10 Questions to Ask a Bankruptcy Attorney Before Hiring Them. Bankruptcy Law Professionals. of Colorado. Declare Your Freedom

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1 10 Questions to Ask a Bankruptcy Attorney Before Hiring Them Bankruptcy

2 1. How quickly can my case be filed? Can I file it today? A good bankruptcy attorney will know that filing your bankruptcy case in a timely manner is critical. This cannot be stressed enough. If your bankruptcy filing is delayed, your vehicle will be repossessed, 25% of your wages will be garnished, and your creditors will empty your bank accounts. You ll be served with law suits, and liens will be put on your property. Upon wage garnishment, your employer will become aware of your financial crisis. If your car is repossessed or your bank account emptied, your bank, your friends and your family will quickly discover the seriousness of your situation. Filing your bankruptcy at the right time will stop this insanity. Discount bankruptcy firms file cases when it is convenient for them not when it is necessary for you. Filing delays will cost you stress and money, and could jeopardize your fresh start. Not filing quickly can also make your bankruptcy more expensive because it s more difficult and time-consuming to get debts cleared if you don t file in a timely fashion. Be careful. Your case is a serious matter. And, remember: good, fast, and cheap never go together. 2. Who will be my attorney? Will I be working primarily with my attorney or a legal assistant? This is your bankruptcy and it s a big deal. You should know who YOUR attorney is and whether you will be working with them directly or with a legal assistant. Legal assistants have limited education and training. They don t go through law school and don t have to pass the grueling bar exam. It is illegal for them to give legal advice. Attorneys charge $180 per hour and more. If you re only paying $500 for your bankruptcy, you are NOT going to be working with an attorney. You will be forced to trust your bankruptcy to a low-skill clerk, and not a licensed professional. According to the Colorado Bankruptcy Court s web site, 80% of the bankruptcy cases filed by those who did not hire an attorney were lost. If you lose your case, you lose all protection of the bankruptcy court. The nightmare of collection calls, law suits, garnishments, and foreclosure will resume. Your credit will be damaged for years to come. You ll have to file again and possibly hire a different attorney to do so. That s wasted time, wasted money, and overwhelming stress. You need to win the first time. Phone: Fax: Bankruptcy Page 2

3 3. Does my attorney handle both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases? Your attorney should have experience with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 so they can successfully guide you through these options. Expertise in both chapters ensures that your attorney will safely and successfully navigate your case through the hazardous bankruptcy court system and give you the best outcome possible. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 offer very different options when it comes to protecting your assets, as well as helping you with your mortgages, back child support, back taxes, car loans, student loans, and 401K loans. You owe it to yourself to explore the benefits and options of both chapters to determine which is best for your unique situation. It is very important that your attorney can explain these options and benefits to you in a way you can understand them. Ask your attorney the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. If he or she can t explain in a way you can understand, you need to hire someone who can. Once again, remember legal assistants and paralegals cannot give you legal advice. 4. Will I meet my actual attorney before court and will that attorney be in court with me? Remember, attorneys charge $180 per hour and more. If you re paying $500 for your discount bankruptcy, you will not be meeting with an attorney before court. They cannot afford to do so. You probably will not meet him or her until you go to court, which is too late. Even then, the attorney that represents you at court may not be YOUR attorney who has been working on your case, but an inexperienced associate who is not familiar with your file. Know what you are paying for. What you save in attorney s fees with a discount firm can cost you in many other ways. You could needlessly lose your tax refunds, wages, commissions, money in your bank accounts, investments, vehicles and other property. Often, all of your property can be saved in bankruptcy with the right amount of due diligence, review, and planning. The discount firm will often cost you more in the end. Phone: Fax: Bankruptcy Page 3

