first determine how quickly they need to file in order to avoid certain negative consequences.

For example, if potential bankruptcy filers are facing an imminent financial disaster, like foreclosure, car repossession, a collection lawsuit or wage garnishment, they may wish to file bankruptcy today to put a hold on these aggressive creditor actions.

If, on the other hand, you aren’t facing an immediate financial catastrophe, sources recommend planning for at least a month before giving the court your official bankruptcy petition. By giving a few weeks of thought and crafting a good financial plan, you may make the bankruptcy process more efficient.

And don’t hesitate to discuss the timing of a filing with your bankruptcy attorney, who may offer more information about the pros and cons of filing at a certain time. The second question consumers should ask themselves is what assets they want to keep when they leave bankruptcy.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the court may liquidate some of a filer’s assets in order to repay select debts, but many items of property will be exempt, depending on the nature of the bankruptcy laws in your state.

Examples of assets that are often protected in bankruptcy filings include homes that are paid off, retirement accounts, and personal property up to a certain dollar figure. In Chapter 13, filers create a payment plan to repay their debts, so they don’t have to worry about identifying property items that they want to keep after bankruptcy.

But filers concerned about property can help make their first attorney visit more efficient by bringing a detailed list of their assets, especially those they wish to keep. Finally, before heading to bankruptcy court, filer should address the issue of financing the bankruptcy itself.

Again, bankruptcy attorneys can offer further information about how filers can pay for the bankruptcy process. Yes, bankruptcy costs money, but for many people, this investment is well worth the fresh financial slate they receive after their case is finished.


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