4 5. Is there a limit to the number and type of creditors I can include in my bankruptcy for the quoted price? The bankruptcy code requires you to list ALL of your debts in your bankruptcy case. You must and should be able to include all of your debts in the case so you don t have remaining debt after you win your case. It should not cost you more to include 10 creditors or 100 creditors. Your attorney should assist you in researching all of your creditors by pulling your credit reports. Remember: Good, fast, and cheap never go together. Don t get suckered into hiring a discount bankruptcy firm and then be surprised with additional fees for having more creditors than the initial fee covered. 6. Will my attorney be charging me an additional fee to search for and remove any and all judgment liens on my home? To make sure nothing is missed, your attorney should use a title company to perform a search of all mortgages and liens on your property while preparing your case. If you ve been served with court papers, it s highly likely that there are judgment liens on your home. A judgment lien is a lien put on your residence to help ensure the person who sued you gets paid when you sell or refinance. Your creditors can foreclose on your home once they have a lien on it, so all judgments can and should be removed during your bankruptcy case. Most people have no idea whether or not there are liens on their property. If the liens are not removed during your bankruptcy filing, you ll have to rehire the attorney at additional cost to have the case reopened and liens removed. Save time, save money, and save stress. Have the liens removed now. You are filing bankruptcy for a fresh start. Hire an attorney that will do the work necessary so you can win your case and put it behind you. Phone: Fax: Bankruptcy Page 4

5 7. Will my attorney determine whether the taxes I owe can be forgiven through my bankruptcy? If you owe taxes, your attorney should review your tax records to determine if the taxes are dischargeable or could be dischargeable with some strategic planning. Taxes can be forgiven in bankruptcy, but specific technical requirements under the IRS and bankruptcy laws must be met. If you owe back taxes, your attorney should be experienced with these important laws. Will your attorney pull your tax transcripts from the IRS and perform the necessary legal analysis? A legal assistant can t and likely won t give you this information. The IRS is the most powerful collection agency in the country. Don t file bankruptcy just to end up at the mercy of the IRS once the case is over. 8. When my bankruptcy is finished, can my attorney help resolve my tax debt? A good bankruptcy attorney will be qualified to help resolve with the IRS and Colorado any tax debts that remain once the bankruptcy is complete. Only some taxes can be forgiven in bankruptcy and the IRS is the worst creditor to have. They are a terrifying monster to deal with if you don t know what you re doing. 9. When my bankruptcy is finished, can my attorney help repair my credit? Your attorney should be willing and able to assist you with the necessary post-bankruptcy credit repair. Your credit score is critically important. You will need a good credit score to be able to purchase cars, houses, and other items in the future. Your creditors could incorrectly report your bankruptcy after your bankruptcy case is completed. Your credit score will remain tarnished unless the right action is taken. Ensuring that your credit is repaired will save you thousands of dollars in high-interest loan payments. Winning your bankruptcy case is just the beginning. Get the fresh start you deserve. Before you hire your attorney be sure they sign this pledge on the following page. If they won t, we will! Bankruptcy Call NOW to make an appointment. Phone: Fax: Bankruptcy Page 5

6 Our Pledge 1. We will file your bankruptcy case when it is most financially and legally advantageous for you. 2. You will work primarily with your experienced bankruptcy attorney. 3. We are experts at both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and will advise you on your options under both chapters to help you select the best option for you. 4. You will meet with your attorney several times during your case, and that same attorney will represent you at bankruptcy court. 5. There is no limit to the number of creditors you can have. We always pull your credit, and we will not raise our price based on the number of creditors you need to list in your case. 6. We will search for and remove all judgment liens that can be removed on your residence for no extra fee. 7. We will review your taxes to determine if any income taxes you owe are dischargeable by the bankruptcy court. 8. We will assist you in repairing your credit after the bankruptcy is complete. (Additional fees may be required.) 9. When the bankruptcy is complete, we can help you resolve your tax debt issues with the IRS. (Additional fees may be required.) 10. We have a team of trustworthy professionals to whom we can refer you to help you repair your financial outlook after your bankruptcy. Dated: By: Attorney

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